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Education Rocks Concert

I am so proud of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders that performed in the Education Rocks concert last week!  YOU ROCK!!!

Click below to see photos of the event. (Thanks Mrs. Bangert!)  Videos will be up sometime during summer break.

Education Rocks Concert May 3, 2012

Transforming the Gym

Several people have inquired about the HUGE backdrop we have constructed.  As in many elementary schools we do not have a stage in our cafegymatorium. :-)  I wanted to transform the space for performances to make it a more special experience.  A member of a discussion list that I'm on suggested creating a backdrop from PVC pipes.

So with the help of a donation from our PTO I was able to buy the pipe and fittings.  You need some special 4 and 5 way fittings that I could not find locally.  Fortunately several places online (including Amazon.com) carry them.

Although the original poster suggested covering them with paper, we went with fabric.  Our secretary is a seamstress super star and made them for us.  With the help of our amazing custodian and coach it was put together and carefully set-up.  We strapped it to a couple of ladders for support and set boxes of paper on the legs to hold it down.  When the heating/cooling kicked on the curtains blew around a little bit! 

Here's what it looked like at our last concert.

This was made with posterboard, glitter and paint.  For our patriotic concert the curtains were put up in a slightly different arrangement and we draped plastic flags over the parts of the pipes that peeked through at the top where the curtains met.

You can see the plan and how this looks without curtains at this link:  http://www.instructables.com/id/PVC-stage-backdrop-or-room-divider/
I am not the creator of this instructable, but it is good stuff!  With modifications this would work well for churches and VBS as well as other performance venues.

Listening to Beethoven

I almost forgot that I had scanned these to share with you!  A few weeks ago we listened to "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven.  First graders discussed tempo, mood and dynamics and then created these written/drawn responses.

They had some pretty heavy thoughts about the song.  It was a great opportunity to talk about how music captures emotions.  We discussed music that is used for weddings, funerals, parades, parties, etc...  What insightful young men and women I teach!

UPDATED:  Just to answer a few questions that I've recieved in the comments or via email for teachers wishing to teach this lesson:  To introduce the piece I talked about Beethoven and explained that sometimes (not always!) but sometimes composers like to tell stories with their music the way authors do with books.  I asked them to listen to the piece and then asked them to label it generically by asking them what the tempo was, what instrument did they hear, what was the "mood" of the piece.  Then I asked them to imagine they were creating a movie.  What would be showing on the movie when they heard this music.  We shared two or three examples and then went to the sheets to express our ideas.  Too many examples and students don't think about their own response, but on which response they heard that sounded the best!

This sheet is part of a Primary Writing Prompt Kit that you can find HERE.