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Homeschool Music Curriculum Guides
for Maestro Classics' CDs
Music and Your Curriculum

These homeschool music curriculum guides offer free ideas to assist parents and teachers about integrating Maestro Classics CDs into other areas of their children’s overall learning curriculum.  

Be sure to scroll down to see all the available curriculum guides.

My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music

Homeschool Curriculum Guide
to accompany Maestro Classics'
My Name is Handel CD
Music by Handel • London Philharmonic Orchestra

Buy CD to accompany the My Name is Handel Homeschool Curriculum Guide

    • Kings and Queens:
    • King George I was king of England from 1714 to his death in 1727. He wasn't English (he was German) and in fact was disliked partly for the assumption by his subjects that he didn't even speak English (which, by the end of his reign, probably wasn't true).
    • Learn more about King George with this brief biography and timeline.
    • Here is a portrait of King George I
    • Here's a middle school friendly site about British royalty
    • Check out this word list from Enchanted Learning. All of these are related to castles, kings and queens.
    • Choose ten that you don't know and look them up in the dictionary.
    • Make a word search or crossword puzzle with these words.
    • Here is a list of picture books (fictional and nonfictional) about kings and queens. And you might enjoy this book from Usborne.
    • Check out this website with king and queen paper dolls to print and create!
    • Handel and his musicians performed on a barge floating down the River Thames(site includes history and pictures of the river). A barge, by definition, is "a vessel, usually flat-bottomed and with or without its own power, used for transporting freight, especially on canals." (from www.dictionary.com) Here is a site that describes the different types of 18th and 19th century sailing vessels.
    • Thames barge history
    • Here is a book on boats from DK, in the Eyewitness series.
    • Patronage in Handel's time was how many musicians made a living. It basically was a system of support and sponsorship by royalty, or by an organization such as a church. Musicians, composers, and painters, as well as other artists, were hired and then required to produce for the benefit of their employer.
    • Discuss how this would affect the artistic culture in contrast to the practice of artists and musicians producing for their own enjoyment. What, in your opinion would be the pros and cons to each way of life?
    • Handel and his musicians traveled and played on a barge during the celebration. Can you imagine dozens of musicians crowded onto a boat trying to play? They did it! Let's find out more about boats and how they work:
    • The science of boats- how does a boat float?
    • Video explaining water displacement
    • Here are some fun questions and answers about boats.
    • Experiments:
    • Floating and Sinking(a number of experiments to try)
    • Sinking and floating soda cans
    • Here is a floating explanation and some activities. To watch the video, however, you must have a BrainPop membership
    • Floating Lemons and Sinking Limes
    • Boat crafts
    • Boat coloring pagesand here.
    • Try these projects to learn more about boats:
    • How much weight can your boat float?
    • How to Build a Boat
    • Build a boat that floats!(Pre-K, K)
    • Boat-building challenge pdf (an excellent resource for older kids)
    • How an organ works
    • youtube video (homemade pipe organ)
    • How a flute works
    • a good detailed articleabout flute acoustics
    • make a flute at home
    • Here's another way to make a flute out of PVC pipe
    • How a brass instrument works-
    • Read this brief article to see how brass instruments make sound. (1+)
    • Brass instruments rely heavily on harmonics, along with valves or slides, to create pitches. Every musical note has within it not only the fundamental pitch (the one you recognize as the note being played) but also many other notes above that fundamental. The organization of those other notes, and their relative strengths or weaknesses, give each instrument its unique sound. Brass instruments, in addition, can play notes in the harmonic series (a set pattern of notes beginning with the fundamental) with the same fingerings or slide position. Bugles have no valves to press or slides to move, so a bugle's notes include only those in the harmonic series, beginning with the fundamental pitch "C".
    • To see for yourself harmonics in action, try this experiment. You will need a piano (not a keyboard). First, press down slowly and gently (NOT making a sound with the keys) the following notes in order going up and hold them: middle C, G, C, E, G. Keep them held down! Press the right pedal with your foot and hold it down. Now have someone else play firmly and quickly (loudly!) the C one octave below the middle C you have held down. You should be able to hear all of the notes you have held down ringing as well as the note your friend played! That shows how the bottom note played actually has many different pitches in it and when the other keys are held down, their strings are able to vibrate along with the bottom note! Pretty cool! (1+)
    • If you need help figuring out which notes are which, look at this online keyboard. Middle "C" is the one in the center of a full piano kepboard.
    • Here is a great article that explains further the phenomenon of harmonics and how they relate to brass instruments.
    • Poetry is a type of imaginative writing that uses sound, rhythm and language to express feelings and thoughts, and elicit an emotional response from the reader. Some poems rhyme, but many do not. Explore poetry with the following links and suggestions:
    • Poetry website for kids- lots of links!
    • Find a great poetry unit study that includes different literary devices (such as imagery and personification) here.
    • Use an encyclopedia to learn about these three poets/writers of the 18th century, who were writing around the time that Handel was composing:
    • William Blake
    • Songs of Experience- The Fly
    • Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    • To Nature
    • William Wordsworth
    • I wandered lonely as a cloud
    • youtube reading
    • A series of books on different composers and their lives, beginning in childhood, by Opal Wheeler is a wonderful addition to a composer study. She has written one on Handel. Each one includes a CD and is especially written to be fascinating for children.
    • Here is a list of popular kids' books in England. Many are ones that are popular in America too. Just goes to show that great literature is a treasure anywhere!
    • Write a journal or diary entry by a musician in the patronage of royalty. Think about how it would feel to compose at will for specific occasions, and not based on your own inspiration. Composers under the patronage system were secure in their jobs, but had a "boss" that was often very demanding. Think of a situation that may have occurred and write about it in first person. The website Baroque.org has this to say about patronage:
    • "Any discussion of a baroque composer's artistic philosophy should be tempered, at least slightly, by the reality of their lives. In modern times, artists frequently earn a living producing exactly the kind of art they are moved to create. Accordingly, we often think of the artist-and the degree of his or her artistic inspiration-as the starting point for a work of art. Throughout much of the baroque era, however, composers only earned a living writing music if they were fortunate enough to be on the payroll of a political or religious institution. The musical needs of that institution, therefore, dictated the music the composer produced. Bach wrote the number of cantatas he did, for example, not necessarily because he found the form inspirational, but because of the liturgical demands of the Leipzig church that employed him. When viewed in this light, baroque music can provide a fascinating window into history."

       Research and explore these British painters of the 18th century:

       Thomas Hudson, portraits

       Thomas Gainsborough, portraits and landscapes

       Richard Wilson, landscapes

       Three types of representational (or art that is meant to represent something in a way that is recognizable; the opposite is “abstract art”) paintings are: portraits, landscapes, and still life art

       What is a portrait?  A portrait is an artistic representation of a person, focusing on the face and facial expression.  Portraits can be photographs, paintings, drawings or sculpture.

       Portraits and Portraiture kids’ activities

       interactive portrait site

       portrait PDF activity

       try one!  A wonderful portrait lesson which includes creating emotion with color

       What is a landscape?  A landscape is a artistic rendering of natural scenery, usually in wide view, including mountains, trees, sky, weather, etc.  If figures are included, they are usually small and secondary to the natural world.

       learning about landscapes

       landcape PDF activity

       try one!  Deep Space Sparkle Van Gogh-inspired landscape lesson

       What is a still life?  A still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate objects such as jars, fruit, books, religious symbols, or instruments often arranged by the artist.

       interactive still life site

       Try one!  Still life drawing lesson plan

       This is a great website to explore to see examples of different types of visual art (sculpture, drawing, painting, etc.), the different elements of art (line, tone, color, etc.), and other concepts related to art and design. 



       The Baroque period (1600-1750): “Music which is melodious yet so constructed as to reflect the "perfect order" of the universe: that is the essence of the baroque. In the words of baroque composer and theorist Johann Joseph Fux: ‘A composition meets the demands of good taste if it is well constructed, avoids trivialities as well as willful eccentricities, aims at the sublime, but moves in a natural ordered way, combining brilliant ideas with perfect workmanship.’” (from BaroqueMusic.org)


       well-ordered, proper, royal

       contrasts of dynamics, instrumentation (use of solo and ensemble), and timbre

       the first significant period of organized melody and harmony

       There are many Baroque pieces of music that are recognizable to the average listener.  Baroque pieces are used in weddings, churches, movies, elevators, etc.  See if you recognize any or all of these popular and beautiful works of music (and as you listen, use this listening guide printout to record your observations):

       Pachelbel Canon

       Vivaldi Four Seasons- Spring

       Bach Air on a G String (with scrolling musical score- pretty neat!)

       Bach Brandenburg Concerto #3, 1st mvmt

       A “Random Act of Culture” Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus (an awesome surprise event in the Philadelphia Macy’s!)

       In recent decades musicians and historians have become interested in discovering the sounds of the music as they were produced in the time period in which they were composed.  Thus many recordings and performances are now done on “period” instruments. 

       Listen to this violin blind listening test- old instruments from the Baroque vs. contemporary instruments, judged by famous violinists.

       Look at these pictures of 18th century string instruments made by famous violin makers (Stradivarius violins are valued at up to 5 million dollars each!)

       Portrait gallery of Baroque composers, including Handel, Bach and Scarlatti


       composer page

       here is a wonderful Bach unit study


       composer page

       Handel “Messiah” unit study


       composer page

       The harpsichord is a keyboard instrument with a very unique sound.  Instead of using hammers to hit the strings within, as a modern piano does, it uses small picks to pluck the strings.  This was a very popular instrument during the Baroque period, and is still used today in many performances.  The piano as we know it today had not yet been invented in the 17th century.  Explore these links to hear a harpsichord and learn more about it:

       How it works

       Here’s the old Addam’s Family theme on harpsichord

       Handel wrote many operas in Italian.  Italy was the opera capital of the world in his time.

       Opera began in Italy in the 16th century.  Opera is now written and performed in many different languages, but for a time Italian (being a beautiful and pure language to sing in) was preferred.

       Giulio Cesare is Handel’s most popular opera.  It is an opera seria (or serious opera) and has a tragic story. 

       Listen to these excerpts:

       “V’adoro pupille”

       “Va tacito e nascosto”- The role of Giulio Cesare is sung here by a woman.  Since women were not allowed to perform on stage in this time period- it was considered improper- roles were written for men who sang in a woman’s range.  These roles are now often sung by mezzo-sopranos, who are female singers with richer, darker and slightly lower voices

       “Da tempeste”- With interesting, humorous, and more modern staging.  The fast runs in this aria are called “coloratura” and are very common in Italian opera of this time when music was highly embellished.  It takes a lot of energy and breath control to sing these!



    Archimedes was a great Greek mathematician. His most famous discovery was the Archimedes' principle (named after him, of course) - "that a body immersed in a fluid is subject to an upward force (buoyancy) equal in magnitude to the weight of fluid it displaces. Legend says that Archimedes discovered the principle of displacement while stepping into a full bath. He realized that the water that ran over equaled in volume the submerged part of his body. Through further experiments, he deduced the above mentioned Archimedes' principle. The legend goes further and tells that Archimedes was so excited with his discovery that he hopped out of the bath, and rushed naked into the street yelling triumphantly, "Eureka!" "Eureka!" (Greek word for 'I have found it!). (quote from this site)

Carnival of the Animals

Coming soon!  Carnival of the Animals

Peter and the Wolf

Homeschool Curriculum Guide
to accompany Maestro Classics'
Peter and the Wolf CD
Music by Prokofiev
London Philharmonic Orchestra

Buy CD to accompany the Peter and the Wolf Homeschool Curriculum Guide

Peter and the Wolf has long been one of Prokofiev’s most-loved works. The approachable, yet complex, musical content, alongside the wonderful characters and themes, creates a world rich in message and enjoyable for all ages.  Delve more deeply into the history and background of this story and the composer with the following activities, appropriate for children from Kindergarten through middle school. Approximate minimum grade levels are suggested after each activity, but you know your child best. Many of these can be adjusted to fit the ages and abilities of your child, regardless of age. 


There are many fun and educational websites linked within this study, and while they have all been screened, you as the parent know best what you’d like your children to experience. Please, as with all internet searches, use careful judgment and preview each link first. Buy CD


      The Russian Revolution of 1917 had a significant effect on everyone, including artists and musicians. Prokofiev was concerned about the effect the political unrest in the country would have on his career, as well as interested in seeking career opportunities outside his native country, and in 1918 he decided to travel to the United States. He remained abroad for 20 years, accepting commissions from ballet and opera companies first in the US and then in Europe, performing concerts in many other countries as well.

