Students complete a chart describing the different motivations Duke Ellington felt about playing the piano as a boy, as a teenager and as a young man. Then students describe how Duke's motivations changed his attitude toward playing the piano.
Why is this an important concept?
Learners who can identify and describe a character's motivation in a text are able to understand and respond to literary texts in meaningful and personal ways. Also, when learners write their own stories, they will be able to develop believable plots and characters if they understand what causes them to behave in certain ways.
- Duke QuickTime Video
- Duke Character Motivation Chart handout
- Pencils, notebook paper
Part I: Learning Activity
1. Make copies of the Duke Character Motivation Chart handout for each student.
2. Explain to students that they are going to watch a biography about the great pianist, composer and band leader, Duke Ellington. Ask students to brainstorm what they know about Duke Ellington.
3. Purpose for viewing: as students watch the segment, first look for evidence that suggests Duke was not motivated to play the piano when he was in elementary school. Then, later in his life, Duke changes his mind about playing the piano. Ask students to look for evidence that suggests why Duke changed his mind.
4. Ask students to take notes as they watch the video segment.
5. After viewing the segment, discuss in small groups what Duke wanted to do when he was in elementary school and what motivated him. Then discuss Duke's motivation for deciding he wanted to play the piano as a teenager. Ask students to record ideas on the Duke Character Motivation Chart.For students who need additional teacher guidance
1. Pause the video after about two and a half minutes, after you hear the line "He quit his lessons and kissed the piano a fast goodbye." Discuss Duke's feelings about playing the piano and why he was not motivated to play. Record students' verbal responses on the board.
2. Continue watching the video. Afterwards, discuss Duke's change in the way he viewed piano playing and what motivated him to change his view.
3. After viewing the segment, students complete the Duke Character Motivation Chart, explaining how Duke felt about playing the piano when he was a young child and later as a teenager and adult. They will describe Duke's motivation for not wanting to play the piano and later his motivation for learning to play the piano.
Part II: Assessment
1. To conclude the lesson, the students will use ideas from their completed Duke Character Motivation charts to write a sentence or sentences explaining how Duke changed his mind about playing the piano and why.
2. Students who need additional support may work in pairs or small groups to write their concluding sentences about Duke Ellington's motivation to play the piano. Allow students to work with a partner to review their charts and to come up with their concluding statements about Duke and how he changed his mind about playing the piano.