Saturday, October 19, 2013

Composer of the Month

I am really trying to bring the composer more to life for my 6th graders. We have talked about them bits here and there and have listened to various pieces throughout their years. In 6th grade, I am doing a composer a month.

For our first composer in September was Beethoven. I read them a little bit of the book "Ludwig Van Beethoven: Getting to know the World's Greatest Composers". I use my raffle tickets as they tell me things they have learned from our readings. (See the post about my raffle tickets and get a template for making them HERE. I tie it to my learning targets (see the post HERE.) I gave a test at the end with some questions about Beethoven and some blank line to write anything they could remember beyond those questions. Instead of making it a percentage, I gave them a raffle ticket for every piece of information they got right and have a separate container for a composer raffle, so their tickets wouldn't overwhelm the regular raffle container. We listened to the 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 9th symphonies The part with the choral singing of Ode to Joy, as well as the Moonlight Sonata, and Fur Elise. We also sang the English words of the Ode to Joy. It was part of our black belt on recorder in 5th grade, so they were already familiar with it. The 5th symphony was one of our extra belts on recorder as well, so those students who went beyond black belt were familiar with it already. Eventually, I'll make my composer tests available.

In October, I'm doing Mozart. I plan to do a special study of Mozart's Opera "the Magic Flute". I know they will really enjoy it.

In November, I plan to do Aaron Copeland. I had the hardest time finding this on Amazon. Strange. I plan to do the Fanfare of the common man and the Hoedown. 

In December, I am going to do Tchaikovsky and highlight the Nutcracker Ballet. I think I will also start George Friederick Handel and highlight the Messiah, since that is so popular in December. I love some of the youtube videos that kids can relate to.. I will find some to post eventually. 

More to come on my composers of the month. 


  1. I have been teaching our autistic son, who we homeschool about classical music and composers for a few months and thought I would give you a few links in case it would help you maybe. They are where I have found several items and additional links that have been quite helpful to me. (Brahms is free to try the series.)
    Also, there's a site called that I downloaded ten or twelve short booklets about a few composers. If you search the site for specific composers, you will find tons of free downloadable digital books whose copyrights have expired but they are still very useful! I actually love the site and look there whenever we start something new. Love your materials on Teachers Pay Teachers. Plan on getting some of the items I found there. Hopefully they will be useful with a kinetic learner. Edwina

  2. Thanks so much for the links! I can use all the help I can get! Good luck with your song. I also have an autistic son, although he is super high functioning and doing very, very well as an adult. I homeschooled one of my children. Hard work but so rewarding.