      After the Revolution, from 1922 to his death in 1953, Joseph Stalin ruled Russia. Everything was controlled by the state, including what art and music was allowed to be created.  In the 1930s the Soviet government created a “Composers’ Union” to keep outside influences out of the music of the Soviet Union and to keep an eye on all of the composers and their work to make sure it was “acceptable.” The government wanted traditional music written, not anything new or different, and the composers needed to keep to Russian themes and elements if they wanted their music to be endorsed by the government, and thereby performed.  Prokofiev had become somewhat more traditional in his composing over the years and after weighing the decision to compromise by sticking with those traditional ideas or be true to some of his more non-traditional musical ideas, did decide to conform to some extent to the Soviet influence. “Peter and the Wolf” certainly fit in with the more traditional style, and was written after Prokofiev returned to his native land in the 1930’s.

      Watch this link of pictures and advertisements from the time of the Russian Revolution. (K+) The song, a Russian patriotic march, is sung by the Russian Army Chorus and has an interesting history, which you can find here.

      What would it be like as an artist or composer to have to follow the government’s rules in order to create? Do you think you would choose to compose what fit in with their orders and therefore be able to stay in your homeland, or move to a place that allowed you freedom to create what you wanted to? Discuss this with your family.  (3+)

      The Disney movie “Anastasia” tells the fictional tale of a girl who is the only surviving member of the Russian royal family after the revolution. (In actuality, no member of the royal family survived.) Rent the movie with your family.  Visit this website to see a family review of the movie. (K+)


    •    Sound is created by vibration. Pluck a stretched rubber band, tap lightly on a glass, blow across a bottle. Each of these make a unique sound through vibrating materials or air, and the vibrations travel to your ear in waves.  Visit this science website to see what a sound wave looks like, do an experiment to see how sound travels then visit “The Soundry” to experiment by creating your own sound wave to see how its shape affects the sound. (2+)
    •    Pitch is determined by how fast the object vibrates- the faster the vibration, the higher the note. Did you ever wonder why adults have lower voices than children? Or why your dad and grandfather have lower voices than your mom and grandmother? Bigger things, or instruments, vibrate more slowly and so have lower sounds than smaller ones. A piccolo sounds higher than a flute, a violin sounds higher than a cello, etc. Peter’s theme, on the upper strings, is higher than the grandfather’s theme, on the bassoon, to show that Peter is younger and smaller than his grandfather.  Wouldn’t it be silly if their sounds were reversed?
    •     Stretch a small rubber band between your fingers and pluck it. Try the same with a longer, thicker rubber band. What do you notice? (K+)
    •    Play on a xylophone. Tap the lowest note and the highest note. Notice the difference in size. (K+)
    •    Sing a siren sound with an “oo” vowel. Lighten your voice and see how high you can go and then slide down to the lowest you can go.  Now have your sibling or a friend try. Then your mom and dad. Who can sing the highest in your family?  The lowest? (K+)
    •    Watch this video to learn about how sound is produced and how it travels (choose the “Study of Sound” video). (2+)
    •    Choose an animal from the story (bird, duck, cat, or wolf) and find out more about it. What kind of animal is it? What are its characteristics?  What does it eat and in what environment does it live?  Draw a picture of it and read books about it. Use the following links to get more information and ideas:

    * Classification information for kids
    * Wolves
    * All about ducks
    * Bird identification game
    * About cats

    •    Prokofiev was a 20th century Soviet composer- many say the best of his time. He was born in a part of Russia which is now an independent country - the Ukraine. He was a child prodigy, much like Mozart, though he was somewhat of a musical rebel and his music wasn’t always accepted immediately! He traveled extensively both for musical reasons and political ones, but his homeland always held a special place in his heart.

    •    Print out this map and trace Prokofiev’s travel route over his 20 years abroad. Use a small sticker or a stamp to mark each location and then number them and connect them with a ruler:
    * Petrograd (St. Petersburg), Siberia, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Paris, London, Berlin, Brussels, Moscow.
    * (Prokofiev certainly performed in many more cities than listed above, and visited many of them more than once. This is just an overview of some of his significant career travels.)

    •    Find out more about the Ukraine and Russia with these activities and links:
    * Cultural links can be found here, including holidays and a traditional Russian recipe. (K+)
    * Visit this webpage for some printable coloring pages of Russian images, including Russian nesting dolls and the balalaika instrument. (K+)
    * You can find printable coloring pages here, including a map and flag of Russia, a Russian home, and Russian foods. (K+)
    * Visit this site to find traditional Ukrainian games, holiday information and a recipe for traditional potato pancakes. (K+)
    * Make your own lapbook of Russia using the resources on this website. Links include counting in Russian, songs and poems of Russia, children’s folk games, animals and plants of Russia, and more. (1+)
    * More Russian resources at “The Homeschool Mom”. (K+)
    * Links to a Russian recipe and Ukrainian songs. (K+)


    •    Choose one of the characters in Peter and the Wolf to portray. Write a monologue (here’s the definition of a monologue) for you to present as your character explaining the story from your perspective. Describe what you see, hear, feel and think. Tell what you think about each of the other characters. Practice your monologue and dramatically read it to your family and friends. (2+)

    •    What if Peter hadn’t caught the wolf? Write a different ending for the story. Use your imagination and make it your own. Explain how you would change the mood of the music to reflect the new ending. Would you change any instruments in any of the themes? Play them slower or faster, softer or louder? Think creatively, like a composer, to add to the drama of the ending you choose. (1+)

    •    Russian and Ukrainian folk stories:

    * The Wolf and the Kids (Ukrainian folk tale)
    * Links to many Russian folk tales
    * Russian nesting dolls (Matryoshka) had their origin with this story.
    * Book links for Russian fairy tales.
    * Another Russian folk tale book can be found here.

    •    Choose a favorite story of your own- pick an instrument for each character. Perhaps make instruments using materials from around your house.  Explain why you think the instruments would match each character. Put on a musical play for family and friends. Use these suggestions or links below for ideas: (2+)

    •    Make instruments of your own:  Instrument-making activities for preschoolers; how to make a “Box Harp;” dozens of instrument-making ideas can be found here including guitars, percussion instruments, flutes and more.

    •    Ideas for stories to use (many can be found in your local library):

    * Beatrix Potter “Squirrel Nutkin”
    * Beatrix Potter “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”
    * “The Story About Ping” by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese
    * “Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson
    * “Knufflebunny” by Mo Willems
    * “Going on a Bear Hunt” (traditional story)
    * “The Little Red Hen” (traditional story)

    •    The Russian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet. You can see the Cyrillic alphabet on this webpage along with the equivalent sounds (or approximate sounds, in some cases) in English.  If you want a challenge, see this puzzle page. Begin at the top left corner, read each word with it’s “clue”. If you follow in order you will make it through the whole Cyrillic alphabet by the end of the page! (Answers are at the end of this unit study.)  (3+)


    Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) was a Russian painter, a contemporary of Prokofiev. He was fascinated with the power that music had over its listeners and thought music was a superior form of art to visual art. He felt that music, since it disappeared once played and you couldn’t “see” it, tapped into the inner emotions and imagination more fully than painting or drawing or sculpture could. Kandinsky moved from representational art (that has a definite image or subject that you can recognize, like this painting) to abstract art (with fewer to no recognizable images, like this painting) as his painting progressed.

    * Get a book of Kandinsky’s art out of the library and copy a painting that you find most interesting. Or look at the paintings on this website for a catalogue of his paintings. (1+)
    * Make a color wheel and learn about primary, secondary, and complementary colors. (There are some activities and information about color wheels and color mixing here and here, and a lesson about complementary colors on the Crayola website.) Then draw or paint something using what you learned about colors. (K+)

    •    Russian and Ukrainian crafts: (K+)

    * Pysanky Ukrainian eggs
    * Egg Matryoshka Dolls
    * Coffee Can Nesting Dolls
    * Faux Faberge Eggs


    •    Many composers in Russia around the time of Prokofiev wanted to create music that sounded very “Russian”. They were very proud of and inspired by their country. They used folk tunes, unusual scales, and techniques of their native land to create compositions that reminded their fellow Russians of the uniqueness of their country. One specific group of these “nationalistic” composers was called the Moguchaya Kuchka- “Mighty Handful”, or “Russian Five”. Their names were Mily Balakirev, Cesar Cui (pronounced kyew-ee), Modest Mussorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Alexander Borodin. They were, in some instances, privately taught and most had other careers prior to, or concurrent with, their musical ones.

    •    Listen to music of any of these composers. Get CDs from the library or a used book store. Here are some good suggestions with which to begin: (K+)

    * Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” - This set of pieces is programmatic music, meaning it was composed to represent actual objects, in this case paintings Mussorgsky saw. Draw a picture while you listen to some of these pieces.
    * Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Russian Easter Overture” -  See if you can identify the instruments as you listen.
    * Borodin, selection from the opera “Prince Igor

    •    The men in the Trio Voronezh on the CD use three Russian folk instruments: the domra, balalaika and the bayan. 

    * The domra is a stringed instrument in the lute family. The most common one has three strings and it is often used to play the lead melody in folk ensembles.
    * The bayan is a type of accordian with buttons instead of a keyboard. See a virtuoso bayan player on this video.
    * The balalaika is a triangular-shaped string instrument also with three strings. There are many sizes of balalaika, from a tiny, seldom-used piccolo instrument to the large bass instrument with an end pin like a cello which is played by a member of the Trio Voronezh. Watch this video to see another balalaika player.

    •    Here’s a website with many instruments to make on your own. (K+)
    •    Russian folk songs/dance videos- Kalinka, Kalinka- Russia army choir, folk song and dance (K+)
    •    Links to other songs/works by Prokofiev- Sarcasms for piano (quite different from Peter and the Wolf, isn’t it?), Romeo and Juliet- ballet scene, March from “Love for Three Oranges”, Symphony #1 “Classical” (K+)
    •    Program music is music that tells a story, or is associated specifically with something outside the music (a painting, character or event). Peter and the Wolf is obviously wonderfully-composed program music. Absolute music, in contrast, is music that was simply written for its own sake, without trying to express anything but the music itself. In visual art, paintings, drawings or sculpture that do not try to represent something specific are called “abstract”. Wassily Kandinsky (mentioned above) thought that art should be able to exist for its own sake - simply for color, line and shape- just like music can. Listen to these examples of program music and absolute music:

    •    Program Music

    * Symphonie Fantastique “March to the Scaffold
    * Vivaldi “4 Seasons”- Winter
    * Holst “The Planets”- Mars, the Bringer of War
    * Eric Whitacre “Cloudburst” Listen to the storm toward the middle and end of this piece.
    * Beethoven Symphony #6, mvt. 4 “Storm
    * Copland, “Hoedown” from “Rodeo

    •    Absolute Music

    * Chopin etude
    * Rachmaninoff “Vocalise” (by a fellow Russian)
    * Mozart Symphony 40
    * Brahms Symphony 1

    •    Each instrument in the symphony orchestra has a unique sound. You hear many of these as “characters” in Peter and the Wolf- Peter’s theme is played by the strings, the cat’s by the clarinet, the duck’s by the oboe, the bird’s by the flute, the grandfather’s by the bassoon, the wolf’s by the french horns, and the hunters’ by the timpani. To study the instruments in the orchestra further, visit these links:  (K+)

    * Orchestra lapbook
    * Arts alive instrument lab - explore the instruments in the orchestra
    * New york phil - interactive site to hear and study instruments and their sounds
    * Dso kids- another listening site for the orchestra with real instrument sounds
    * A quiz on the sounds of the orchestral instruments
    * Currclick musical instrument families cards (free)
    * Montessori materials - instrument and composer cards (fee)
    * phil peter and wolf link (with themes- scroll down to play each character’s theme)


    •    Prokofiev wasn’t just passionate about music, he was also crazy about chess. He followed the world of chess and chess champions very closely and was even famous for once beating a friend of his, famous chess champion Jose Raul Capablanca. Do you know how to play chess? If you don’t, now’s a perfect time to learn:

    * Chess for Kids (This link includes rules of play and printable, make-your-own chess board and pieces.) (2+)
    * Read a little about Prokofiev and his passion for chess on this website. (4+)

The Story of Swan Lake

Homeschool Curriculum Guide
to accompany Maestro Classics'
The Story of Swan Lake CD
Music by Tchaikovsky • Story by Stephen Simon
London Philharmonic Orchestra

