Submitted by Andrea Cope, Texas
Idea posted September 1, 2006
Instrument Lesson Plan for Grades 2 and 3
1. Put students in groups of two or three, and give each group two instrument cards. (My cards have the instrument family and a paragraph of simple information beneath the picture.) Students have five minutes to think of two ways the instruments are the same and two ways they're different. I don't allow "They're the same because they both make music," or "They're different because they're not the same." Then each group presents to the rest of the class.
2. Choose a child to go first. (I do so by randomly pointing to the seating chart.) Tape an instrument card to the child's back so they can't see it. They walk backwards/sideways so everyone else can see the card, then they call on kids to get clues. Once they guess correctly, they randomly point to the seating chart to choose the next player. You have to give some guidance as to what makes a good clue. For example, "My brother has one" isn't a good clue. Neither is "It rhymes with 'bump it'." The rule is the clue has to be about the instrument, not about its name or who plays it.
3. I do this in kindergarten and first grade, but second grade begs to do it again: First read Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin. Show the picture cards for the 10 instruments in the story, demonstrating how each is played. Line half the class up facing the center of the room and line the other half up facing them, about three feet apart. One side is "conductors." I pass out recorder cleaning rods as batons. The other side is "the orchestra." I show each player an instrument card, and they show me how to play it. Strauss' Blue Danube is perfect for this. It has a nice range of tempos, and it's familiar to most kids. I stand behind the musicians so the conductors can see me, and I schmaltz it up big time. It's amazing how much expression they put into their conducting. Then musicians teach conductors how to play, and they switch. We bow and curtsy at the end. Their favorite part is when the musicians get to carry the instruments carefully over to the risers and gently set them down.
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