Pete Seeger
An American Legend



 
 
 

A WebQuest for 11th Grade U.S. History
 Designed by
Natalie J. Knight
nk32077@appstate.edu

 

Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits | Teacher Page


Introduction
 
     America was in a time of growth and change in between the 1930's to the 1970's.  The country went from a period of economic despair during the Great Depression, to the 1940's when World War II established the U.S. as a world super power.  The 1950's were tumultuous times when African Americans were trying to carve a place for themselves in the nation's identity, all the while Joseph McCarthy, with the help of H.U.A.C., tried to eradicate communism from the U.S.  The 1960's and 1970's also brought women to the forefront, as they began demanding equal rights and the country was going to war, once again, to fight the evils of communism in Vietnam.
     It is very rare in history that you find one person that was actively involved in all major historical events of their lifetime.  However, America's history does have one legend who never let time or opportunity pass him by and thus became an emerging figure in America's identity from the 1930's and beyond.  If you traced Pete Seeger's life you would find yourself on a trail that lead you through just about every major event in the 20th Century.  How can one person do so much?  How did Pete Seeger's involvement in these events shape not only him, but the nation as well? 



The Task
 
 
The task that lays ahead for you is tracing Pete Seeger's life.  You and a partner will choose a decade of American history from the 1930's to the 1970's and look at Pete Seeger's activities during that time.  You will prepare a brief report on that period and what information you found.  Your final task in understanding how this man had an impact on our country and what music is able to accomplish, you will make a compilation tape or CD of ten contemporary songs that you feel have a message to society, at least one song must be a current artist covering one of Pete Seeger's songs.



The Process
 
 
1. You will be allowed to work in pairs and choose your partner.  No groups larger than two will be allowed, unless there is a uneven number of students in the class, so there may be one group of three.

2.  You and your partner will choose a decade between 1930 and 1970 (1930, 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970). 

3.  First look at the decade and determine the major events of that time period.  How were these events affecting average Americans?  Use this information to create a timeline of the events that you feel are the most significant.  I would suggest looking at History Channel to get started, you may also use the material that we have already covered in class: textbook, notes, supplemental reading and the school library.

4.  Now, look at Pete Seeger's life during the decade that you choose and determine which major events he was involved in.  Be sure to download sound bits so you may sample his music.  Explore the following web sites to investigate his life.
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/JimCapaldi/
www.livingmusic.com/catalogue/albums/pete/
www.beacham.com/seeger/seeger_radio.html
www.peacemagazine.org/9707/seeger.htm
www.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/seeger-bio-2.html
www.salon.com/weekly/seeger960527.html
www.mudcat.org/pete.cfm
www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAseeger.htm
www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/unitarians/seeger.html
www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/parton/2/where.html
www.wholeearthmag.com/ArticleBin/406.html
www.zmag.org/ZMag/articles/carterapr98.htm
www.marist.edu/summerscholars/96/ivpetes.htm
www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/1996/02.29/PeteSeegerToRec.html
www.kennedy-center.org/honors/years/seeger.html
www.mtholyoke.edu/offices/comm/csj/020802/seeger.shtml
web.mit.edu/newsoffice/tt/2000/apr12/seeger.html
www.geocities.com/Nashville/3448/dearmr.html

5.  Citing information from five of the provided sites on Pete Seeger and information that you have gathered from other web sites, write a two page paper on why Pete Seeger is a significant historical figure in America; why is he an American Legend?

6.  From your research you should have gathered that Pete Seeger had a strong influence on music, especially songs that were about everyday people and social issues.  Your final task is to create either a tape or CD of ten songs by current artists, that deal with social issues of today and/or have a message to society.  The music may be of any genre but must be contemporary.  Also, one song must be an original Pete Seeger song covered by a contemporary artist.  You must provide a list with the songs, artists, issue that is being dealt with and the reason you choose the song.  Please refrain from music that contains explicit lyrics.



Evaluation
 
Beginning

1

Developing

2

Accomplished

3

Exemplary

4

Score
Timeline

 

The timeline is indistinguishable, very few major events have been included, and all or some of the dates are correct.
The timeline is readable, some major events have been included, and all or some of the dates are correct.
The time line is readable, major significant events have been chosen, and all of the dates are correct.
The timeline includes pictures and other images, major significant events have been chosen, and all of the dates are correct.
 
Report on Pete Seeger













 

Report has incorporated information from less than five of the listed web sites, information has been improperly documented, many grammatical errors, and the paper is poorly organized.
Report has incorporated information from five of the listed web sites, some mistakes in the documentation of information, grammatical errors, and the paper needs improvement on its flow. 
Report has incorporated information from five of the listed web sites plus one additional site that is not listed, information is documented properly, some grammatical errors, and the paper flows well.
Report uses pictures, has incorporated information from five of the listed web sites plus two to three additional sites that are not listed, information is documented properly, report is free of grammatical errors, and the overall flow of the paper is organized well.
 
Musical Compilation













 

Artists and songs are listed, less than ten songs contain ambiguous social message or issue, no reason for selection is explained, there is no Pete Seeger song cover included.
ANY TAPE OR CD TURNED IN CONTAINING VULGAR, EXPLICIT, OR OBSCENE LANGUAGE.
Artists and songs are listed, ten or less songs contain some vague social message or issue, the issue and reason for selection is apparent, one Pete Seeger song cover is included.
Tape or CD has a cover, artists and songs are listed, ten songs contain social message or issue, the issue and reason for selection is explained, one or more Pete Seeger song covers are included.
Tape or CD has a well designed cover, artists and songs are listed, ten songs contain strong social message or issue, the issue and reason for selection demonstrates analysis, one or more Pete Seeger song covers are included.
 
Organization and presentation of material

 

Project is hard to follow and unclear, partially or completely not word processed, information is not cited, and is turned in late.
Project has weak organization, is partially word processed, information has been improperly cited.
Project is organized chronologically, has been word processed, information has been properly cited, representative pictures have been chosen.
Project is organized chronologically or thematically, has been word processed, information has been properly cited, clear and representative pictures have been chosen, and the project is colorful.
 


Conclusion
 
Hopefully, you have the learned the significance that music can have on people, history, and maybe even learned to appreciate music that you would have never listened to before.  By making the tape or CD of contemporary music you have been able to connect the past with the future and see how music has begun to do more than entertain.  If you found this topic interesting and would like to learn more about the origins of folk music, especially in the Appalachian region, look at this great site on Appalachian Music.



Credits & References
 
I would like to say thank you to the web masters of the following web sites for use material on this site:
- http://www.livingmusic.com/catalogue/albums/pete/ (album cover picture)
- http://www.historychannel.com/ (link to the History Channel)
- http://users.boone.net/blueridgemusic (link to Appalachian music)
- To all of the Pete Seeger linked sites, thanks for keeping the music alive!


Last updated on August 15, 1999. Based on a template from The WebQuest Page