Buy CD to accompany The Story of Swan Lake Homeschool Curriculum Guide

    • The story of Swan Lake takes place in a fictional kingdom, ruled by a king and queen. This kind of government is called a "monarchy," defined as an undivided rule by a single person. There are a few places today that still have absolute monarchies, though most have evolved.
    • Here's a brief article on royalty.  Other forms of government include constitutional monarchies (as in Canada), democracies, dictatorships, and constitutional republics, such as the United States.
    • Read this article from Scholastic to learn more about forms of government.
    • Have fun exploring Ben's Guide to U. S. Government which teaches about our form of government. Different levels of information and activities assure understanding by all ages.
    • Check out this word list from Enchanted Learning. All of these are related to castles, kings and queens.
    • Choose ten that you don't know and look them up in the dictionary.
    • Make a word search or crossword puzzle with these words.
    • Here is a list of picture books (fictional and nonfictional) about kings and queens. And you might enjoy this book from Usborne.
    • The Medieval time period was one known for its royalty, castles, and peasants. Find out more about this time period with these books.
    • Choose one or more of these great kings and queens and write a report. Find books form your library or use an encyclopedia. Present it to your family!
    • King Tut (Egypt)
      Alexander the Great (Roman Empire)
      Catherine the Great (Russia)
      Henry VIII (England)
      Queen Elizabeth II (England)
    • Check out this website with king and queen paper dolls to print and create!
    • Ballet
    • Here's an online Ballet Alphabet book with vocabulary and some history.
    • King Louis the 14th of France - King Louis was a dancer himself and established the first ballet school, employing Italian-born composer Jean-Baptiste Lully. Lully was the first influential composer of French opera, as well as being King Louis' favorite composer and his pick for ballet works. Lully is, sadly, famous for stabbing his foot while conducting, an injury which later caused his death due to gangrenous infection.
    • Here is a biography of Lully with a list of his compositions and here are a couple of paintings of Lully. Quite the hairdo, isn't it? (Probably a wig, like most men in the royal court wore)  See the music section for excerpts from Lully's ballets.
    • Louis XIV was known as the Sun King, the nickname coming from his role as Apollo in a court ballet. The King danced in many ballets in his time.  Here are some portraits of Louis XIV. Royalty often hired artists to paint them in various events and poses. From the artwork you can see how richly Louis lived!  Sun King paper doll
    • Here is a biography about Louis XIV which includes his daily schedule, artists and musicians he employed, and his favorite things to do, as well as links to books for more research. *This does include his romantic life, though it is a tame version. Please, parents, read and relay information but don't let your children read this unmonitored.*
    • Let's learn about swans!
    • Swans are big beautiful white birds with black bills and feet. Learn about tundra swans at this website, and trumpeter swans here.
    • Draw a swan at this website.
    • Did you ever wonder how birds can fly? We know they have feathers, which no other animals have, and hollow bones, which make them light. But the true secret to birds' ability to fly is a concept called "The Bernoulli Principle", which has to do with air movement and air pressure.
    • Watch this quick video to see something air pressure can do with a ping pong ball.
    • Here is a video explanation of the Bernoulli Principle.
    • Here is a pdf lesson plan that explains the Bernoulli principle and includes and experiment and project.
    • Here's another experiment you can do to demonstrate this principle.
    • Here's a fun project that demonstrates air pressure with a balloon hovercraft.
    • The prince gets a crossbow for a gift and goes out to hunt with it. Crossbows were a huge step up in weaponry when they were first invented in China.
    • Watch this video to find out more about crossbows.
    • Leonardo da Vinci designed a giant crossbow to be used in wars. Take a look at this picture! Could you imagine if one of those were ever made and used? Design your own invention, label it, and tell your family what it would be used for, and who would use it.  Learn a bit about Leonardo da Vinci here.
    • Make your own crossbow with household objects. Follow the directions on this website or this one. Set up small targets in the backyard and see how you do! Make sure you use safety procedures so no one gets hurt.
    • Ballet dancers must be in excellent physical shape. They are very conscious of their diet and nutrition, as well as the importance of keeping physically fit. Ballet takes a lot of energy, hard work and practice! Let's learn about fitness and nutrition:
    • Nutrition- what we eat is important to maintain a healthy body. Here are some games, websites, and coloring pages to teach you more about how to eat well:  coloring pages;  Blast off;  Nutrition games; Food Pyramid- explore how to eat healthy!
    • Keeping fit with exercise is the other piece to the healthy body puzzle. Explore these place to learn more about keeping fit:
    • Kidnetic is a great website with tons to explore related to fitness for kids!
    • Presidential active lifestyle challenge
    • Active game suggestions
    • Here are some great ABC exercise cards. We use these during our circle time. Print them out, laminate them, and then have each child choose a couple and spread them all out on the floor. Spend 20 seconds doing each exercise chosen. So fun!
    • Here is an age-graded list of activities for kids
    • Hand Jive!
    • A kid-friendly dance workout
    • Physical education information and lesson plans- tons of ideas and games here!



  • GEOGRAPHY CURRICULUM GUIDE (here's an interactive mapmaker page to use for all of your geography work)-

    • Russia, the home of composer Piotr Illyich Tchaikovsky, lies partly in Europe and partly in Asia. It is the largest country in the world.
    • Enchanted Learning has plenty of activities and projects including mapwork, flags, and language.
    • Here's a lesson on the Russian language, which uses a Cyrillic alphabet.
    • Older children can explore this timeline of Russian culture.
    • Make your own lapbook of Russia using the resources on this website. Links include counting in Russian, songs and poems of Russia, children's folk games, animals and plants of Russia, and more. (1+)
    • Learn more about the Kremlin, the historic central fortified complex in Moscow. Explore this website and then draw pictures of some of these interesting structures.
    • More Russian resources at "The Homeschool Mom". (K+)
    • Here is a list of children's books about Russia from Amazon
    • Ballet is a French form of dance formalized during the time of King Louis XIV. Let's learn about France (PreK+)!
    • France is also on the continent of Europe. Purchase and play the game "10 Days in Europe" to learn more about, and practice, your European Geography.
    • Play this online game to test your European Geography knowledge
    • Here is a French game called Petanque. Play it with your family or friends!
    • Choose one of these photos of places in France and try to copy it with art materials. Use pen and ink, watercolors, pastels- anything you have on hand.
    • Read about France on this website.
    • Print out this map of France. Get out an atlas and label the capital (Paris), the neighboring countries, major rivers and bodies of water, and geographical features that are important.
    • Find out more about King Louis XIV's enormous residence, the Palace of Versailles, at this website. The Interactive Map on the right sidebar is especially interesting!
    • Print out the flag and color it in. France has red, white and blue in their flag just like we do. Read about the meaning of the colors in this article. Not everyone agrees what the colors mean!
    • France is famous for its elegant and creative cuisine. Explore this website with your parents and find a couple of recipes to try. Make a full French meal, including appetizer, main course, and dessert. Listen to Debussy or Ravel CDs while you eat.
    • Explore these books to learn more about France:
    • Here is a list of children's books set in France.
    • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit- a wonderful chapter book about a German Jewish family that has to escape Hitler's rule. They eventually end up in France and learn the language and culture.


    • Swan Maidens appear in differing forms and with different labels in fairy tales and legends from around the world. Usually in these stories they are "shape-shifters" and can change back and forth from swan to human form, though they are often limited as to when they can change, just like in "Swan Lake".
    • Here is an animated movie version of Swan Lake: The Swan Princess
    • This is a link to swan maiden stories from around the world, including Sweden, Romania and Japan.
    • Read aloud The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B White. It's a classic!
    • Read the story of The Ugly Duckling.
    • Make up a story about a king and queen and something that happens in their kingdom. Maybe there is a dragon terrorizing their land, or a terrible wizard casts a spell on the princess or prince.
    • Write a play to go along with the story; dress up, make a set, and put on the play for family and friends.
    • Make puppets and put on a puppet show of the story you wrote.
    • Edgar Degas is perhaps most famous for painting ballerinas in performances and rehearsals. He painted many other subjects, but his ballet works have always been his most popular.
    • Here are two websites to explore to learn more about Degas and his ballet paintings.
    • Here is a little about Degas' sculpture "Little Dancer, Age 14".
    • Here is a basic watercolor project of a ballerina to try on your own.
    • Matisse also created some paintings of dancers (see them here and here: includes some rather abstract nudity, use discretion). What words would you use to describe each artist's rendering of dancers? Compare and contrast them using your observations of colors, style, composition, etc.
    • Find an interactive activity here (halfway down the page) to learn more about Matisse and his work.
    • Later in life, Matisse turned to cutting and collage to create art due to failing health. Here are two lesson plans for an art projects inspired by Matisse's collage art:
    • Deep Space Sparkle
    • Art House
    • Ballet has five basic foot positions. You can find them here and try them out yourself! Some require great flexibility and balance!
    • You can create more crafts here:
    • Origami swan
    • Kid crafts and art:
    • Swan coloring pages
    • Ballet coloring pages
    • Paper plate sun craft (for Louis XIV, The Sun King)
    • Foam sun craft
    • Ballet music
    • Read a little about Jean-Baptiste Lully, King Louis XIV's favorite court composer, above in the history section or find some facts and excerpts here. He was a master of the French Baroque style, even though he was originally from Italy.
    • Lully- excerpt from "Ballet de la Nuit" (Ballet of the Night)
    • Excerpt and dance from "Entree d'Apollon" (Entrance of Apollo) which is a section of dance that would have been danced by Louis XIV.
    • Another of Tchaikovsky's ballets is the Nutcracker, perhaps the most well-loved ballet of all time. Tchaikovsky himself did not like his music all that much; he was his own worst critic!
    • Learn about the Nutcracker and Tchaikovsky at these links.
    • Try to find a performance of the Nutcracker in your town at Christmastime. Often they will have shortened educational shows appropriate in length even for young children, and open to homeschool groups.
    • Here's an article with tips to help in bringing children to enjoy a ballet.
    • Here are a few other musical excerpts from ballets by different composers. Which do you like best? Are there any you don't like at all? Why or why not?
    • Ravel, "Bolero"
    • Stravinsky, "The Rite of Spring" (This is the tame version from Disney's Fantasia. The original ballet subject can be quite graphic and not always suitable for children. Focus on the music, not the video.) Can you imagine dancing to this? Stravinsky was very cutting edge and pushed the boundaries of music and dance.
    • Copland, "Appalachian Spring"
    • Here are some video links to Swan Lake ballet scenes:
    • Great Chinese State Circus
    • Kirove Ballet
    • Beautiful scene from Act 2
    • And just for fun, here's a link to a figure skater skating to the main theme of Swan Lake. Beautiful!
    • Here is a list of children's books about ballet
    • Royal balls were very big, important events. There would have been a lot of people gathered to hear the prince announce his choice for a bride.
    • If there were 500 people at the ball and 30% of them were single women hoping to be chosen, 40% of them were older noblemen and women, 15% of them were servants, and the rest were young men of the kingdom, how many of each group were there? If each guest had 19 appetizers and at the end of the ball there were 125 left, how many did the chef make overall? If the ball began at 3:30 p.m. and the last guest left at 1:20 a.m. the next morning, how long did the party last?
    • Here are some fun castle-themed online games to enjoy:
    • Castle Defense game at Cool Math 4 Kids
    • Computation Castle game
    • Castle Destroyer geometry game
    • Multiplication castle fact practice
    • Learn to play chess- a game of kings and queens, conquest and surrender. And great for the mind!
    • Here is an online chess game.
    • Chess for Kids (This link includes rules of play and printable, make-your-own chess board and pieces.) (2+)
    • (Answers to above math problems: 150 single women, 200 older men and women, 75 servants, 75 young men; 9625 appetizers made overall; the ball was 9 hours and 50 minutes long)


The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Homeschool Curriculum Guide
to accompany Maestro Classics'
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Music by Dukas
London Philharmonic Orchestra

Buy CD to accompany The Sorcerer's Apprentice Homeschool Curriculum Guide

    • Fritz was the Sorcerer's Apprentice. An apprentice is a student learning under a professional in a specific line of work. Apprenticeships have been around for thousands of years, often with fathers or grandfathers passing on their knowledge and expertise of a certain skill (blacksmithing or woodworking, for example). In other circumstances, a teenaged boy would be sent to live with a tradesman and learn a trade that would eventually become his career. This meant cheap labor for the tradesman, and education for the youth. It was a win-win situation!
    • If you could apprentice under someone in any career, what would it be and why?
    • Apprenticeships are not as common now as they used to be. Why do you think that's the case? Do you think careers are better learned as an apprentice or through schooling as we have it today? Why or why not? Once you have discussed this a bit with your family, try to argue from the other perspective.
    • Maybe you would like to try being an apprentice in a career that interests you. Kidprentice is a website that attempts to match up motivated kids with career professionals in their area. Check it out!
    • In a dark part of American history, a time ruled by fear of witchcraft and the supernatural, a place called Salem, Massachusetts, responded to fears by trying many people accused of witchcraft in a court of law, and executing some who were found guilty. Learn more about this time with these resources (4+):
    • National Geographic's interactive site (for older children)
    • Discovery's site has interactive historical information and teacher tips and resources.
    • The Crucible is a play about the Salem Witch Trials by Arthur Miller. Here is a link to the summary of the play (7+).
    • Read The Witch of Blackbird Pond, about a girl who moves to a Puritan community in Connecticut in the 1600's, and is in danger of being branded a witch because of her differences. Here is a link to a webquest to explore this time period and the story in more depth (5+).


