Submitted by Stephen Wight, Maryville, Tennessee
Idea posted September 15, 2011
I had the best lesson I've ever had on "Theme and Variations" today in 5th Grade:
Covers: Standard 8 (Cross-artistic connections), Standard 6 (Listen/analyze/describe)
Display some of Monet's "Haystacks" paintings; I used Wikipedia's entry, because if you scroll down, they have a grid of about 18 paintings. Six fit on my screen at once at a reasonable size.
Questions written next to paintings: (I have a promethean board, so I was using the "annotate over desktop" feature.)
- What would you say is the theme of these paintings?
- What are some differences between the paintings?
Discuss questions. Accept all reasonable answers; hide haystacks.
Rote Song: Simple Gifts; I taught it by first having them listen and try to tell me what the title meant, then by echo.
Listening: Appalachian Spring (Simple Gifts section) - Copland
- Put haystacks back on board
- Directed Listening Question: How is this piece of music like these paintings?
Accept all reasonable answers, but of course listen for answers related to Theme and Variations.
Listening: Appalachian Spring; this time, stopping after theme and each variation.
- Directed Listening Question: What is the theme of this piece of music? Do you recognize it?
- Directed Listening Question: In the next little section, what did the composer change?
Vocabulary: Tell students the name of the form, "Theme and Variations."
Have students give you examples of other things in life that come in "Theme and Variations" form. Some good answers I received today were:
and several others. It was possibly the best 5th grade lesson I've ever had!