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Learning Through The Duke Mood Indigo

Inspired by Duke Ellington, and the book called, Duke Ellington: The Piano
Prince and His Orchestra

Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra

By Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Jump At The Sun

Developed for
Mr. Cezars 5
grade class
King Kamualii Elementary School


Dayna Fujii
ITE 329, Performing Arts Expression, K-6
Institute for Teacher Education
College of Education
University of Hawaii at Mnoa
Spring 2014


This unit was designed for 5
grade students at King Kamualii Elementary School. Learning
Through The Duke integrates literature and the arts to build on students prior knowledge of
musical genres and its history. Music is a significant part of life and it is also a vital
communication vehicle serving many purposes to amuse, comfort, and relax; to pass on history,
information, and values; to inspire; and to celebrate achievements.

The essential understanding that I want for my 5
grade students is to know, as well as, embrace
all variations of the arts and their own creative personalities., Music is a significant part of out
lives and I want to open up a wide variety of the different genres of music that there is in our
world to students. I want them to know what we are capable of doing as a community of learners
and performers.

This unit explores the musical genre of jazz, and a musician named Duke Ellington. It is based
on exploring the elements of music, history, and art; listening to the music of Duke Ellington
and brainstorming descriptive words; interpreting a book called Duke Ellington; and forming an
interpretive painting. Our work in this unit is clearly linked to the Hawaii Content and
Performance Standards III, K-6 fine arts standards art and music and grade five standards in
language arts. The students will be introduced to the biography, and book, of Duke Ellington as
a genre of music that translates the moment into a sense of inspiration for not only the
musicians but for the listeners (Herbie Hancock, add year).

In this unit, students outcomes will be evident in their creations and work. Students have the
option of forming a painting or poem related to what they learned about the composer, Duke
Ellington. A series of mini lessons integrating language arts, music, and drama experiences will
aid my students in scaffolding the skills needed to engage in this task both individually and in
small groups. It will be important for my students to listen closely and engage in the learning
process together to be able to create their creative piece at the end. The culminating project will
be made public to the rest of the class through displays and oral sharing. Closure to this unit
includes writing a response that focuses on the important ideas learned about Duke Ellington and
his contributions to the genre of jazz to solidify their understandings. An assessment task
includes reflecting on individual involvement in the creative process and other learning outcomes
identified by the teacher.

This unit is important to students because it introduces and incorporates performing arts into
their learning experience. The 5
grade students need more opportunities to work with
performing arts. I conducted an informal class survey asking if they do enough activities and
lessons relating to performing arts? (Such as music, dance, and drama). Through the experiences
in this unit, students will be engaged in creating, performing and responding. It is my hope that
the students will feel refreshed and eager to learn throughout these performing arts lessons.
Hawaii Teacher Performance Standards

The Hawaii Teacher Performance Standards that are evident in the implementation of this unit

-Standard 2. Creates and Maintains a Safe and Positive Learning Environment
The effective teacher consistently creates a safe and positive learning environment that
encourages social interaction, civic responsibility, active engagement in learning and self-

I strive to help all students feel safe and supported in the learning process. My students and I
will work together to participate in classroom activities and performances. I will encourage and
model proper behavior and encouragement.

-Standard 7. Uses Active Student Learning Strategies
The effective teacher consistently uses a variety of active learning strategies to develop students
thinking, problem solving and learning skills.

I will actively involve students in a variety of experiences, from poem writing, to drawing, to
working in groups. These performing arts activities will help students understand the elements
of jazz and the compositions by Duke Ellington and his contribution to jazz. We will work
together to create a painting representing Mood Indigo that we will present to each other in

General Learner Outcomes

The General Learner Outcomes that are evident in the implementation of this unit are

-GLO 3: Complex ThinkerThe ability to demonstrate critical thinking and problem

Students will consider multiple perspectives in analyzing and solving a variety of
problems that emerge throughout the creative process. Students will reflect on being a
complex thinker while engaging in the creative process, such as drawing, writing poems,
and listening to music while making their own interpretations.