    • The brooms worked for the Sorcerer to bring water to the well. Water is necessary for life on earth and it is the only substance that occurs naturally in nature in solid, liquid and gas forms. Let's learn more about it (PreK+)!
    • Learn about the physical properties of water:
    • Drag and Drop Solids, Liquids and Gases game
    • The changing state of water.
    • Movement of Water Molecules
    • For older children, an animated lesson on how water molecules bond
    • Water cycle links:
    • Here is an animated diagram to explore.
    • An animated explorationof the water cycle (hydrological cycle) and other things
    • Games:
    • Here's an animated word scramble game
    • A water cycle animated game.
    • A couple fun, interactive gameson water and the water cycle
    • An interactive matching game
    • Reader's theater- there are more characters than you will have, as it was made for classroom use, but you could adjust it to fit your family (3+).
    • Here is a hands-on water wheel project.
    • Experiments:
    • Ice Melt or Overflow
    • Here is a link with experiments for older children (4+).
    • This video will teach you about the water cycle.
    • A Water Cycle song to learn for little ones.
    • A downloadable water cycle image
    • While stories of working brooms with arms and legs and magical incantations may be only fantasy, there was a time when "alchemists" tried to do magical things like make gold out of lead. In medieval times, there was little understanding of physics and chemistry, and the scientific method (here is a video on the scientific method) had not yet been formulated. Alchemists never succeeded in turning any common metal into gold, but they learned a lot in the process of trying! In China, alchemists even discovered gunpowder with one of their experiments!
    • Read about alchemy in this article. What are the other things alchemists tried to find or accomplish (5+)?


    • Dukas was a French composer. Let's learn about France (PreK+)!
    • Purchase and play the game "10 Days in Europe" to learn more about, and practice, your European Geography. Europe was the center of Western art and music in the times of Dukas and Goethe, and still plays a main role in the development and celebration of the arts.
    • Play this online game to test your European Geography knowledge
    • Here is a French game called Petanque. Play it with your family or friends!
    • Choose one of these photos of places in France and try to copy it with art materials. Use pen and ink, watercolors, pastels- anything you have on hand.
    • Read about France on this website.
    • Print out this map of France. Get out an atlas and label the capital (Paris), the neighboring countries, major rivers and bodies of water, and geographical features that are important.
    • Print out the flag and color it in. France has red, white and blue in their flag just like we do. Read about the meaning of the colors in this article. Not everyone agrees what the colors mean!
    • France is famous for its elegant and creative cuisine. Explore this website with your parents and find a couple of recipes to try. Make a full French meal, including appetizer, main course, and dessert. Listen to Debussy or Ravel CDs while you eat.
    • Julia Child was a famous American chef who was educated in France and championed French cooking, making it accessible to everyone. She was quite a character and had a very recognizable voice. Here's a video of her cooking show in which she is teaching how to make omelettes.
    • Goethe, the poet who wrote the version of the Sorcerer's Apprentice most similar to the story on our CD, was from Germany (PreK+).
    • Read about Germany at this website.
    • Go to this website about castles in Germany. Choose one that interests you and learn about it!
    • Why was it built?
    • When was it built?
    • What was its purpose?
    • Try to recreate it with play doh or modeling clay.
    • Tell everything that you learned to someone in your family.
    • Here is a German flag and some activities to go along with it.
    • Print out this map of Germany, get out your atlas, and label the capital (Berlin), the neighboring countries, major rivers, and any other geographical features you find.
    • Make some German food! Find some recipes on this website such as german sausage, potato pancakes, and apple dumplings. Have your meal with some Schubert, Beethoven or Wagner CDs playing in the background.


    • Goethe was a very well-known German poet and playwright in the 18th century.
    • Read the following two poems by Goethe, then listen to the classical songs (lieder [pronounced LEE-der] in German) that Mozart and Schubert wrote to those texts (1+).
    • The Violet is about a little flower who falls in love with a shepherdess as she's in the field. But the shepherdess, not seeing it, steps on the violet, crushing it. Poor little violet!
    • Here's the song by Mozart
    • The Erlking is an eerie song about a father and a boy traveling on horseback through the woods. The boy is ill and keeps seeing a vision of the Erlking (and evil spirit) trying to get him. In the end the boy is taken by the Erlking and dies in his father's arms.
    • Here is a video of this song by Schubert. Notice the differences in the singers voice for each character- the father, boy, narrator and Erlking.
    • Write a poem in the style of Goethe. Write in a story format with narrator, like the Sorcerer's Apprentice story, "The Erlking", or "The Violet". Try to use words that convey strong emotion. Use this site's thesaurus to find powerful and descriptive words (4+).
    • Public speaking/dramatic reading- Practice reading one of the two Goethe poems above, either "The Violet" or "The Erlking". Read it until you know it well enough to show the strong emotion in your voice and facial expression. Present it to your family as a dramatic reading. Use different voices for each character (3+)!
    • Can brooms really sprout arms and legs and help with household chores? I bet your mom wishes they could! In literature, writers use personification to give human-like qualities to inanimate objects. In the poem, "Wind and Window Flower", Robert Frost wrote, "The wind...sighed upon the sill." We know that the wind doesn't really sigh, but it adds life to the poem and we understand what the wind seems like to the narrator when Frost uses personification. Here are some more poems with personification (3+). See if you can find the examples within them:
    • From the Shore, by Carl Sandburg
    • Young Sea, by Carl Sandburg
    • Under a Telephone Pole, by Carl Sandburg
    • A Vagabond Song, by Bliss Carman
    • The morns are meeker than they were, by Emily Dickinson
    • Now write your own examples of personification in a poem or story.
    • The Sorcerer's Apprentice learned a hard lesson about the consequences of laziness, and getting involved in things you don't understand. This story has a "moral", or a character lesson, that the actions of the apprentice teach us. There are many stories with a moral that have been told and retold throughout history (PreK+)).
    • "Aesop's Fables" is a collection of stories from the 5th century BC which originated in Greece. There is some disagreement about who wrote them. Some say it was a Greek slave named Aesop, others say he didn't exist and that the fables were written by numerous others of the time period. But regardless of who wrote them, Aesop's Fables have been around for a long time, highlighting lessons and morals for all of us.
    • The Ant and the Grasshopper is another story with a moral about laziness. How is the laziness of the Sorcerer's Apprentice and the Grasshopper different?
    • Here is a collection of Aesop's Fables from an art school. Students over the years have illustrated the stories in wonderful ways! Explore the stories and find one whose illustrations you really like. Describe the artwork.
    • Choose a fable to illustrate yourself and display the art in your home.
    • Now write your own fable. Make sure you include a lesson for readers to learn from the actions of your characters!
    • There are other stories that share a similar theme with the Sorcerer's Apprentice, a theme that highlights the exploits of an amateur trying to use magic or science that he doesn't understand. Check out these stories from your library and read them for yourself. Compare and contrast them with the Sorcerer's Apprentice.
    • Strega Nona (PreK+)
    • King Midas (PreK+)
    • Anansi and the Magic Stick (PreK+)


    • Watch the movie Fantasia with your family. (There are two versions, the original and Fantasia 2000) (PreK+)
    • Walt Disney, the creator of Fantasia, revolutionized the movie industry with his animation.
    • Here is a biography of Walt Disney
    • Here is an article about the animation steps necessary to make a movie such as Fantasia
    • Check out some of these animation books from your library and learn about the history of cartoons like Fantasia, and how they are made. You can even find some free software to try your own hand at animation. Or here's an online place to make animated clips (2+)
    • Stop Motion animation uses a camera and a lot of time moving around figures, or clay, to get a story in film. Here is a Star Wars Lego example of a stop-motion animation story.
    • These books will teach you how to make your own stop motion animation.
    • Klutz animation book
    • The Art of Stop Motion Animation
    • Make a flip book! A flip book is a very simplistic example of traditional animation, the kind used in Fantasia. Watch this video to learn how to make your own flip book using a pen and index cards (2+).
    • Here's a drawing website with some really fun characters. Use one of these in a flip book!
    • Here's a step by step guide to creating your own cartoon characters
    • A diorama is a scenic representation with figures and a background. Make a diorama out of a shoebox, cardboard (from a cereal box, for example) and paints. Try to recreate a scene from The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Go to the craft and art site Made By Joel to see examples of simple figures made from cardboard and paper clips (PreK+).
    • Dukas was from France and lived at the time of the following artists. Choose one or two and study their art. Get books out of the library about them and the techniques they used (PreK+).
    • Paul Cezanne
    • Claude Monet
    • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
    • Henri Rousseau
    • Paul Gauguin
    • Georges Seurat
    • Paul Signac
    • Many of these artists were Impressionists. They painted in a way that gave an "impression" of objects or scenes, but did not appear realistic, especially when viewed up close. Many of their paintings were known for the way they gave a luminous, or light-producing, effect.
    • Here are two lesson plans for Impressionist-style art projects (3+).
    • Monet style painting
    • Impressionist landscapes


    • Did you ever get so frustrated with something you wrote or drew that you crumpled it up and threw it out? Paul Dukas was very critical of his own work and actually destroyed a number of his own compositions! He is known not only as a composer but also as a music critic. His opinions and critiques were very well-respected within the music community.
    • Dukas had great skill as an orchestrator. Orchestration is the process of arranging a piece of music to be played by an orchestra, deciding which instruments should play which part. Should the melody be played on a trumpet or a clarinet? Should the background be strings or woodwinds? What instrument best fits the mood of this section? Visit this website to try your hand at orchestration. Click on the "Orchestration Station" button on the right (1+).
    • Here is the First Movement of Dukas' Piano Sonata in E-flat minor
    • Watch this video of a group playing the Brass Fanfare from La Peri, by Dukas
    • The period of time from roughly 1800 to 1900 is known as the Romantic Period in classical music. This is not the definition of "romantic" having to do with love, but is related to Romanticism in art, which emphasized strong emotion and imagination. Music written during this time often was programmatic, or based on something other than the music- like a story, poem or piece of art, and pushed past many of the boundaries of previous time periods. Different types chords were used, the amount of instruments and dynamics increased, and pieces became longer.
    • Read this article to find out more about the Romantic Period and see a list of Romantic composers (4+).
    • Listen to some more Romantic pieces on this website.
    • Dukas used certain musical themes to depict events or characters in the story. The Maestro discusses many of these on the CD, such as the water theme or the appearance of the Sorcerer.
    • Composers use musical themes in many different ways. They can be very creative about how they change them to produce different effects or moods. Changing a few notes can make a happy theme sound sinister or sad, doubling the speed can evoke a panicky feeling, or make a slow theme sound more joyful. Playing it with a different instrument changes the feeling of the theme (1+).
    • Play around with this online keyboard. Come up with a short theme of your own, maybe one inspired by your little brother, or your pet, or a hard time with a math test. Then play it with different instrument. How does it sound now? Play it faster, or slower. Experiment with the theme as much as your imagination will allow!
    • The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a piece of music called a symphonic poem. Symphonic poems (also called tone poems or sound poems) are programmatic, meaning they are descriptive, either of an image or a story. Many other composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries wrote symphonic poems. Here are some examples (PreK+):
    • Richard Strauss, Ein Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony)- depicts the experience of climbing a mountain in the Alps. Close your eyes and imagine climbing a mountain. What do you see, smell, hear and feel? Draw a picture to go along with the music.
    • Franz Liszt, Prometheus Pt 1Pt 2 - Prometheus is based on the Greek mythological figure of the same name. You can find the story of Prometheus here.
    • Respighi, The Pines of Rome- depicts pine trees in different parts of Rome during different times of day
    • Here are some websites to explore instruments of the orchestra (PreK+):
    • New York Philharmonic
    • Arts Alive
    • San Francisco Symphony
    • Here are some free Musical Instrument Curriculum Cards to print and laminate





Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Homeschool Curriculum Guide
to accompany Maestro Classics'
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel CD
Story by Virginia Lee Burton • Music by Stephen Simon
London Philharmonic Orchestra

Buy CD to accompany Mike Mulligan Guide

Stories and music can create exciting worlds that wait to be discovered. The connections made when we listen to music and well-crafted stories and then let our imaginations branch out beyond just words and pitches can tie together all of our experiences across all topics. The timeless story of Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, set to wonderful music by Stephen Simon, can take us on many mini-journeys as we explore the ways we can teach and learn alongside of our children.

Use the following ideas, with children ranging in age from preschool to middle school, to add depth to the story and bring heightened understanding of the music. Approximate grade levels are indicated in parentheses after each activity. You, as the parent, know your children best and should adjust activities accordingly.

