West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature

Teacher's Guide: Objectives & Procedures

Unit Goals:

Unit Learning Outcomes:

Learning Outcomes for Suggested Activities:


The length of time needed for teaching this unit depends on a number of factors such as the frequency and duration of class meetings, the entry level of students (knowledge and ability), time devoted to explanation and discussion of material, the number of activities chosen for each selection, the number of assignments given for homework vs. classwork, etc.

The WELCOME TO WEST VIRGINIA section is presented as motivational material rather than instructional material. There are no tests included for these selections.

The COME BACK HOME TO WEST VIRGINIA section is directed toward an affective outcome--leaving the user with a postive attitude toward West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature.

The main instructional strand of the unit is the TRADITIONAL MUSIC AND LITERATURE section. The four strands can be done in any order, and each can be taught independently of any of the others. The FOLK HEROES section (JOHN HENRY and TONY BEAVER) is the most detailed section.

LEARN TO SING "JOHN HENRY" can be used as a model for teaching any of the other songs in the unit. Students can learn the song by echoing line by line, then by singing the entire song. With repeated listening and singing along, students can learn each song.

Traditional folk literature does not lend itself to study of literary elements such as characterization or symbolism. Discussions of plot and theme, however, will work well with the traditional selections.

The selections from writers such as Cynthia Rylant and Louise McNeill can, of course, be taught as literary selections. Those selections were included in the unit to further an understanding of the people and culture of West Virginia.

In the spirit of the oral tradition, we would hope that students would learn and pass on to others the songs and stories presented in this unit.

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West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature is a self-contained teaching unit by Avis Caynor and Reneé Wyatt (1997), reprinted with permission in 2003 in the larger web site AppLit. See Study Guides and Lesson Plans for other teacher's guides in AppLit.