-GLO 5: Effective Communicator The ability to communicate effectively

Students will listen to, interpret and use information effectively to work as a member of a
group to: Select a story to retell, improvise a way to retell the story using the elements
and principles of the fine arts, and communicate the story to an audience through a


Hawaii Content and Performance Standards in the Fine Arts, III

The Hawaii Content and Performance Standard, Benchmarks and Performance Assessments in
the Language Arts and Fine Arts, III, for grades five that are evident in the implementation of
this unit are

-Language Arts Reading

Standard 3: Reading: LITERARY RESPONSE AND ANALYSIS: Respond to literary texts
from a range of stances: personal, interpretive, critical.

Topic: Critical Stance

Benchmark: LA.5.3.4 Compare a literary element (e.g., characters, setting, plot) as it occurs in
two or more texts and explain how effectively it is realized in each text.

Performance Assessment: The students will describe how the character, Duke Ellington, is
realized in two different texts. Students will explain which is more effective and why.

-Language Arts Oral Communication

Standard 6: Oral Communication: Conventions and Skills: Apply knowledge of verbal and
nonverbal language to communicate effectively in various situations: interpersonal, group, and
public: for a variety of purposes.

Topic: Discussion and Presentation

Benchmark: LA.5.6.2 Give informal presentations or reports to inform

Performance Assessment: The students will organize and give an informal presentation of
information about their Mood Indigo painting.


Standard 2: Understand and apply elements of music and understand how music communicates
ideas, feelings, and experiences across cultures

Topic: How the Arts Communicate

Benchmark: 5.2.5 Analyze musical elements when explaining or critiquing a musical selection
or musical performance.

Performance Assessment: The students will analyze, in great detail, musical elements when
explaining Duke Ellingtons compositions.

-Fine Arts

Standard 1: Understand and apply art materials, techniques, and processes in the creation of
works of art and understand how the visual arts communicate a variety of ideas, feelings, and

Topic: How Arts are Communicated

Benchmark FA.5.1.4 Explain how an original artwork demonstrates a concept or idea from
another discipline.

Performance Assessment: The student will create an original work of art that demonstrates a
concept or idea and can explain his/her idea or concept that is based on the musical composition,
Mood Indigo.

Assessment Strategies

-Assessment Tasks
During this unit of study my students will have the opportunity to create an original poem using
a variety of popular vocabulary from the 1920s, and to create a painting in response to the
composition Mood Indigo (as performed by Duke Ellingtons orchestra) that shows evidence
Engaging in reading, analyzing, and comparing books to further understanding of the
Collaborating and communicating as a student in a safe environment.
Applying the elements music to create and present individual paintings.
Reflecting on their experience in the creative process.

-Assessment Tools
During this unit, the students will use the following assessment tools to assess their own work
and participation. The students will use this rubric as a formative assessment of their own final
art piece and presentation.

Teacher-Created Rubric for What Makes a Great Painting Summative Assessment

Student Name:

Title of the Painting:

(Check if met)
(Check if met)
Criteria for What Makes a Great Painting and

Focus on the meaning or message you are trying to
communicate to the class

Establish the connection between your painting and
the composition Mood Indigo.

Commit to your paining. Is this your best work?

Present a quality presentation Can you explain
what motivated/inspired your painting when listening
to Mood Indigo?

Self-evaluation: Learning Through The Duke

Name: ____________________________
Date: ________________
1. Tell me something that you appreciate about the music of Duke Ellington?

2. Which activity did you enjoy the most during this unit? What did you like about this

3. What phrase did you use in your poem that effectively captures the feeling of jazz?

4. What do you like best about the painting you created?

5. If I could change one thing about the work I did in the Duke Ellington unit it would be:

6. I am especially happy and proud of:

Lesson Plans

This is an overview of each lesson that is part of my performing arts unit, which focuses on
creating and maintaining a safe and positive learning environment while using active
student engagement in the creative process to produce a great performance.

