The Appalachian Riddle Song
Refresh the minds of the students by telling them of the previous lesson of studying about Appalachian Mountains and culture. Review the pentatonic scale. Have appropriate materials ready.
Ask the class a variety of riddles. Explain to them that these are an old tradition in many cultures, including Appalachia.
Have students brainstorm what they don't know or want to learn more about this culture.
2 Direct Instruction
Sing the unaccompanied song, “The Riddle Song.” Point out that there are four statements, four questions, and four answers.
Explain that riddle songs were once very popular in the British Isles. The correct answer to a riddle could mean a great fortune, a “yes” to a marriage proposal, or a life saved.
In the United States, ballads with riddles were neither as widespread nor as complex as in the British Isles. “The Riddle Song,” as sung in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, contains a melodic sequence in its first two phrases and is built on a pentatonic scale.
The Riddle Song:
3 Guided Practice
Have the class listen to the recording of “The Riddle Song.”
While the students are listening, show the 12 pictures from the Southern Appalachian Mountains (one for each phrase).
Assist the students if there is any confusion on the pictures.
4 Independent Practice
Teach the students “The Riddle Song.”
Study the pentatonic scale used in the song. Have the students identify the number of phrases.
Distribute a test on the pentatonic scale two weeks after lesson.
Sing and illustrate the play-party game “Goin' to Boston.” Teach the song and motions to the students. Let the students have a fin time by singing and following the motions for the song. Encourage them to tell their families about the lesson and discuss about the Appalachian culture.