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School of Education, Health and Human Behavior
School of Education

NEH Landmarks Workshop

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

"Follow the Drinking Gourd" (Part Two)

Third Grade Music Class

Two 45-minute music class periods

Illinois State Board of Education Goals

Goal 25 " Language of the Arts"

Goal 27 " Understand the role of the arts in civilizations, past and present"


Student music textbook with "Follow the Drinking Gourd" and accompanying CD

Portable SmartBoard and computer/projector

Copies of the choral reading "The Underground Railroad"

Lined paper and pencils

Silver stars


Review the story and song of previous lesson, regarding "Follow the Drinking Gourd." Distribute copies of the choral reading "The Underground Railroad." Alternate the parts with boys/girls.

Using the SmartBoard, view student-made site about Harriet Tubman @

Divide the class into two teams and take the Harriet Tubman quiz @


One of the great workers on the Underground Railroad was an elderly former-slave, Sojourner Truth. Sojourner often told the story of having President Lincoln sign her autograph book, and declared she'd never been treated with such kindness by anybody. Sojourner was familiar with the song, "Follow the Drinking Gourd." Even though we find this song in the third grade music book, it most definitely is NOT a "third grade" song! It is an authentic song from the time of the Underground Railroad, and was so very important in communicating the plans and secret codes necessary for a successful slave escape.

Explain that the students will make a special keepsake of this powerful song, using the lined paper and 9 silver stars. They will copy the words from the "Drinking gourd" on the bottom half of the paper, and illustrate the top half with a picture of the "Drinking gourd," using the silver stars.

The teacher will make copies of the student work and keep in her writing sample files.

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