-Lesson One Overview
The first lesson in this unit will introduce jazz music created by Duke Ellington to the students.
I will be playing a Duke Ellington song as my students enter the room to set the mood of todays
lesson. When all students are seated and the song is over, I will ask my students to describe what
they were listening to; accepting all ideas by recording their responses on a chart using the Smart
Board. After my students have brainstormed I will add my own words to the chart on the Smart
Board such as hot-buttered and cats and ace as I explain the meanings of the words (and I could
possibly give examples.) As a class we will then make suggestions for a title for the chart so we
can explain what the words on the chart have in common. After we all agree on a title, I will
encourage my students to play with the words listed on the chart by stringing them together into
interesting combinations. I will model a few different examples while emphasizing the value of
playing with the sounds of words. My students will take a piece of paper and write down their
ten favorite word strings/combinations, independently. After a few minutes, I will play another
Duke Ellington selection as I have my students describe what they are hearing using their word
strings/combinations to create a poem. At the end, I will have my students share their poem, then
I will lead a follow-up discussion about the word combinations selected by the students and how
they relate to music.

Beginning of class song Mood Setter 2 minutes
I will play a Duke Ellington selection as my students enter the classroom
Post instructions on the board so students will know what to do.
1. I should hear no talking while the song is playing
2. Quietly sit down and get ready without anything on your desk
3. Think about descriptive words that relate to the song that is playing

Classroom word chart 15 minutes
As a class, we will be using the Smart Board to form a word chart. First, students will contribute
their ideas to the list. After all student ideas are on the chart, I will add carefully selected words
as I explain to the class what it means.
The teacher will
Ask students to describe what they are listening/listened to.
Accept and record all ideas and responses

The students will
Tell me their ideas and responses so I can add to the list.

The teacher will
Add words:
1. Hot-buttered
2. Sassy
3. Cool
4. Daddy-O
5. Fine-as-pie
6. Ivory eight eights
7. Press on the pearlies
8. Cats and ace
Ask students if they know what any of these words mean?
Define words using examples with pictures, recordings, videos, etc.

Brainstorm 10 word strings/combinations 10 minutes
The teacher will
Give a few examples of a word string/combination.
Emphasize the value of playing with the sounds of the words

The students will
Play with words by stringing them together into interesting combinations
Take out a piece of paper and write down their ten favorite word strings/combinations
Share their favorite with their partner next to them

Write a poem 15 minutes
The teacher will
Introduce the task to the class
1. Describe what they are hearing using their word/strung combinations to create a
2. They may create new combinations as they write if they need to, combinations can be
repeated, and they may write any number of combinations.
3. You are not limited to the words on the chart!
Remind students of the rules
1. Once the music starts, you may start writing your poem
2. Keep the volume down, no louder than the music.
Pass out a new paper, then play a selection by Duke Ellington as background music

The students will
Work independently on their poem throughout the song
Not get louder than the music playing

The teacher will
When the first song is over ask students, If you need more time, stand up.
If students need more time play one more Duke Ellington selection

Form individual prediction 3 minutes
Students will write predictions about what Duke Ellington is trying to convey through his music.
Teacher will
Inform students of the task; I will be passing out a blank sheet of paper. At the top, write
down all of your predictions about what Duke Ellington is trying to convey through his
Let students know what I expect from them before I start
1. I will play another song composed by Duke Ellington while you are writing down
your predictions.
2. There will be no talking while the music is playing, but you may think as loud as you
3. Use the entire time the song is playing to write your prediction
4. When the song is over, pass your papers to the front

-Lesson Two Overview
This lesson focuses on the history and biography of Duke Ellington and his compositions. We
will begin, like the previous lesson, with a Duke Ellington selection as my students prepare for
class to start. We will then access the internet and read the biography of Duke Ellington, and
listen to more samples of compositions by Duke Ellington that is available on the website. Next,
we will read aloud the book called Duke Ellington by Andrea Davis Pinkney. We will end with
a class discussion about the similarities and differences between the two sources, and a
classroom energizer to get them ready for the next period.

