Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Multimedia Meet the Orchestra Lesson Plan

To introduce your kids to the instruments of the orchestra, here's a simple, multimedia lesson plan that could be used at home or in the classroom. We read Meet the Orchestra by Ann Hayes, Illustrated by Karmen Thompson, aloud, and at each section I played the following links.

Play at the beginning: Orchestra tuning up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfSH1ezevjM

As you read each section (strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, play each) play families: http://www.classicsforkids.com/music/orchestra.asp 
Leave this window open.

As you read each page, play sound clips of each instrument (also leave this window open): http://www.beginband.com/sndclips.shtml

The following are not in the above link, so play these as you come to each instrument.
                Piccolo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzKKg9zv9k4
                Oboe: http://youtu.be/CTo7eU-vSN8?t=9s
                Bassoon: http://youtu.be/s-5FdjENwVg?t=9s
                Bass clarinet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abwZctBvn7U
                Timpani: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUCSKSMVrPo
                Cymbals: http://youtu.be/OdYU7RA-IA4?t=1m35s
                Piano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjyviatSeCY

Then at the end, when the whole orchestra plays, here are two cool clips of orchestras play music from Star Wars.

I also got out some reeds and an old clarinet for the kids to touch. 

And finally, a game to play to test their ears: http://www.thirteen.org/publicarts/orchestra/orchestra03.swf

Edited to Add: Don't know how long this link will be live, but it's more really cool stuff, including riddles and cut-and-paste, from the Arapahoe Philharmonic.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Early Spring Trip to Bluff Lake

One thing I love about living in Colorado is that while "real" spring is far from here, we can go play outside on the scattered nice, warm days in February and March. On a whim the kids and I went to Bluff Lake Nature Center. I planned to collect some water if there was any in the wetland, and to start a project of taking a picture in one spot over time to see the changes. Here are some photos from our trip.

Our chosen spot to document over the seasons

Take a picture of me!

We found a tuft of bunny fur and an owl pellet (at least I *think* that's what it is!)

We collected a vial of water to look at under the microscope. Tons of raccoon prints down by the water! We watched a DVD yesterday about water ecosystems, so some microscope viewing of our local winter water is in order.