lesson plans

Lesson plans and music available for teachers

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Aaron Copland: 1900-1990

Discipline: Creative arts activities for children
Suitable for grades: 2-6
Essential Question: What are the characteristics of American music? How did the early 1900’s influence the art and music of New York?

Major Theme of this Unit:
– to understand the elements of American music through the music of American composer Aaron Copland
– to recognize the influence of jazz and “cowboy” music in several selections of Copland’s music
– to learn the background of Aaron Copland and to study his music through dance, arts, song, dance and poetry.

Follow-up activities: Read stories of jazz, sing American folk songs (O’Suzanna, Turkey in the Straw, Skip to My Lou, Polly Wolly Doodly, Great Grandad), listen to other compositions by Aaron Copland.


Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky

An Interdisciplinary Unit – Language, Music, Art, Drama
Suitable for grades: K-4
Composition: Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks from Pictures at an Exhibition
Materials Needed: CD player, CD of Pictures at an Exhibition, pictures of chickens and other fowl visual of ABA form

Goal: Students will move around the room as they hear their A or B sections in the music
Objectives: Students will
– identify the high pitched woodwinds instruments
– explore movements to imitate the high short sounds in the music
– demonstrate recognition of the ABA form of the music

* Winner * 2002 National Music Foundation Grant Awards: Lessons on American Music *


The Season of Spring

Discipline: Music, Dance, Drama, Language Arts
Suitable for grades: 4-8
Materials Needed: play and music of “Persephone”, percussion instruments, projector and slides of pictures from books on Greek mythology
Goal: students will dramatize a story from Greek mythology of how spring came to be with music, dance, instruments, and song.
Concepts: orchestration, percussion technique, part-singing, phrasing, and improvisation.


Winter Through the Arts

Discipline: Art, Dance, Poetry, Math
Suitable for grades: K-3
Activties which integrate music, singing, listening, playing percussion instruments with language arts, movement, visual arts, poetry, drama, and story reading. Each lesson takes approximately 40 minutes and should be taught in this order.

Materials Needed: “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats, Poem “Snowflakes” by Marian Kennedy, streamers, percussion instruments, “The Little Snowflake” by Music K-8 Plank Publishing, recording “Snowflakes Falling” from “Children’s Corner” by Claude Debussy, and “Winter” by Vivaldi in his “Four Seasons”, construction paper,

Goals: children will explore winter themes through music, reading, movement, poetry, and art
Objectives: students will
– learn movement vocabulary from adverbs in poetry
– learn to create a sound piece about winter with percussion instruments
– explore conducting techniques
– analyze classical music which describes the sounds of winter
– create movements to express the mood of a snowstorm.



Discipline: Dance, Arts & Crafts, Culture
Suitable for grades: K-8

This lesson plan called, “HaGalil”, a scenic overlook in Northern Israel, was created by Judy Spitzberg and Levi Bar-Gil as a collaborative project on dance art and poetry.The lesson highlights the elements of form, color, shape and theme using David Hockney’s painting called “The Hill” with creative arts themes of pastoral scenes expressed through 3D paper sculptures, dance movements, cinquain poems and musical interpretations.

-To study the painting David Hockney “Garrowby Hill”
-To identify the lines, shapes and colors in the painting
-To describe the art through poetry
-To create a 3D paper sculpture using various shapes lines: horizontal, vertical, diagonal, and curved, straight, bent, spiral, serpentine
-To learn three folk dances: line, circle and partner: with lyrics related to the art such as “land”, “pathways”, bright and sunny
-To recognize patterns, designs of similar themes in all the art forms

This lesson was presented in Israel for early childhood dance instructors in April, 2008, and will be presented again for Framingham State University July, 2011.

All lesson plans copyright ©1999-2017 by Judith Spitzberg, all rights reserved. Unauthorized use or reproduction is prohibited without written permission from the author.