For many years I've pulled all of my tools out of my teacher's bag of tricks to find ways to get students to listen for more than 3 minutes to the music of some of the world's greatest composers. I've done active listening with activities like keeping the steady beat, moving to show form, listening for instruments, raising their hands when they hear a certain element and so on. What I wanted was to create an experience where students had a more extended time to listen (say 10 minutes or so) so that they could hear several pieces by the same composer. This is difficult.
After about 2 minutes they are wiggly. After 3 minutes they are looking around the room and are disengaging. Soon they are talking and our listening time has turned into me telling kids to be quiet.
Until now! As the school year comes to a close I've created composer coloring sheets for students to color while listening to that composer. Since my 2nd graders study composers all year, they were the group that I experimented with. They loved coloring the composers and reading a little bit about them. They also loved listening to several pieces while they colored and often commented about where they had heard it before, what it reminded them of and more. Higher levels of thinking and active educational conversations from a color sheet? YES!
Here are some more examples (some in progress) of our listening times.
Fun! Teachers: You can get these HERE.