Mentor Showcase

The San Francisco Symphony’s Keeping Score Education program mentors shared their Keeping Score lessons and answered questions regarding integration, student outcome, and grade level adaptations during Keeping Score Summer Institutes at Davies Symphony Hall. Following are samples of lesson showcase presentations.

Around the World – Nicole Syth, Santa Clara, CA

You may be familiar with the game, Around the World, using math facts to assess a student's understanding in that specific area. In this kindergarten classroom, Around the World was adapted into a game to help students learn and remember where the notes are on the scale, and to help assess each student's understanding of this concept through the process. Using Boomwhackers, five different colored lines (the scale), and a magnet on the whiteboard, students match the corresponding Boomwhacker to the location of the magnet on the scale. In this lesson, students learn to use music vocabulary, in an age appropriate way, to show where the notes "live" on the scale.

Beethoven, Butterflies, and the Blues – Beth Criley and Donna Natseway, Flagstaff, AZ

We took advantage of the way Beethoven’s 5th Symphony creates a musical journey for this showcase lesson. Monarch migration is the topic integrated in science and language arts with music. Utilizing technology to a great extent was an integral part of the teaching. Using Smart Board, streaming videos, Power- Point, imported music, digital video, and digital photography, students participated in a symbolic monarch butterfly migration and received butterflies and communications created by other students from Mexico and the United States. Improvisation over the 12-bar blues form is the second transformation displayed in this showcase. The change of seasons was captured in student-written lyrics in science, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics mascots were highlighted in student-written lyrics in language arts. Students performed their lyrics in each class and were featured in a video produced by Keeping Score. This lesson highlighted how music and content transformed students into engaged and productive learners.

Celebrate Abraham Lincoln – Jill Humrich, Forestville, CA

Next February add music, writing, and performing to your celebration of this great president. Mix together a little Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, with historical facts and opinions, books, videos and even the Gettysburg Address. Then, create a class performance piece using their words. This lesson highlights Jill Humrich’s third grade class which created a piece last winter.

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Celebrate The Velveteen Rabbit! Celebrate Spring! – Peggy Porter, Forestville, CA

First graders listened to the music of George Winston, read The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, attended a play version of the story, and watched the video version. By extending the message of the story, connections were made to the theme of wants and needs using poetry, crafts, and movement. Students created poems about what lives in their hearts and then fashioned scarf tableaus to George Winston's music for The Velveteen Rabbit.

Civil War Biographies - Holly Thompson, Flagstaff, AZ

People play, sing, and listen to music for all sorts of reasons. Music is comforting, creates community, and sends messages. During the Civil War, boys were recruited to play the drum and send signals to the troops on the battlefield. At the same time, African- American spirituals were sung by slaves to comfort, to give rhythm to hard work, and even to pass secrets about the Underground Railroad. Soldiers and regular folks sang folk songs for fun and pleasure, comfort and nostalgia around campfires. Before students wrote biographies of well-known people from the Civil War era they listened to music of the time (military, spiritual, folk music) to help them develop a list of adjectives to describe these people. This lesson highlights how music integration can unlock imaginations and increase understanding.

Creation of Poetry through Music– Brenda Emry, Flagstaff, AZ

Have you ever wanted to apply a single teaching idea throughout the year, one that students beg to do again and again, AND have the idea cover a wide variety of standards? This lesson combines the beauty of music, art, poetry, dance and movement, as well as a purposeful and meaningful connection to many other content areas – pre-writing, reading, science, social studies, math and the arts! Students will love the outcomes over and over as they experience not only the beauty of the seasons through the music of Camille Saint- Saen's "Aquarium" and Antonio Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons", but will also learn how to create poetry through the act of brainstorming, using descriptive words, dance and movement, measuring, analyzing, classifying, and comparing. The list of standards goes on and on! This is only a taste of what can be taught while enjoying the beautifully colorful images portrayed by the music of Saint-Saens and Vivaldi. Discover the magic of application across the curriculum with this easy-to-use lesson . . . one that transforms into many lessons to follow!

