We are kicking off our 10 Weeks of Summer Reading series with a FREE Unit Study about Louis Armstrong, also known as the King of Jazz. Learn about his tough childhood, how he realized his musical gifts and what opportunities led him to an amazing musical career. Explore what makes jazz music unique and what New Orleans was like in the early 1900s!
Grab one or both of the books below, sign-up to receive the FREE printable unit study and then explore the other resources below!
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The Books about Louis Armstrong
The fictional A Good Night for Ghosts gives the reader a good feel for New Orleans in the early 1900s and introduces us to Louis Armstrong at age 14. The biography, Who Was Louis Armstrong?, spans his entire life and teaches us a lot about jazz music and the jazz scene.
The Louis Armstrong FREE Printable Unit Study
The unit study includes the following:
Notebooking pages about Louis Armstrong, jazz music, and New Orleans.
A timeline activity to chart Louis Armstrong’s life.
A mapping activity to learn the different places Louis lived.
Math story problems about the value of money during Louis’ early life.
A Venn diagram activity to compare jazz with another style of music.
A Writing prompt to encourage children to think about their gifts and how they can share them with the world.
Videos of Louis Armstrong
Watching videos of Mr. Armstrong perform allows you to see his personality as well as learn about his music.
Here is a video from early in his career, made in 1933.
When the Saints Go Marching In was a popular hit of his that had gospel influences.
And here is a ballad near the end of his life, recorded in 1967.
Take the time to explore other videos of Louis Armstrong performing or listen to his music.
Learn How a Trumpet Works
Louis Armstrong first learned to play the cornet, which is similar to a trumpet. He then made the switch to a trumpet a few years into his career and stayed with it for the rest of his life.
Watch this video to learn how you use the vibration of your lips to make the trumpet play and then change how it sounds by pushing valves to change the length of the tubing within the trumpet.
Make your own trumpet! You will just need the top of a water or soda bottle, a cardboard tube and construction paper. You may want to play around with the length of the tube to see if your sound changes. Click here for instructions.
New Orleans Resources
If you feel inspired to learn more about New Orleans after reading these books, Heidi at Pool Noodles and Pixie Dust has put together an amazing list of resources!! Check out her post: New Orleans Unit Study.
More Music Resources
Want to learn about another jazz musician that Louis Armstrong played with? Check out this FREE Online Music Lesson about Duke Ellington!
Our Musical Instrument Sorting Mats and the accompanying videos are a great way for children to learn about different instruments:
The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White is a favorite book in our home and a perfect accompaniment to this unit study. It tells the story of a trumpet swan, named Louis, who is born without a voice. He tries a few different ways to communicate, including learning to play the trumpet. His trumpet playing then leads him on adventures around the country.