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& Mr. E's Virtual Music Classroom

Music Activities and Resources for Kids and Teachers
promoting music literacy

Martin Luther King Jr. Day / BLACK HISTORY MONTH Activities:

We Shall Overcome
This song is so deeply identified with the civil rights movement that we can hardly imagine one without the other.

It is thought that the song comes from an adaptation of an old spiritual by Charles Tindley called “I’ll Overcome Someday” and the pre Civil War song “No more Auction Block for Me”.

Activities:

1. Listen to the version of this song by the Freedom Singers on the CD "Early Soul Gospel". Notice how the singers shout out the words for the next verse.

2. Have the kids make up words to tell what things they or Martin Luther King might hope that we would have in a better world. Have the kids take turns shouting them out as in the listening example above.

3. Have the kids make up their own words for what "We Shall..." do to make the world a better place. Click here for pdf files of the song with blanks to fill in the kids words.

4. This song is also great for teaching the dotted quarter/eighth rhythm. This version of the song has the dotted quarter/eighth rhythm written as two eighth notes. Have the kids find where the rhythm is wrong and dot one quarter note and add a flag to the next one to make an eighthnote. Then try singing the song with rhythm names to help reinforce the notation of the dotted quarter/eighth rhythm.

Activities:

1. Listen to the version of this song by the Freedom Singers on the CD "Early Soul Gospel". Notice how the singers shout out the words for the next verse.

2. Have the kids make up words to tell what things they or Martin Luther King might hope that we would have in a better world. Have the kids take turns shouting them out as in the listening example above.

3. Have the kids make up their own words for what "We Shall..." do to make the world a better place. Click here for pdf files of the song with blanks to fill in the kids words.

4. This song is also great for teaching the dotted quarter/eighth rhythm. This version of the song has the dotted quarter/eighth rhythm written as two eighth notes. Have the kids find where the rhythm is wrong and dot one quarter note and add a flag to the next one to make an eighthnote. Then try singing the song with rhythm names to help reinforce the notation of the dotted quarter/eighth rhythm.