Exploring the Night Sky through the Arts – Kathy Davis, Tulsa, OK

Throughout history, the night sky has been the object of much speculation, investigation and imagination by scientists and mathematicians. It has also been the subject for creations and compositions by musicians and visual artists. In this lesson, Mozart’s (12) “Variations on ‘Ah Vous Dirai-je Maman” and “The Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh stimulated the student’s interest in the art of the evening sky. After discussion about the constellations, students researched different ones seen frequently at night and were encouraged to look for constellations or familiar star designs in the sky at home. Although the original plan was for students to invent their own constellations on a “Night Sky” bulletin board, the lesson grew as many became interested in the real constellations! The students danced to Mozart’s “Variations on ‘Ah Vous Dirai- je Maman’’, using scarves, and painted their own versions of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” to the music of Mozart.

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Feel the Noise – Heidi Doyle, Fresno, CA

Feel the Noise is a science integrated lesson designed for second-graders, yet many of the components in the lesson make it easily adaptable for younger or older children. Students hear a variety of music while learning about sound production (vibration), with an opportunity to learn about Evelyn Glennie, a deaf musician. Students compose their own music to play on homemade instruments. Feel the Noise also provides an opportunity to learn about the five senses (especially hearing and touch), how to be a good audience member, how different instruments produce sound through vibration; and basic musical notation.

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The Firebird – Clydia Forehand, Tulsa, OK

A very old story about a creature with special powers, an evil villain, a princess, and a Russian prince becomes a vehicle capable of teaching and integrating the elements of music, dance, theater, literature, history, and Russian culture. The Firebird engages students’ imaginations and creativity as it also crafts connections to these and other disciplines. This lesson allows students to see themselves as Firebirds, princesses, princes, monsters, and also as composers, choreographers, writers, and teachers.

Fractions, Fractions, Fractions – Gillian Walke, Riverdale, CA

Fractions, fractions, are they a distraction? Come see how my 3rd graders showed me, Learning to read and write music is like 1, 2, 3! A powerful teaching tool for all learners, this lesson develops from concrete to abstract, using math to teach music, and music to teach math.

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Island of the Blue Dolphins – Joan Perez, Milpitas, CA

Students will love integrating music, literature, math and art in this wonderful lesson. Joan Perez’s students were able to access the San Francisco Symphony website to gain a deeper understand of the instruments of the orchestra and experience a variety of classical music. The students drew pictures to summarize each chapter and selected the music to match in order to create a DVD of their own making on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. It was wonderful to see how music evokes such deep responses from students.

Line and Color – Diane Immethun, Flagstaff, AZ

What is a line? It could be a succession of notes, the structure of a poem, or a geometric shape. In considering these definitions, imagine drawing a line that fits the rhythmic structure of Dvorak’s New World Symphony. Does the line’s form vary as you listen from one movement to the next? Now consider color. Does the mood of the music bring out different colors in your emotive imagination? Do the hushed opening notes of the first movement, Adagio, carry the same motion, imagery, or emotion as the third movement, Scherzo? Now, consider all the possible definitions of a line and how many areas of the curriculum might be part of your definitions. Whether you teach geography, geology, mathematics, history, anatomy, biology, art, or writing, this lesson will highlight how you can apply the concepts of lines and music in integrated lessons.

Listen to the Rain – Kate Sequeira, Petaluma, CA

Was Chopin inspired by rain when he composed Prelude 15 in D flat Major? Even though he denies it, it has come to be known as The Raindrop Prelude. How do composers use tempo, dynamics and instruments to stir our imagination, invoke moods and create images in our minds? Can children create their own music with only a piece of paper? Can music deepen our understanding of science? These are the questions that Kate Sequeira posed to herself and to students while studying the water cycle. This lesson highlighted examples of how children can listen for different musical elements, discuss the moods and images that arise while listening to music and then transfer that to their own creation … using only a sheet of paper!