*As with all internet sites, please preview the included links before allowing your children access to them.*


    MaryAnn was in danger of becoming ‘obsolete’, or out of date, when electric and diesel steam shovels came along. Ask your mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, what devices they used when they were younger that we no longer use. What technological advances have been most useful to them and which ones did they have difficulty getting used to? Write down what you find out and give it to them as a gift. (2+)

    Read about the Industrial Revolution in a history encyclopedia or in one of these links: How Stuff Works

    How stuff works Steam Engines and the Industrial Revolution inventors of the industrial revolution. Retell in your own words what happened during that time. (3+)

    MaryAnn dug the great canals, among other things. What is a canal? Read about the Panama Canal The Panama Canal: The Story of how a jungle was conquered and the world made smaller (Wonders of the World Book) and see this animated link to find out Panama Canal Authority how it works (3+)

    Use salt dough Salt Dough Recipe to make two landmasses connected by an isthmus Yahoo Dictionary in a deep metal oven tin. Let it dry overnight. Add water to the areas around the salt-dough land. Notice how long it would take to travel around the entire landmass by boat to get from one side to another. Now chisel a path through the isthmus. How would this change transportation of goods to trade? (Pre-K+) 


    How a steam shovel works:

    Here is a detailed explanation about how steam engines work.

    See an animated picture of how the first steam engine worked.

    Watch this video to see how a steam shovel like MaryAnn works.

    Here is an interactive coloring page for little ones and one to print out.


    Composer Stephen Simon used Irish, or Uilleann, bagpipes and a distinctly Irish-sounding melody to create the theme for Mike Mulligan. Look up Ireland on a map or globe. Describe where it is: the continent, surrounding bodies of water, neighboring countries. (1+)

    Research the climate and landscape of Ireland. Why is it called the “Land of 40 Shades of Green” and the “Emerald Isle”?

    Explore this website for fun things to do with young ones including coloring pages, recipes and facts about Ireland. (PreK+)


    A machine is a device designed to reduce the effort to perform a task. What’s a task that you do on a regular basis? Design a machine to help you reduce the effort needed to complete your task. Write about your machine and draw a picture of it. (2+)

    “I close my eyes and picture
    The emerald of the sea From the fishing boats at Dingle
    To the shores of Dundee
    I miss the river Shannon
    and the folks at Skipperdee
    The moorlands and the meadows
    With their forty shades of green.” (From “Forty Shades of Green” by Johnny Cash)

    Write a poem describing a place that you love - maybe a place you go on vacation, your home, or another special place in your life. Begin with “I close my eyes and picture… ” (2+)


    “40 Shades of Green” collage - Ireland has been called the “Land of 40 Shades of Green”. Use mixed media to create a collage of shades of green- fabric, yarn, paper, markers, glitter, paint, tissue paper, beads, etc. (PreK+)

    Virginia Lee Burton was unusual as an author/illustrator in that she created all of the illustrations for her books before ever adding words. Create a story of your own completely in pictures. Add the words last. (1+)

    Mike Mulligan “recycled” MaryAnn by putting her to work as the furnace for the new town hall. Recycle materials from around your house to create one of the vehicles mentioned in the story: train, boat, automobile, or plane. (various levels of difficulty from PreK+)

    Milk carton galleon
    Box sailboat
    Car template
    Speed eraser cars
    Train steam engine template
    Cork train
    Egg carton train
    Double flap glider
    Mini biplane

    A town hall houses the local government offices and personnel in a town or city. Build a town hall out of blocks, clay or popsicle sticks. (PreK+)

    Using play sand, playdough or clay, dig your own town hall cellar. Make your corners “neat and square”! (PreK+)

    Purchase some of these paper dolls to explore the dress of the Irish people. (PreK+)


    All sound is created by vibration. Stretch a rubber band between your fingers and pluck it. Watch it vibrate. Shorten the rubber band. How does the sound change? Lengthen it, make it tauter. What happens to the sound now? (PreK+)

    Blow across the opening of an empty soda or water bottle until it makes a sound. The air inside the bottle vibrates and creates a pitch. What happens if you put an inch of water in the bottle? Two inches? Fill it halfway and try again. Explore this website to see how and why this works.(PreK+)

    Bagpipes are reed instruments that make sound in a way similar to the way an oboe does. The reeds inside the instrument vibrate when air is forced through them and the pitch is changed by covering and uncovering the holes on the chanter to make the vibrating tube longer or shorter. Explore this website to read how Scottish bagpipes work and see each part of the instrument. Irish, or Uillleann, bagpipes work in a similar way but use a bellows to fill the bag with air instead of a blowpiece. Watch this video to see a man playing the Irish bagpipes. Notice how his right arm is pumping air into the instrument, his left arm is keeping pressure on the air bag to force air through the reeds and make the pitch, and his hands are changing pitches with the chanter. (1+)

    Make a double reed instrument with a drinking straw. Check out this site or this video for instructions. (PreK+)

    Why do instruments sound different from each other? Most sounds are composite sounds, meaning they are made of many different tones combined into one. Our ears don’t hear these tones as different notes, but instead we hear the complete composite sounds as having unique qualities- like the difference between a violin and a trombone, or the bagpipes and a flute. These unique composite sounds also make it possible for us to recognize differences between people’s voices. Each note we hear has a fundamental pitch (the one we hear as the note being played) and many other parts called “harmonics” above that note. Each harmonic has its own personality, so to speak, and depending on how much of each harmonic is heard, the quality of the note changes. Visit The Soundry and play around with each harmonic. Notice how the sound is different with each change you make. (2+)

    Other Irish songs/performers to experience (PreK+)-

    Celtic Woman singing “Danny Boy”
    Orla Fallon singing “Down By the Sally Gardens”
    ”The Irish Washerwoman” Chanticleer singing “Dulaman” by Irish composer Michael McGlynn
    River Dance Irish dancers

    Stephen Simon uses many different tunes to musically illustrate parts of the story. Listen to the CD track 3 to hear examples explained by the composer himself. Choose one of your favorite picture books and decide what tunes you could use to represent certain parts of the story. Put on a show for your family with one person reading the story while you hum the tunes in the background or play them on an instrument. (1+)

    “Program Music” is the term used for music that tells a story or creates a specific picture or idea using sounds. Other pieces of program music are Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals, Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, and Dukas’ The Sorceror’s Apprentice. Get these CDs out of the library and listen to any of these pieces while trying to picture the story in your mind. Illustrate part of the story as you listen. How does the composer use the instruments to represent characters, action or ideas? (1+)


    MaryAnn dug as much in a day as one hundred men could dig in a week. If she dug 5 tons of dirt in a day, how many pounds would each of the hundred men have dug in a week? What about 8 tons? 9.5 tons?

    MaryAnn dug the town hall cellar with four corners neat and square. What are those “square” angles called? If all four angles are square, then the opposing sides of the cellar are related in what way? What about the adjacent sides?

    If the cellar is a square and one wall is 25 feet long, what is the perimeter of the cellar room? How much carpet would they need for the cellar (*hint - find the area*)?

    If MaryAnn dug a cellar that was 13 feet deep, 30 feet long and 24 feet wide, how many cubic feet of dirt did she dig? What if the cellar was 15 by 40 by 20?

    Math answers -

    5 tons = 10,000 lbs. Divide by 100 men. Each man dug 100 lbs. of dirt in a week.
    8 tons = 16,000 lbs. Divide by 100 men. Each man dug 160 lbs. in a week.
    9.5 tons = 19,000 lbs. Divide by 100 men. Each man dug 190 lbs. in a week.

    Square angles are called “right” angles. If all four angles are square, the opposing sides are “parallel” and the adjacent sides are “perpendicular” to one another.

    If the cellar is a square and each side is 25 feet long, the perimeter of the cellar is 100 ft. (side x 4).
    The area (amount of carpet needed) would be 25 ft. x 25 ft., or 625 sq. ft.

    If MaryAnn dug a cellar 13 x 30 x 24 (b x h x w), then she dug 9,360 cu. ft.
    If the cellar was 15 x 40 x 20, she dug 12,000 cu. ft.

The Tortoise and the Hare

Homeschool Curriculum Guide
to accompany Maestro Classics'
The Tortoise and the Hare CD
Music by Stephen Simon • Story adapted by Bonnie Ward Simon
London Philharmonic Orchestra

Buy CD to accompany Maestro Classics' The Tortoise and the Hare Homeschool Curriculum Guides


    • Ancient Greece has had great influence on the world as we know it today, from our language, to our architecture, to our food, and more. Find out more about Ancient Greece at these websites:
    • Ancient Greece - many links to explore: history, crafts, religion, etc.
    • A fun interactive site with games, facts, and activities.
    • Explore geography, games, clip art and more at Mr. Donn's Greece site.
    • A myth is another type of traditional story made up to explain something. While fables usually explain something about human nature and have a moral, myths attempts to explain a phenomenon in nature, often using gods as characters. Ancient Greek myths give us a window into the world of that time period. Learn more about Greek myths and Greek heroes with these resources:
    • Mr. Donn has a Greek God page with lots of links to follow.
    • D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths is a wonderful illustrated resource to get from your library or for purchase.
    • Enchanted Learning has a printable book with worksheets about Ancient Greece, the Greek language, the Olympics, and Greek myths
    • Historians believe that the first Olympic games, athletic competitions between city-states in ancient Greece, were played in the 8th century BC, in honor of the Greek god Zeus. Only male youths were allowed to play and the sole activity was running in the earliest games. Later the games included other events such as chariot racing, wrestling, and long jump, among others. Although interest began growing before the end of the 19th century, the Modern Olympics began in 1896 and were played in Athens, Greece. Learn more about the Olympic games at these websites, and find activities to complete as well.
    • Enchanted Learning history (includes locations of modern games from 1896 to 2016)
    • Beijing 2008 opening ceremony drummer's performance video
    • Host your own Olympics! eHow Olympics activities for kids; Olympic Games at home.
    • Olympic printables: a treasure trove of activities, crafts, games and links; Olympic printables; worksheets and printables for Winter and Summer Olympics

    • The tortoise in the story is a REPTILE, while the hare is a MAMMAL. What other animals are in the story? Use the resources below to classify them (organize them into groups).
    • Scientists classify, or group, animals based on what characteristics they have in common. The classification categories (from most general to most specific) are: Kingdom (such as Animals or Plants), Phylum (such as Chordates or Arthropods), Class (such as Mammals or Aves), Order (such as Marsupials), Family, Genus, Species. The scientific name of an animal includes its genus and species, and sometimes subspecies, and is in Latin. Explore the Animal Kingdom with these fun links, games and lesson plans:
    • Here is a clearly presented and fun video from Brain Pop on Animal Classification
    • Sheppard Software has many animal games on their site. Try the animal classification game, and the food web activity among others.
    • Here is a chart of the taxonomy of specific animals
    • Here is a chart with printable cards to cut out and laminate
    • Here is a great lesson plan on classification for 3rd grade and up
    • Here is an animal sort game for younger kids
    • Physics (3+)-
    • The tortoise and the hare's race seems at first to depend upon speed, and we assume the hare will win. Let's take a look at the science of speed and motion:
    • Here's a neat Time for Kids article about a speedy plane that NASA built
    • Experiments- speed
    • Spool Racer project
    • Balloon car experiment
    • Measuring boat speed
    • Measuring wind speed
    • Isaac Newton (biography) was a 17th century scientist who discovered the three Laws of Motion, helping us to understand more about the universe.
    • Explore a link here with some games for discovering more about Newton's Laws of Motion
    • Here are three videos of demonstrations to show how these laws work: First Law; Second Law; Third Law.
    • Link to book list on forces and motion.

    • Aesop was a Greek fablist. Where is Greece? Let's find out about it!
    • Learn the facts about the country of Greece at these websites: Greece geography; Pictures and facts from National Geographic Kids; More detailed Greece information (for middle schoolers)
    • Plot and label the locations of the most recent 20 Olympic Games on a world map (listing is here - scroll down)
    • Greece is a peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea. Learn what a peninsula is in this online glossary of geographical terms. What other countries are peninsulas (look at this world map)? Which of our United States is a peninsula?
    • Print out this map of Greece. Use an atlas you have at home and label the major cities and geographical features that stand out.
    • Draw the Greek flag (this website has history and meaning as well) on cardstock and use tape to attach it to a small dowel rod.
    • Watch these videos, complete with Greek music, of scenes from Greece- architecture, food, landscape, people, etc.
    • Zorba the Greek
    • Best of Greek Songs
    • Make a model of the Parthenon with cardboard, clay, or other material from around your home.
    • With older children, rent "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", a comedy about a Greek family and their daughter's wedding to an American. (Rated PG. See a family friendly review here).
    • Make a Greek meal with your family. Find hundreds of recipes, from appetizers to pastas to desserts, at this website.