Read aloud, Duke Ellington 15 minutes
The teacher will
Explain to my students that we will be reading a story about Duke Ellington.
Say, Boys and girls, you should listen for ways in which the story you read is the same
as the biography on the website, and ways I which the story is different.
Read aloud the book to the class
Pause, and think aloud during important scenes

Discussion about questions 10 minutes
The teacher will
Separate class into groups of 4
Post the following questions overhead for the students to see.
1. What were some of Duke Ellingtons early experiences with music? Were these
experiences positive or negative?
2. What were some of the important turning points in Duke Ellingtons life?
3. What did Duke Ellington find appealing about jazz?
Tell students to discuss those questions for a few minutes while playing a Duke Ellington
When the song is over, I will lead a classroom discussion about those specific questions

The students will
Actively participate and discuss questions within assigned groups until music stops playing.

Present evidence that either support or does not support their predictions 5 minutes
Students will give evidence to confirm or reject their predictions about the work.
Teacher will
Pass back paper with prediction on it
Give students the task to present at least 3 pieces of evidence that confirm or reject their
Emphasize that the goal is to find the truth, not to be right.
You will have about 5 minutes
When you are done turn in the paper to me, then read silently

-Lesson Three Overview
During this lesson, the students will be creating a final piece the shows students understanding
on Duke Ellington and his contributions to jazz. The focus for todays lesson is on Mood
Indigo and thinking about how you can show that Duke Ellington is painting colors with his
bands sound. I will give the students the option to create a poem or a painting as they listen to
the composition Mood Indigo.

Review Mood Indigo 15 minutes
Teacher will
Remind the students that in the book, the author wrote that Duke painted colors with his
bands sound.
Play mood indigo as students listen quietly
Ask students to think about the shapes and colors that the music reminds them of.
If it helps, allow students to move their body BUT no sounds.

Go over tasks 5 minutes
Teacher will explain to students about what is expected from them
Pass out rubric and go over rubric as a class
The task is to paint a picture, trying to capture the music in paint.
Tell students that they will be presenting their piece in front on the class next class
You may talk amongst yourselves, just no louder than the music.
Encourage students to try their best

Distribute materials 5 minutes
Pass out newspapers to cover desks
Call students up (in a fashionable order) to get materials

Start painting! 20 minutes
Play the composition Mood Indigo while students work

Clean up/Exit-ticket 10 minutes
Inform students that in order for them to leave, all their materials need to be put away
nicely, and their desk needs to be clean.
Instruct students to place completed paintings on back table
Play music while cleaning to set a positive mood.

-Lesson Four Overview
This lesson is solely for student sharing/presentations. If I am able to, I will record each
students presentation so we can view it together as a class later. Or it could be a video to play
during open house or at the end of the school year. I will give students the option to either
display it, or share orally. I will provide students with a rubric/self-assessment to turn in along
with their end assignment.

Present/Share 30 minutes
Teacher will
Ask if there are any volunteers that would like to go first?
Then go alphabetically by first name
Allow student questions after each presentation
Go over expectations before starting
1. Listen quietly
2. No talking
3. Be respectful
4. Give your 110% when presenting/sharing

Students will
Follow expectations listed above
Support and encourage each other

Exit-ticket 5 minutes
Teacher will say
Your ticket out today is to write down 3 things that they learned during the
You cannot leave until you hand in your ticket

Performance Idea

My students will share their final painting or poem with the class through displays or oral
sharing. I will provide my students with presentation questions to share while presenting, which
will also act as a self-assessment. If I am able to, we will videotape each presentation so we can
view the class performances together.


-Based on 23 students
1-Laptop Computer
1-Smart Board
Internet Connection
Variety of paints
Collection of Jazz songs (Most by Duke Ellington)
1- Book: Duke Ellington (Pinkney, YEAR)
1 copy of Mood Indigo as played by the Duke Ellington Orchestra
23 Paint brushes
23 - Reflection Sheets for Learning Through The Duke
25 Large piece of drawing paper



Duke Ellington- The Piano Prince and His Orchestra

-Internet Resources

The hardest part was . . . .

The easiest part was . . . .

I think I am starting to . . . .

It is confusing when . . . .

Two things I learned were . . . .

One question I have is . . . .

I was surprised . . . .

I already knew . . . .

I would like to know more about . . . .

I need help with . . . .

I noticed that . . . .

What was interesting was . . . .

I used to think . . . . and now I think . . . .