The Week in a Nutshell; Friday, June 3

I’m afraid that this week’s post will consist of sub plans, although that can certainly be useful. Even if I’m able to return to work by the end of the week, I’m going to have to be my own sub and take it easy. Something is seriously wrong with my left hand, and there will be no piano, recorder or guitar playing. (This labor of love is being typed one-handed.) So, here’s what I left for the sub(s), knowing that many, if not most, will not be able to carry out solfa, piano accompaniment, or anything that requires the ability to read music. At this time of year, I’m grateful just to have someone cover my classes. I’m not trying to be snobbish about this, and I hope it doesn’t come off that way. This has just been a reality throughout my teaching career. There are very few actual music subs.

Option 1:
Some time ago my 4th and 5th graders viewed a Dallas Symphony Orchestra video called “Pictures in Music.” The conductor gives various examples of things that music can make one think of, using chase music, the theme from “Jaws”, “Aquarium”, and Rossini’s “William Tell Overture”. Pictures are then displayed that were drawn by elementary school students who were given an unknown piece of music to listen to and draw whatever they thought the music might be about. (This was for a contest sponsored by the DSO.). So, I made a listening cd for my sub, which included the Bach “Toccata and Fugue in d Minor”, “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber, “Also Sprach Zarathustra ” by Richard Strauss,
“Aquarium” by Camille Saint-Saens, and “Reverie” by Claude Debussy. ( This is
just one circumstance of many when having a school iTunes account is SO
helpful!). Hopefully the sub will know to play the shorter pieces several times. I
left drawing paper and colored pencils. I made the sub an example paper, by
folding it into quarters and labeling it “Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3, Picture 4.”
Option 2.
I left another DSO video called “Emotions in Music” with instructions for the students to write questions for the video based on the information they were given while watching. This can be done in their listening log notebooks. The video is about half an hour long. The remaining class time can be used going over their questions.
Option 3.
Have the students count off by fours to divide them into 4 groups and place each group in separate areas of the room. Each group should have 1 recorder with a sheet of paper and a pencil. The students are given a category, and 5 minutes to list everything they can think of that will fit into the category. They should work as quietly as possible, since the other groups are allowed to steal their answers. (This actually works. Heheheh). The group with the most correct items on their list wins the round. Categories: Composers, Musical Symbols, Instruments, Songs We’ve Learned, (at any time), and Scientific Terms that Relate to Sound.
Option 4.
I burned 2 more cd’s, one primary and one intermediate of songs the students know. That would keep them busy for an entire class period. The kids should have everything they need in their folders to sing along.

Have a great weekend! I’m hopeful that I will be back in the classroom next week. (I’d better be….we still have 3 performances to go.)
Bye for now!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jean
    Jun 02, 2011 @ 09:10:29

    Yes, music subs are rare! I often plan videos and the children like them a lot. Here are some of the titles:
    Bach’s Fight For Freedom, Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Handel’s Last Chance, Bizet’s Dream, Rossini’s Ghost and Strauss: The King of Three-Quarter Time.
    Marsalis On Music is also a great set!


  2. Write Every Day
    Jun 02, 2011 @ 22:24:46

    I like the composer series too, Jean, with the exception of Bizet’s Dream. I showed it one time, and was so uncomfortable with it that I never have shown it again. (It deals with adultery, and I’m just not sure how well my 5th graders can handle it.). One of my colleagues feels the same way about the Strauss video, because it deals with the issue of domestic abuse. My favorite is Rossini’s Ghost. Thanks for the excellent video list!


  3. Jean M.
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 13:05:40

    Thanks for the “red flag” about Bizet and Strauss!


  4. Write Every Day
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 15:54:14

    Sure! Thanks for taking the time to comment!


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