    • Parts of speech: Adjectives and Adverbs
    • An adjective is a word that describes a noun or pronoun. There are many adjectives in The Tortoise and the Hare.
    • Adjectives: long, proud, powerful, fast, speedy, professional, eager, swollen, tiny, remarkable, small, swift, terrible, embarrassed, speechless, slow, flashy, short, sore, respectable, cool, famous, red, white, French, delicious, every, steady, kind, spectacular, silly, old, wide, lovely, magnificent, orange.
    • Use some of these words in your own story!
    • An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective or another adverb. You can find many adverbs in the story as well.
    • Adverbs: fast, very, exceedingly, modestly, slowly, first, finally, really, suddenly, calmly, barely, fortunately, probably, meanwhile, optimistically, most, almost, too, early, shortly, soon.
    • Activities and games about adjectives and adverbs: Adjective and Adverb game, a Who Wants to be a Millionaire-type game.
    • Many grammar games including multiple games for adjectives and adverbs.
    • Pick It Adverb and Adjective games (with tutorials).
    • Grammar Blast game
    • Fun books about adjectives and adverbs:
    • Hairy, Scary, Ordinary- What is an Adjective?
    • Quirky, Jerky, Extra Perky- More about Adjectives
    • Up, Up, and Away- A Book About Adverbs
    • Lazily, Crazily, Just a Bit Nasally- More about Adverbs
    • A thesaurus is used to find synonyms, or words that have the same, or almost the same, meaning.
    • Use a thesaurus to look up some of the above adjectives and adverbs and find similar words.
    • Take a paragraph from a favorite book and replace as many words as you can using the thesaurus.
    • Play the word game "Add it": Write a very simple skeletal sentence, such as "The bear ate the fish." Then take turns adding one or two words to the sentence to make it more interesting. The only rules are that each time you add to the sentence, the result must be a complete sentence; and there can be no more than 3 adjectives or adverbs describing any one thing.
    • Example: The brown bear ate the fish. The brown bear hungrily ate the fish. The brown bear hungrily ate the squirming fish. Last night the brown bear hungrily ate the squirming fish. Etc. Keep playing until you can no longer add to the sentence. These can get really funny!
    • Poetry about animals:
      Activity- write an animal cinquain
    • A cinquain is a five line poem with a very specific structure. Visit this site for a lesson plan on writing a cinquain.
    • Here is a website that prompts you to write three different types of animal poems: haiku, cinquain, and diamante
    • We get many of our English words from Greek (words such as "acrobat", "choir", "democracy", "gigantic", and even "fable") and also use Greek alphabet symbols in math. (The symbol "π", or "pi", used in formulas for the circumference and area of a circle is one of the Greek letters of the alphabet).
    • Here is the Greek alphabet with their sounds.
    • Here's a printable Greek alphabet to laminate.
    • Study some of these Latin and Greek word roots, found at Fact Monster (scroll down past the Latin). You may be surprised at how many of our words come from Greek!
    • Here are "flashcards" of Greek word roots to practice and Greek alphabet practice pages.
    • Other activities and ways to help kids learn word roots can be found at this website.
    • (PreK+) A fable is a morality story, often with animal characters that take on human characteristics, personality traits, and flaws.
    • "Aesop's Fables" is a collection of stories from the 5th century BC which originated in Greece. There is some disagreement about who wrote them. Some say it was a Greek slave named Aesop, others say he didn't exist and that the fables were written by numerous others of the time period. But regardless of who wrote them, Aesop's Fables have been around for a long time, highlighting lessons and morals for all of us.
    • Here is a collection of Aesop's Fables from an art school. Students over the years have illustrated the stories in wonderful ways! Explore the stories and find one whose illustrations you really like. Describe the artwork.
    • Choose a fable to illustrate yourself and display the art in your home.
    • Now write your own fable. Make sure you include a lesson for readers to learn from the actions of your characters!
    • The book "Lousy, Rotten, Stinkin' Grapes" is a humorous, and wonderfully-illustrated retelling of the fable of the fox and the grapes by Aesop.
    • Here are some more illustrated versions of Aesop's fables.
    • "The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg"
    • "Doctor Coyote" A Native American Aesop's Fables
    • "Aesop's Fables" by Jerry Pinkney
    • Coloring pages of Aesop's fables
    • Other lessons and activities
    • Preschool plans
    • Animated fables
    • Crafts and activities
    • Jakata Tales are Buddhist fables from the period 300 BC to 400 AD. Explore some of these here.
    • Joe Harris collected and retold dozens of African American stories from post-Civil War culture. They became known as Uncle Remus stories.
    • Here are the stories in their original dialect.
    • Rent the movie "Song of the South", a Disney retelling of some of the Uncle Remus stories.
    • Jean de la Fontaine, a 17th century French fablist, wrote his tales in verse. You can find a listing here.





    • Make a family of adorable  bottle-top turtles (or tortoises) out of inexpensive materials you probably already have at home and construct a habitat for them using paper, crayons, tape and scissors.
    • Animals in art- Learn about these artists who are known for their work in painting or sketching animals. The Durer and Stubbs web pages have links to drawing lessons, so be sure to try them out! Choose a favorite artist out of these and get books from the library to learn even more.
    • Dürer
    • Marc
    • Picasso
    • Stubbs
    • Sarah Rogers
    • I love the website Deep Space Sparkle for art projects. Many of the lessons are free, and some are for purchase. It is a well-laid out site with many ideas to explore!
    • Here is a link to some animal art projects at Deep Space Sparkle.
    • How to Draw Animals: How to Draw it; a list of drawing books.

    Make a placemat collage of animals. Use old magazines (you can get these from used book stores; National Geographic is perfect for this), scissors, glue or modpodge (from your local craft store), and poster board or cardstock.  Cut and paste pictures or words of animals all over the paper, overlap so there is no blank space, and paint the entire finished collage with modpodge.  Once dry, laminate the project (this home laminator is wonderful and well worth the modest price) and use on your kitchen table! 


    • The instruments of the orchestra: the contrabassoon is the lowest instrument in the woodwind family. It is a double reed instrument, which means that the vibrating part is made of two joined cane reeds.
    • Learn about the woodwind family with this pdf packet
    • Learn more about the contrabassoon here and here.
    • You can make a double reed instrument with a drinking straw or two. Check out this site or this video for instructions. You will need nothing more than straws, a hole punch, and a pair of scissors. (PreK+)
    • These books teach about the instruments of the orchestra in fun ways:
    • Meet the Orchestra
    • The Story of the Orchestra
    • The Amazing Musical Instruments
    • Here are some websites that teach about instruments:
    • Instrument Lab
    • NY Philharmonic
    • SF Symphony
    • DSO
    • Most music is written with a steady pulse, or beat, that can be felt and heard. The beat is then grouped into measures- some beats strong, some weak- which gives the music an organized and predictable feel. The way the beats are grouped, and which note is used for the beat, together form the "time signature". In the book with your CD you can see an example of a time signature on page 7.
    • Listen to Sousa's Semper Fidelis march and notice the obvious "1-2-1-2-1-2" feel of the music. Music with 2 or 4 beats per measure is in "duple meter",
    • A waltz, such as this one by Strauss, is in "triple meter" and you can clearly sense the "1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3" (even more so if you try to dance to it!)
    • This song by Mozart, "Ave Verum Corpus" has 4 slow beats per measure and the quarter note gets a beat. This time (4/4 time) is called "common time" and is sometimes marked in music with just a ‘C'.
    • Here are some more in depth lesson plans on: meter,  time signatures.
    • Sometimes music has a non-traditional structure and the measures do not all have the same amount of beats, and/or have changing accents. This is called "mixed meter". There might be a measure with 3 beats followed by a measure with 4 beats and then one with 2. The song "America" from the musical West Side Story alternates the time signatures 6/8 (a quick 1-2-3-4-5-6) and 3/4 (3 slightly slower beats). Listen to it here and see if you can count it!

Casey at the Bat

Homeschool Curriculum Guide
to accompany Maestro Classics'
Casey at the Bat CD
Music by Stephen Simon • Story by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
London Philharmonic Orchestra

Buy CD to accompany Casey at the Bat Homeschool Curriculum Guide

Just for Fun:

Online games, printables and quizzes  (PreK+),
Casey at the Bat (cartoon)
- Walt Disney's version  (All ages))
Who's on First?
- a classic  (All ages)
Baseball Almanac fun and games

    • Baseball is the All-American past time. It is almost synonymous with America itself and has been around in its current form for over a hundred and fifty years. It is a game formalized by Alexander Cartwright in the mid 1800's, a game which is based on the early 19th century English game of "rounders". Baseball has endured wars and players' strikes, and has always remained a vibrant part of the fabric of our country. To read more about the history of baseball, visit these websites: (2+)
    • History of baseball
    • Origins of baseball
    • Find out about some of baseball's greatest players by exploring these links: (2+)
    • Babe Ruth
    • Jackie Robinson- the first African American major league baseball player
    • Joe DiMaggio
    • During World War I, men were off fighting and baseball seemed doomed to have to wait till their return, prompting fears that the Major League parks would not financially survive. But instead, some baseball managers and wealthy businessmen decided to create a women's baseball league to keep momentum going and spirits high. This wonderful story is told in the movie "A League of their Own". Read more about the league at this website. (2+)
    • In addition to "A League of their Own", many other movies about baseball have been produced over the years. Follow these family-friendly suggestions and snuggle down for an evening of great stories. (All ages- use parental discretion)
    • All Star Baseball Movies
    • Top Ten Baseball Movies
    • To help you judge whether a movie fits your family's standard of viewing, visit these sites for detailed reviews:
    • Plugged in Online
    • Common Sense Media
    • Read about Ernest Lawrence Thayer at this website. Find out about the first man to perform Casey at the Bat, De Wolf Hopper here, and hear him actually recite the poem in this 1906 recording! (PreK+)
    • Did you ever wonder how baseball players can hit so far with such a small piece of wood? Or what materials a baseball is made of? What about the reason you hear the sound of a ball being hit long after you see the batter swing, if you're sitting high up in the stadium seats? There is a great amount of science in the sport of baseball! Explore these links to learn more about the physics behind America's favorite sport:
    • Science of baseball- This site is fantastic! Test your reaction time to see if you'd be able to hit a 90mph fast ball, learn how to throw a curve ball, and explore stats on different players, among other things. (PreK+)
    • Innards of a baseball- Did you know the center of a baseball is cork? Visit this site to learn about how a baseball is made. (PreK+)
    • Light travels at around 300 million meters per second, and sound travels at approximately 340 meters per second. Use this information to explain why, from the stands at a baseball game, you can see the batter swing much earlier than you hear the sound he makes in hitting the ball. (2+)
    • Athletes have to be very fit and healthy to play baseball. Baseball players are usually in their prime during only a short period of time in their lives. The best players take good care of their bodies by what they eat and how they exercise. Find out more about nutrition and activity with the following links. (All ages)
    • A fun nutrition websitewith games, articles, recipes and more.
    • Here is a websitededicated to information about the new food pyramid.
    • Fitness and exercise for kids- a lot of links here to explore
    • Look around this websiteto find out more about getting and staying healthy.
    • Print out this United States map. Visit this website with all of the baseball teams and their cities. Plot each team on the map. Which states have multiple teams? Which states have none? Where is the one Canadian team located? (1+)
    • Casey is filled with rich language that not only makes for an aesthetically-pleasing presentation, but also impresses the listener with wonderful vocabulary that can expand the comprehension of listeners of all ages. Use the following vocabulary words from Casey to add to your language arts lessons: (3+)
    • patron, stricken, grim, melancholy, recoil, dell, doff, defiance, haughty, grandeur, charity, writhe, visage, tumult, spheroid, stern, fraud
    • Dictionary work- have your children write each word and its definition. A good online dictionary for kids is this one, which also includes many word- and language-related games.
    • crossword creator
    • word search creator
    • While the writer of Casey at the Bat, Ernest Lawrence Thayer, was not a poet, his famous and enduring piece captured the hearts of the country and is still a favorite today. What is it about poetry that taps into human emotion so fully?
    • Find books of poetry from your local library. Have a "poetry day" when each person in the family flips through a separate book and chooses a favorite. All participating read their choice aloud and discuss each poem after it's read. Switch books and search again. (All ages)
    • American poets to explore:
    • Langston Hughes
    • Walt Whitman
    • Edna St. Vincent Millay
    • Robert Frost
    • Shel Silverstein
    • Gelett Burgess
    • Emily Dickinson
    • Read some of these other stories in poem form:
    • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere"
    • Edgar Allen Poe "The Raven"(for older readers)
    • Clement Clarke Moore "A Visit from St. Nicholas"
    • Here are some baseball picture booksto explore at your local library or purchase for your home. (PreK+)
    • Baseball wordsearch

    Norman Rockwell was known as a "people's" artist.  He became famous nationwide for his hundreds of covers for The Saturday Evening Post, an extremely popular magazine during the 1940sand 1950s. Embodying optimism, hope, and humor, his work is so intricately woven into the fabric of American life that it's hard to imagine many of our everyday life happenings without a Rockwell painting to match.  Norman Rockwell is best known for his detailed paintings of everyday life in America, many of which carry emotional significance to all Americans- subjects of war, childhood, family, and of course, baseball!Visit this site to learn more about this wonderful artist, or choose a few of these books from your local library:  (PreK+)

