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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Another: Elementary Music Lesson

I recently came across a wonderful new book that I'm so excited to use in my music classes this year: Another by Christian Robinson. I'm planning to use the book to talk about different sound sources, timbre, and communicating meaning through music with my Kindergarten classes. Here is the lesson plan I've come up with for this adorable book!

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If you aren't familiar with the story, this book is a picture book with no words at all. This video gives a sense of what it's like:

First, I'll show my students the entire book. As we look at each page, I'll invite students to share what they notice, and what they think is happening. At the end of the story, we'll discuss what the basic story line was.

Next we'll go through the book again, but I'll tell students we're going to add "sound effects" without using any words. On each page we'll practice making different sounds that I or the students suggest would fit with the page, whether it's the cat meowing, or the sound of the girl sliding through the ball pit. Children at this age love showing off the different sounds they can make with their mouths, so I'm sure they will have even better ideas than I do! This is a great place to have conversations about how loud, how fast, how high etc the sound should be to best communicate what's happening.

Once we've done that, I'll tell students that we're going to add sound effects to the story again, but this time using instrument sounds. I'll assign students to different pages- many of the pages only need one sound by one person, but some of them would probably need a larger group- and tell them when it's their turn they will make a sound to match the picture using only instruments.

I've found with this type of lesson it's easiest to sit close to the instruments, either by putting all of the instruments I want them to use out on the floor in front of the class or by moving to go sit near the shelves where I keep the instruments. Then students can quickly get the instrument they want, play it, and sit back down when it's their turn. Before we go through the story, I always take the opportunity to review classroom instrument names and playing techniques too.

By the end, my Kindergartners will have created their own soundscape from the book- this is a great introduction to the idea of communicating a story, mood, or scene through sound. If you want to see more ideas for incorporating lots of different types of soundscapes into lessons for a wide range of ages, this post has lots of other ideas:

And if you want to see all of my lessons using children's books, I have all of them collected in this post:

Have you ever heard of this book before? I am so thrilled to be adding it to my classroom this year! If you have more ideas for ways to use it in the music room, I'd love to hear them in the comments below!

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