Lesson Plan

Celebrating Black History Month with the Sounds of African-American Music: Jazz and Hip-Hop

What do like to groove to? Bebop or hip-hop? In this Black History Month lesson plan, students will listen to and learn about two music genres heavily influenced by African-Americans. Then they will write about which genre they prefer.
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Have you heard of jazz or hip-hop? Which genre is your favorite? Catered to students in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade, this lesson plan discusses the origin of both jazz and hip-hop and how these two types of music have their roots in African American communities. As students learn about the musical genres, they will practice their opinion writing skills by picking which type of music they like best. The lesson plan Celebrating Black History Month with the Sounds of African American Music: Jazz and Hip-Hop is a rich educational activity combining reading and writing skills with culture history.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to use invented spelling to write about their preference between jazz music and hip-hop music.


(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to share what kind of music they enjoy listening to.
  • Tell students that in honor of Black History Month, we will be celebrating two types of music that were greatly influenced by African-American artists: jazz and hip-hop.
  • Ask students to share what they know about jazz and/or hip-hop music.
  • Tell students that jazz music is a kind of music that got its start in African-American communities in New Orleans. In jazz music, musicians often play solos that they make up on the spot. It has a call and response pattern where one instrument or voice answers the call of another.
  • Explain to students that hip-hop music is a kind of music that got its start with African-Americans living in the inner cities. Hip-hop music contains rapping (a rhyming speech that is chanted) and DJing (mixing sounds and scratching a turn table).