    • There are a number of different types of bands, including marching band, concert bands, wind ensemble and brass band. The instrument families included in most bands are brass, woodwind, and percussion, though an orchestra (also a type of band) has string instruments as well. Explore the following websites to learn about the instruments in a band:
    • NY Philharmonic (PreK+)
    • Marching band instruments
    • Read this brief articleto see how brass instruments make sound. (1+)
    • Brass instruments rely heavily on harmonics, along with valves or slides, to create pitches. Every musical note has within it not only the fundamental pitch (the one you recognize as the note being played) but also many other notes above that fundamental. The organization of those other notes, and their relative strengths or weaknesses, give each instrument its unique sound. Brass instruments, in addition, can play notes in the harmonic series (a set pattern of notes beginning with the fundamental) with the same fingerings or slide position. Bugles have no valves to press or slides to move, so a bugle's notes include only those in the harmonic series, beginning with the fundamental pitch "C".
    • To see for yourself harmonics in action, try this experiment. You will need a piano (not a keyboard). First, press down slowly and gently (NOT making a sound with the keys) the following notes in order going up and hold them: middle C, G, C, E, G. Keep them held down! Press the right pedal with your foot and hold it down. Now have someone else play firmly and quickly (loudly!) the C one octave below the middle C you have held down. You should be able to hear all of the notes you have held down ringing as well as the note your friend played! That shows how the bottom note played actually has many different pitches in it and when the other keys are held down, their strings are able to vibrate along with the bottom note! Pretty cool! (1+)
    • If you need help figuring out which notes are which, look at this online keyboard. Middle "C" is the one in the center of a full piano kepboard.
    • Here is a great articlethat explains further the phenomenon of harmonics and how they relate to brass instruments. (3+)
    • There are many bugle calls used by the military to organize time and represent certain functions in the day, such as mealtimes, wake up and lights out.
    • A bugle is different than a modern day trumpet in that it has no valves and relies solely upon the layers embouchure (or lip placement and tension) to create different notes. To learn more about the bugle, visit this website. (2+)
    • Explore bugle call recordings on this website. (PreK+)
    • John Phillips Sousa, the "March King", was the composer of some of the most well-known American marches of all time, including "The Stars and Stripes Forever" and "The Washington Post March". Sousa actually conducted at the opening ceremonies of Yankee Stadium in 1923. Explore this websiteto learn more about Sousa and visit the following links to hear some of his marches. (All Ages)
    • Washington Post March
    • Stars and Stripes Forever
    • Semper Fidelis
    • Get out a long pencil and conduct! The two pattern of conducting (as well as other beat patterns), used in many marches, can be seen here. Watch a how-to video on this website. (All ages)
    • The genre of jazz is also a uniquely American invention. Jazz was born in the Southern United States, in African American communities, out of a combination of European and African traditions. Jazz has many different types and sub-genres such as swing, blues, and be-bop. You can learn more about jazz at these websites: (1+)
    • Scholastic- History of Jazz
    • PBS Kids Jazz site
    • Batting average is a decimal number (to the thousandths) that is a measure of the percentage of times a batter gets a hit. A good batting average is around .300. To learn how to figure batting averages, visit this website. (4+)
    • Study the following diagrams of baseball fields. Write down the differences in dimensions between the college/high school field and little league field. (4+)
    • college/professional
    • little league
    • Figure the perimeter of the baseball diamond of each (formula is P = 4S, where P is the perimeter and S is a side) and then figure the area (formula is S2, where S is a side).
    • Note the distance from the pitcher's mound to the grass line in each field diagram. If that distance is the radius of a circle, what would the circumference of that circle be? (formula- 2 π r) What about the area? (formula- π r2) In both formulas r = radius.
    • Visit this sitefor information on the winners of the World Series for the last 100 years. Make a list of the ten teams that have won the most World Series. Then, using this website, create a graph of top World Series winners. Experiment with different graphs to see which one fits the information best. Print it out and share your graph with your family. (2+)

The Soldier's Tale

Homeschool Curriculum Guide
to accompany Maestro Classics'
The Soldier's Tale CD
Music by Stravinsky • London Philharmonic Orchestra

Buy CD to accompany the The Soldier's Tale Homeschool Curriculum Guide

    • The title character in the story is a soldier. Let's find out information about our own US military.
    • There are five branches of the military in the United States- Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and the Coast Guard
    • Information on each branch of the military at Today's Military
    • Visit Ben's Guide to the Government and scroll down to the "Defense and National Security" section for some links.
    • VA Kids is a nice website with information about veterans from our military. It includes facts, games and links.
    • Each military branch has its own song. Here are links to the songs for each branch with slideshows
      Anchor's Aweigh
      (Navy),  Wild Blue Yonder (Air Force),  The Halls of Montezuma (Marines),  The Army Goes Rolling Along (Army),  Semper Paratus by John Phillip Sousa (Coast Guard)
    • Stravinsky composed The Soldier's Tale at the end of World War I. Learn about "The Great War" with these resources:
    • This timeline of World War I gives brief explanations of each major event.
    • The BBC's website with links and information about WWI, and an animated map here.
    • Here is a website with many links for teachers, and also for students. It includes lesson plans, power points, virtual tours, etc. Definitely worth exploring.
    • These flashcards help to learn about the events of WWI
    • Here is a fill-in-the-blank activity at Enchanted Learning
    • Check out this list of books about World War I
    • Here is the military phonetic alphabet, used in part to avoid mistakes in communication especially brought about by similar sounding letter names (such as D and B, or P and T). Practice spelling your name with this alphabet. Then try to pass messages to your siblings, parents or friends.
    • Another communications system is morse code, which is made up of dots and dashes. This system dates back to the 1830's and was invented by Samuel Morse.
    • Visit this website to learn more about Morse code and the telegraph machine. It includes the entire alphabet, punctuation symbols, and an opportunity to turn a message into code.
    • Here are some military crafts for kids:
    • soldier paper dolls,  military crafts,  veteran's day crafts
    • The soldier in the story carries an image of Saint Joseph. In the Catholic tradition, there are men and women of the faith who have been venerated as saints and who have specific spiritual jobs and blessings to give. St. Joseph the carpenter, who was the earthly father of Jesus in the New Testament, is the saint of workers and labor.
    • Here are some paintings of Saint Joseph. (You only need scroll through the first 2 or three page sections to find some nice examples.)
    • Alphabetical list of saints to explore
    • Some people believe that St. Joseph is the one to petition when seeking to sell a home. They bury a statue or medallion in their yard and say a series of prayers. Read about the belief here. What do you think?
    • Science of the violin:
    • The violin is a wonderfully versatile instrument. It can make many different types of sounds and is used in many genres of music from classical to country. How does it work?
    • Sound is made by a vibrating object and is carried through a medium such as air or water. (Learn about the nature of sound here) On a violin, the strings vibrate when plucked or played with a bow; the sound travels through, resonates and is amplified inside the chamber of the violin, and then travels to the listeners ear in waves.
    • This website has wonderful information on the history, manufacture (with pictures of a violin being made- fascinating!), and science of violins, as well as other topics of interest.
    • Here is a more simplified explanation of how a violin works.
    • Here are two brief videos about how a violin works, and how the sound is produced.
    • Here's an article about the possibility of wood-density affecting the sound of a violin. Perhaps a Stradivarius sounds as amazing as it does due to the climate conditions in which the trees developed in the seventeenth century? Very interesting!
    • Music and healing
    • The story mentions the "healing power of music" when Joseph regains his violin and plays once more. Is there any truth to this claim?
    • Article about the power of music on the cardiovascular system.
    • Here's a fascinating video on the health benefits of singing in a choir.
    • Neuroscientists study the power of music on our health in areas of movement, stroke recovery, speech, reading skills, etc.
    • Explore the topic and career of music therapy at the website of the American Music Therapy Association.
  • Let's learn about the geography of Russia:

    • Here is a wonderful, detailed map (with downloadable PDF format). Label the main cities, bordering countries, bodies of water, and features of the landscape.
    • Fact Monster has good information on the land, people, and government of Russia, among other things
    • Explore the Russian language and pronunciation of cyrillic here.
    • There are many links here for elementary and middle grades
    • This site has a lot of advanced information on the history of Russia, but search it for its pictures of the architecture, ethnic diversity, and landscape. For fun you can even change the text on the site to Russian.
    • Here is a nice website with Russian recipes as well as traditional stories and links to shopping
    • The Soldier's Tale was composed while Stravinsky was in Switzerland. Let's learn about this beautiful country!
    • Print this map of Switzerland and label cities, bordering countries, mountains and other geographical elements.
    • National Geographic has a nice section with country facts
    • Enchanted Learning has printouts of the flag, as well as a printable map of Europe to label
    • Draw an advertisement for one of these swiss-influenced products, using images of the landscape of Switzerland. Make the consumer really want to buy it!
    • Swiss Miss hot chocolate, Swiss cheese, Swiss Family Robinson, Swiss army knife
    • Here is some information on Swiss food
    • The soldier ends up married to a princess and living in a castle.
    • Build a castle out of legos, blocks, or other medium. Use pictures of these real life castles to inspire you.
    • Castles of the world
    • Neuschwanstein Castle
    • Explore these pictures on Google. There are tons to choose from!
    • Explore these sites to learn about the parts of a castle and what they were used for.
    • parts of a castle (click on the main picture for a detailed view)
    • castle terminology
    • make castles using cardboard or paper
    • Get and play Castle Keep with your family.
  • The Soldier's Tale is not the only one of its kind. There have been numerous stories told and retold, stretching back thousands of years, with characters who are tempted by the devil to give up something important to them for something else they desire. Here are some examples (these are stories with serious and difficult themes not appropriate for younger children):

