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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Music to Support Literacy

Last week's lightbulb moment, hit me during our Writing of our class pourquoi story (see part 1 and part 2).  It was then that I realised (again), less is more.  It seems to be a recurring theme in this blog, of those moments where I feel like, when I simplify my practice, I get more from the students.  An example of this is in my Maths posts, where I talk about offering one problem instead of ten.

So, this week I kept to the same class myth about Maungarei.  I have planned for my classroom release teacher, who is a specialist Art teacher to create landscape paintings with Maungarei as the main focus, and I decided to focus on bringing music into the mix.

We started by watching (and more importantly, listening) to Peter and the Wolf.  A classic story that helped to guide our discussion of music supporting meaning in text.  These were the two videos that we watched.  The students actually liked the second shadow puppet one more, in particular, watching other students around their age, creating the shadows, so you might want to skip straight to that one, and miss out the disney version.

Students were asked to briefly describe what they noticed about the music and how it made them feel.  They completed this Google Presentation as part of this task:

Today's lesson, we started in the Music Room of our school, but you could extend this further and make your own instruments first.  We are fortunate to have a music room in our school.  We started by recapping Peter and the Wolf instruments and sounds and what mood those sounds set, or how those sounds supported the meaning of the story.  I used these prompt cards which I bought off Teachers-Pay-Teachers for $4USD.

We then quickly story-boarded our own story into 7 key scenes, which helped when dividing students into small groups.  

So students were put into 7 groups of 3 (I know, what a dream class size!) and first had to think about the scene they were in charge of, the mood they needed to set, and some possible instruments that would help them achieve this.  I quickly modelled the basic sounds of each instrument for students to get a taste (we aren't professional musicians, so it was all shaking and banging for today!).  They students were sent off into their groups to create their 'music' to suit their scene.

Students swapped from instrument to instrument to get the effect they wanted.  In 30 minutes, we had a simple soundtrack and audio book ready to share!  The students absolutely loved this learning experience.  Our next step is to put this soundtrack with the art that they create on Wednesday to make a mini movie.  The most important thing, is the repetition without boring.  They are not bored of this story yet, but have viewed it in five different settings.  They are reading, listening, viewing and creating, using this story over and over again and embedding their learning (we hope!).  

Please listen and enjoy our awesome creation.

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