Music and Me—Sonya Fergeson, Oklahoma City, OK

Your students can use music that they already know and love to help them learn more about themselves, their classmates and musical terminology! The first step in this process is allowing students to find their own personal autobiographical songs. Individually, as a homework assignment, they will utilize this song to help them describe key elements in music including dynamics, tempo, articulation, meter and genre. Step two is an oral presentation, sharing with classmates what they’ve learned. Their classmates are then able to ask them questions in an open forum. Presenters may make changes to their final written assignments before turning them in if they feel classroom discussions have warranted changes in their final answers. The final step is an evaluation of peers’ work through a student created rubric!

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Music as a Language – Clare Andrews, San Jose, CA

When used in conversation, speech can have many meanings, which are conveyed through gestures, word choice and intonation among other things. One who does not understand these subtleties may have difficulty understanding the meaning of the conversation. Music has these same subtleties and without knowledge of them, there is no understanding. Examples of these musical subtleties are Volume and Tempo - these are but two of many keys to the understanding of music. This showcase lesson highlights how kindergarteners were given these two keys to understanding the language of music.

Rock Concerts and Opera - Anita Ullner, Fresno, CA

Rock concerts and opera provide a novel approach for student learning in social studies and language arts through music. Through listening to an opera, Aida Buried Alive for Love!, students learn that operas tell compelling stories. Reader’s theatre and opera snippets bring the story to life. The activities provide opportunity for literary analysis, study of ancient Egypt culture, and advertisement creation. Students ponder music’s creation and role in Rock Concert. While exploring aspects of early man’s daily life, we listened to Native American music and studied cave art. The culminating activity integrates musical knowledge with historical study. Be sure to watch the Rock Concert DVD.

Scale and Interval in Math and Music – Vicki Hill, Graton, CA

Students typically have difficulty keeping the terms scale and interval straight - which is which? Use music to teach the difference, and your data lessons in math class will have a hook to help all learners. Use the major scale with solfege (do, re, mi), and well-known children's songs to teach vocabulary: scale and interval. Then switch to minor for contrast. Children use affective language to compare and build metaphoric bridges. See how any data set can be shifted by changing the scale and interval! It changes the look of the graph! Students then make graphs and conclude with a writing lesson to pull in main idea and details paragraph skills. Differentiated writing prompts allow students some choice.

Sinbad the Sailor – Kristin Machamer, Santa Clara, CA

Rimsky-Korsakov sets the classic Scheherazade tale to music, retelling the story of Sinbad the Sailor through the notes that the orchestra plays. Students are encouraged to play the role of Scheherazade by retelling this classic tale after listening to the music several times. One student begins their story, but must stop and pass to another who will continue it on. This repeats so that each story has a beginning, middle, and end that have been written by three different authors. Students learn the importance of adding the details to their stories so that others continuing the tales will follow their intended path towards the conclusion.

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The Movement of Animals – Sue Swenson, Norman, OK

As part of a unit on animal habitats, third grade students listened to selections from Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens. They participated in a discussion as to how the tempo, dynamics, and instruments were used by the composer to portray the movement of various animals. They practiced moving to the music as that animal might move and made guesses as to which animal the composer was depicting. They then completed research projects on a wild animal of their choosing. The students used classroom instruments to create a sound or short song that would portray the movement of their animal. This was shared with the rest of the class as we created our own “Carnival of the Animals.”

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Wild Thing – You do make my heart sing! – Debby Pallas, Fresno, CA

Are you looking for an easy way to incorporate math, language arts, music, and art for primary grades? Try the Wild Things unit from Math Excursions 1: Project-Based Mathematics for First Graders. Your students will be engaged while using math processes, symbols, and language by telling, drawing, dramatizing, setting to music, and writing story problems about wild things after reading Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are.