    • The story of Job in the Bible chronicles the suffering of one man, a faithful servant of God, as the devil tries to turn him from his righteous ways and instead curse God. In this tempter-temptee story Job actually does not fall victim to the devil's schemes and God blesses his life after his suffering.
    • Faust- German poet and playwright Johann von Goethe wrote this play that has had much influence on literature, art and music over the past 200 years. In the story of Faust, the devil (Mephistopheles) makes a bet with God that he can turn Faust away from righteous pursuits (similar to the biblical story of Job). The devil succeeds in this story by tempting Faust with all manner of divine knowledge. Things don't end well for poor Faust. He ends up in Hell, a servant of the devil.
    • In The Devil and Daniel Webster (a Faustian story itself), a farmer sells his soul to the devil (who is in the form of a stranger named "Mr Scratch") in exchange for seven years of prosperity. When the time is up, he bargains for another three years, but at the end of those years the devil comes to collect. The farmer instead takes Mr. Scratch to court, and after a long court battle, wins. Daniel Webster is the attorney trying the case.
    • The story of Orpheus and Eurydice is a bit different, but it still involves temptation and the bartering for important things. Read the kid-friendly version of the story here. The full version is here.
    • Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice is an opera based on the myth. Here's the opera synopsis (a slightly different version than the myth) and here is a video of a scene from the opera. In this scene, Orfeo leads Euridice through the labyrinth out of the Underworld but can't look at her. As is common in opera, Orfeo, a male character, is played by a mezzo-soprano (low-voiced female singer) in a role called a "pants role".
    • Divine knowledge, prosperity, a lost love, a book which holds the secrets to untold wealth... What about you? Can you think up a story in which the main character, driven by a strong desire for something, makes a deal with the "devil"? What form would the devil take in your story? How would he try to woo the character into making this deal and what would the character have to give up in exchange? Would the devil win, or the human?
    • What do these stories say about humankind? Why are these things- knowledge, power, wealth- so desirable? Are those the things that make us truly happy? Discuss this in your family.
    • Write letters, and send care packages, to active troops. There are many websites you can use to find information about this. Here are a few:
    • Any soldier
    • Letters to Soldiers
    • A million thanks
    • In Flander's Field is perhaps one of the most famous poems associated with World War I. The poet was a military doctor and artillery commander, Major John McCrae. Learn more about this poem.
    • Here is a lesson plan on the poem, for older middle schoolers and highschoolers
    • Memorize it and recite it for your family
    • youtube song written on the text
    • Paint or draw a scene from the story. If you were to draw based on the sounds of Stravinsky's bold and dynamic composition, what colors would you use? What kind of strokes of the pen, marker or brush do you feel would express the music best?
    • Soldier sitting in woods playing violin
    • Soldier with old woman
    • Solider at the castle
    • There are many paintings inspired by the Faust story. Study these and talk about them. Discuss color scheme, style, characters, mood, etc.
    • Rembrandt's Faust sketch
    • Four different Faust paintings here
    • Explore this online poster exhibit. Using one of the themes found there, make your own WWI poster.
    • Dramaticize all or part of the story, or put on a puppet show. Make the characters using ideas from these websites:
    • Puppet making site
    • We love these people template craft supplies.
    • Stravinsky uses the music of three different dance forms in The Soldier's Tale. Let's learn a bit about them.
    • The waltz is a dance form made most popular in the 19th century in Austria, though its roots go back to earlier German/Austrian dances in Mozart's time. It is always in 3 with a strong-weak-weak beat pattern. (See the discussion and links about "meter" in the Music section of the study)
    • Johann Strauss was nicknamed "The Waltz King" because of his influence in this genre. Here are a few links to his music:
    • Die Fledermaus waltz
    • Here is a notebooking page to record information
    • Blue Danube Waltz
    • Johann Mouse (Tom and Jerry clip- Vienna Waltz)
    • Research more about Strauss and use this notebooking page to record your information.
    • Ragtime is a unique American musical form/dance that had its roots in the marches of John Philipps Sousa and rhythms of African music. Ragtime had its peak at the beginning of the 20th century but continues to bring joy to listeners and performers today.
    • Learn about Scott Joplin, who was a key composer of this style:
    • Maple Leaf Rag (played by the composer)
    • Keep notes on this piece with this notebooking page
    • The Entertainer (played by the composer)
    • Use this composer notebooking page to keep your notes on Joplin.
    • Ragtime, the musical, chronicles this time in history and the influence of this genre of music.
    • Here is the opening scene from the musical.
    • There are many variations of the Tango, though the original tango developed in Argentina and Uruguay in the late 19th century and has influences of dances of Europe and African ceremonial dances.
    • Due to the sensual nature of the tango dance, I will leave it up to parents to decide whether to find and view a dance routine with their children. Youtube has many examples to choose from.
    • The Soldier's Tale, like much of Stravinsky's music, has mixed meter. Let's explore this topic!
    • Musical meter is the organization of beats in the measures of a piece, including both strong and weak beats. The idea of meter in music came from the concept of meter in poetry, where the term can encompass the lines, words and syllables in a poem verse.
    • The time signature is the fraction-type symbol in music that indicates how many beats are in a measure, and which type of note gets one beat, or pulse. In mixed meter, there may be many different time signatures, sometimes changing every measure! This can cause a piece of music to sound dynamic and disjointed, exciting and unstable all at the same time.
    • See examples of time signatures here along with a brief explanation
    • Here is an online metronome to help you keep a steady beat. Play around with the tempo, making it faster and slower. Do the following exercises to help you understand meter:
    • With the metronome set to 72, start walking around the room to that tempo. Walk normally at first until you feel you've gotten comfortable with the beat.
    • Next clap on the first of every group of 4 steps while counting (ONE-two-three-four, ONE-two-three-four, etc.)
    • Switch your strong beat to the first of every 3 beats instead (ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three, etc.)
    • Now stress the first of every two beats (ONE-two, ONE-two, ONE-two, etc.)
    • Each of the above examples is its own meter. In mixed meter, two or more of them (and others) could be included in the same song. Try to mix them up as you walk. (ONE-two-three-four, ONE-two, ONE-two, ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three-four, etc.) It's not so easy, is it? It gives you a disjointed feel, much like Stravinsky's music.
    • Here are some lessons to give further practice:
    • Lesson plans on musical meter for all ages
    • Go to this website and under "Recognizing Meters" in the second paragraph are links to animations of the types of meters with obvious aural strong and weak beats. There are also musical examples of each type.
    • Stravinsky used a very interesting group of instruments for The Soldier's Tale: violin, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, percussion (drums, cymbals, tambourine, triangle).
    • Choose one of these instruments and learn about it. Use the following questions and ideas to guide you:
    • What is the instrument made of?
    • What family of instruments does it belong in?
    • Draw a detailed picture of your instrument.
    • How would you describe its sound?
    • How is sound created and resonated in this instrument?
    • Name a couple of famous musicians (living or deceased) who play(ed) this instrument?
    • Research a piece or two of music written for your chosen instrument, listen to examples on youtube, and use this notebooking page to keep a record of what you've learned.
    • Here is a fun song about a fiddle player who is challenged by the devil to a fiddling duel. If the boy wins, he gets the devil's gold violin, but if the devil wins, he gets the boy's soul. Can you guess who plays the best and wins the duel?
    • Devil went down to Georgia- Charlie Daniels Band
    • Here's a portion of The Soldier's Tale that was animated in the 1980's
    • Here is a link to a book that looks excellent for young children, and includes information about Stravinsky and Scott Joplin, among many others; and another by Mike Venezia about Stravinsky
  • Money Math

Juanita The Spanish Lobster

Homeschool Curriculum Guide
to accompany Maestro Classics Juanita the Spanish Lobster CD
Music by David Haslam • Story by Johnny Morris
London Philharmonic Orchestra

Buy CD to accompany Juanita the Spanish Lobster
homeschool curriculum guide



    Juanita is a Flamenco singer, and her tenor lobster friend is an opera singer.  What is the history of those two genres of music?  Let's find out!

    • Flamenco music is a primarily Spanish genre (the Andalusian folk culture) with roots in many other cultures as well, including Arabic, Jewish, Spanish Gypsy, and Indian.
    • Here is a brief history of Flamenco dance, along with a couple of links to Flamenco artists and a more detailed history of Flamenco.
    • Videos of Flamenco: Flamenco dance, solo; Flamenco dance, ensemble;  Flamenco slide show with music.
    • Opera is simply a story set completely to music and song. Characters sing their way through the drama, singing solos, duets, trios, and even quartets and quintets. Opera has a rich history dating back to the late 16th century, and works of music with characteristics of opera (though not in the same form) go back centuries even further.
    • Here is a brief (but still lengthy!) history of opera. This is a very good summary of the development of opera from its earliest roots. Use whatever information you'd like to supplement your learning, for it is a bit dry to use as an actual text unless for older children and teens.
    • Hansel and Gretel interactive opera activity.
    • Famous scenes (youtube):
    • Doll's Aria from The Tales of Hoffman by Offenbach- the singer, Olympia (a coloratura soprano), is a doll who has to be wound up when her power runs out.
    • E lucevan le stelle from Tosca by Puccini- a beautiful tenor aria from one of Puccini's best dramatic operas, sung by one of the best tenors of all time.
    • Largo al factotum from The Barber of Seville by Rossini- The barber comes into town and sings about how wonderful his life is, and how he is in constant demand.
    • Papageno/Papagena duet from The Magic Flute by Mozart- the bird-man and bird-woman express their love for each other in this fun, "flighty" duet.
    • The Queen of the Night aria from Magic Flute by Mozart- The evil Queen shows her power (and her vocal facility!) in this, her most famous aria.
    • And just for fun, here's a parrot attempting to sing the same aria!
    • Make dinner an opera adventure! For one meal, sing all of your interaction. "Please pass the butterrrrrrrr!" "Certainly, dear siiiiiiiiister!" Tons of fun and lots of laughs.
    • Here's a fun app for the iPhone and iPad called King of Opera. Compete with other tenors to keep the spotlight!


    • Juanita, as a lobster, obviously lives in the ocean, even though she'd like to visit the land. Let's explore her true home, the ocean!
    • National Geographic ocean- information, pictures, etc.
    • Enchanted learning- many activities and printouts about ocean habitats.
    • Ology- a wonderful website with a whole section about Marine Biology, or the study of marine life.
    • Motion ocean craft from National Geographic Kids.
    • Other ocean crafts at Enchanted Learning.
    • Games for preschoolers.
    • sea puzzle
    • sea games from Chateau Meddybemps
    • Children's books on the ocean: The Best Children's Books.
    • Animal Kingdom:
    • Scientists classify, or group, animals based on what characteristics they have in common. The classification categories (from most general to most specific) are: Kingdom (such as Animals or Plants), Phylum (such as Chordates or Arthropods), Class (such as Mammals or Aves), Order (such as Marsupials), Family, Genus, Species. The scientific name of an animal includes its genus and species, and sometimes subspecies, and is in Latin. Explore the Animal Kingdom with these fun links, games and lesson plans:
    • Here is a clearly presented and fun video from Brain Pop on Animal Classification
    • Sheppard Software has many animal games on their site. Try the animal classification game, and the food web activity among others.
    • Here is a chart of the taxonomy of specific animals.
    • Here is a chart with printable cards to cut out and laminate.
    • Here is a great lesson plan on classification for 3rd grade and up.
    • Here is an animal sort game for younger kids.
    • Juanita is a lobster, which is in the Arthropod phylum, in the class Crustacean. Here is more information about lobsters: National Geographic, Mollusks .
    • Learn more about Octopuses here. (Octopi is also a correct plural, but not as commonly used.)
    • Watch this amazing video of a camouflaged octopus!




    • Spanish vocabulary: Here's a wonderful website with spanish virtual flashcards, complete with audio for pronunciation. Many different categories included!
    • Disney in Spanish
    • Spanish language activities on Scholastic.
    • Manners- Juanita has spunk, but not much in the way of manners at the beginning of the story! Here are a couple of websites with activities and lesson plans to help teach manners to children.
    • Lists of books about manners: Scholastic,   Amazon,  Children's book guide
    • Here's a website with links to teaching specific etiquette and manners
    • Read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books. They are collections of stories with gently, and humorously, taught morals, many having to do with manners. And everyone LOVES Mrs. Piggle Wiggle herself! She's magic, loves children, and always has the right cure for any childhood ailment.

    • Seascapes make some of the most beautiful artwork. Many famous artists spent time studying and painting the sea.
    • Artists:
    • Monet and the sea
    • Van Gogh: Seascape at Saintes Maries de la Mer; Various seascape prints 
    • 10 best sea landscapes
    • Craft and art projects: Deep Sea Sparkle fish and sea projects (this is a fantastic website with many free lessons, and some more intricate ones for a small fee).
    • Spanish painters: Enchanted Learning- information and coloring pages of several Spanish artists.
    • Other Spanish artists coloring pages.
    • Bartolome Esteban Murillo was a Spanish baroque painting best known for his religious paintings, and paintings of peasants in various scenes and settings.
    • Francisco Goya was a Spanish painter in the Romantic style. He is known for his portraits, and his dark images reflecting the upheaval in Spain at the time. (The link to the Goya website should be screened by an adult first. Pick and choose what you'd like your children to experience, as there are some paintings which some parents might find inappropriate.)
    • Learn more about him in these books about Goya.
    • Picasso: Pablo Picasso was a famous Spanish painter in the Cubist art movement. Cubism, an abstract style of art, was based on a way of seeing people and objects from multiple viewpoints at the same time. Picassohead art activity
    • Here is a website with many lesson plans to use.
    • Dali
    • Virtual Dali website with biography and paintings.
    • Dali was in a movement of art called "Surrealism" which took inspiration from dreamlike images, or subconscious thought, over reason. Have you ever had a strange dream that did not fit reality? What things would you put in a painting or drawing from your dreams? Make a piece of art that would fit the Surrealists' ideal.
    • Check out these books out of your library:
    • Amazon book list about Dali.




    Spanish Music

    • Instruments:
    • Castanets are used to make a clicking percussive sound in Flamenco music. Here's a website where you can find how to make castanets.   Here is a whole series of videos from Expert Village on how to play castanets. Try it for yourself!
    • The guitar is a very versatile instrument, used in classical music, Flamenco, folk and rock, among others. Here's an article about how guitars work, including a video on how they are made! It also includes an experiment to help better understand how the sounding board amplifies sound. Make your own box guitar with things from around your house.
    • A few works by well-known Spanish composers:
    • O Magnum Mysterium, choral piece by Tomas Luis de Victoria.
    • Soleares by Joaquin Turina, for solo guitar.
    • Oriental by Enrique Granados (played by an 11 year old pianist).

    Just for fun:   Here's "Juanita the Spanish Lobster" in movie version.   Pt 1 , Pt 2


    • Volume is the amount of space within, or occupied by, a three dimensional object. It is measured in cubic units.
    • You have a swimming pool that is all one depth. It is 20 feet long, 12 feet wide and 4.5 feet deep. If the water comes up to 6 inches below the top of the pool, what volume of water is in the pool? (volume of a rectangular prism= length x width x height [depth]).
    • Your neighbor has an above ground pool that is cylindrical in shape. It is also 4.5 feet deep throughout and has a diameter of 15 feet. What is the volume of water in the pool if the water level comes within 6 inches of the top? (volume of a cylinder = π r2h where π = 3.14).
    • Water games and puzzles: Fill it up activity; Volume puzzle;  Water jar game.
    • Symmetry is all around us. A figure shows symmetry when part of it is a mirror image of itself. Think of a human face with a line of symmetry down the middle of the nose and mouth, the shape of a half-gallon of orange juice, or a couch. These things all have symmetry. Animals have symmetry too. Juanita the lobster has a symmetrical body, with the same number and type of claws and antennae on each side. Think of all of the creatures in the story and discuss whether or not they have symmetry.
    • Here are some symmetry activities for young elementary students at Enchanted Learning. Symmetry worksheets. More symmetry worksheets.
    • Symmetry games: game website, Adrian Bruce; PBS Kids symmetry/kaleidoscope game