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Finding meaning and aesthetic in song/poetry based on historical context Chamber Choir, grades PDF

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Title Subject Area/Grade Level Investigative Question PA Academic Standards and Common Core Standards Finding meaning and aesthetic in song/poetry based on historical context Chamber Choir, grades 10 12
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Title Subject Area/Grade Level Investigative Question PA Academic Standards and Common Core Standards Finding meaning and aesthetic in song/poetry based on historical context Chamber Choir, grades a. How are some ways that war has affected your life, personally? b. What are some of the differences between war when they fought during World War I and present day warfare? c. How would you feel, and maybe some of you have been affected in this way, if you lost a loved one or friend because of war? d. What characteristics, physical and non-physical, would a war-torn area have? Pennsylvania Academic Standards for the Arts and Humanities: B - Recognize, know, use and demonstrate a variety of appropriate arts elements and principles to produce, review and revise original works in the arts. Music: sing play an instrument read and notate music compose and arrange improvise D - Analyze a work of art from its historical and cultural perspective A - Evaluate an individual s philosophical statement on a work in the arts and its relationship to one s own life based on knowledge and experience. Common Core Standards: R11.A Make inferences, draw conclusions, and make generalizations based on text. R11.B Identify, interpret, describe, and analyze the point of view of the narrator in fictional and nonfictional text Learning Objectives Duration Materials & Citation of Resources Source: PA Department of Education Standards-Aligned Systems website 1. The students will have a firm understanding of the poem In Flanders Field by John McCrae. 2. The students will understand the historical context of the song and apply it to their emotion while singing. 3. The students will learn and interpret the lyrics of the song, memorized for concert. 4. The students will sing on pitch. 5. The students will understand the concept of word painting. 6. The students will perform the song accurately at the concert. Semester (Ongoing) Sheet Music Flanders Fields arr. Paul Aitken Audio recording Flanders Fields arr. Paul Aitken Copy of poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae Pencil Flanders Field. Between 1912 and National Photo Company Collection. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. King, William Lester. No Mans Land, Flanders Field, France, Panoramic photographs. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. With our troops at the battles of Flanders. Jacking a field gun out of the mud to get it to a new position Miscellaneous Items in High Demand. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Inquiry-Based Instruction I will use an Inquiry-Based Instructional Model with the following components: 1. Questioning: In preparation for the concert, I will pose many questions throughout the semester for the students to consider when preparing this piece. Questions include and are not limited to the following: e. How are some ways that war has affected your life, personally? f. What are some of the differences between war when they fought during World War I and present day warfare? g. How would you feel, and maybe some of you have been affected in this Description of procedures Assessment Rubric way, if you lost a loved one or friend because of war? h. What characteristics, physical and non-physical, would a war-torn area have? 2. Researching: By using the resources at I will show the students before, during, and after photos of Flanders Field in France/Belgium to evoke emotion. 3. Discussing: I will open discussion about their assumptions and thoughts based on the primary sources and relate their new found images to the text of the poem. 4. Creating: I will continue to repeat this lesson and similar lessons to the song on its rehearsal days up until the concert so the student have time to develop their personal aesthetic response to the poem and music. 5. Reflecting: After the concert, we will watch the song via video recording, where the students will be given the opportunity to reflect via discussion on their performance based on what they hear and how they felt during the concert. Attached Attached Description of Procedures The lesson I have prepared is a unit or semester lesson for one song my chamber choir will sing for the spring concert. Because my classes are all performance based, I am continually working toward that one project, which is why this is specified as an ongoing semester course. The song I have chosen to write an (APL) is In Flanders Fields arranged by Paul Aitken. It is a choral work composed to support the text of John McCrae s famous World War I poem of the same name. In order to perform this song well, the students must understand the historical context of the piece and internalize its meaning. Introducing this piece by questioning their Civil War knowledge and their own personal feelings about war and the sacrifices of soldiers will set a foundation of understanding the text, the piece, and their personal aesthetic. This section is comprised of the questioning component of my APL. I would start out with basic questions. Each time we rehearse, I would choose a different question to keep the students analyzing. Questions that I might use are: a. How are some ways that war has affected your life, personally? b. What are some of the differences between war when they fought during World War I and present day warfare? c. How would you feel, and maybe some of you have been affected in this way, if you lost a loved one or friend because of war? d. What characteristics, physical and non-physical, would a war-torn area have? For each question, I would record their answers on the board and allow them to generate more ideas based off of others ideas. This next section is comprised of the research component of my APL. After we have exhausted the responses, I would project during and after photos from onto my Promethean board. From here, I would allow time for the students to think about the photos, describe the photos, and we would spend some time talking about their new ideas and conclusions. I would now consider the question to be fully answered, and move on to discuss the historical context of the photos, and pass out a copy of the poetry. As for researching, most of the researching will have been done by me. My ultimate goal in this lesson is to allow the students to use that information to cultivate emotion while singing the piece of music. This next section is comprised of the discussion portion of my APL. Now the students have all the tools for discussion. They have their answers to the openended questions, the history of the piece, and the text of the poem. I would have already explained where Flanders Field is located and that it was a battlefield during World War I. Now we would begin discussion about the poetry and its author. The author was a Canadian soldier named John McCrae who wrote the poem after watching his friend die a day earlier. This would hopefully lead to more questions, i.e. What would you feel after having watched a good friend give his life for your freedom? or How would you cope with the loss of a good friend?. Generally, I think there would be a solemn feeling throughout the room, which is part of what I would be going for. As part of the discussion, I would ask the students to follow along the text of the poem while I played a recording of the actual song, jot down new feelings, what they are thinking, or what their response is to now hearing the song for the first time. The next topic of discussion would be how the music fits with the lyrics and if there is any word painting involved. The next section is comprised of the creating portion of my APL. This is where practicing comes in and why my APL expands a semester. In a choral performance class, we are constantly working to improve our singing technique, songs, and understanding throughout an entire semester up until the concert, where we present our best interpretation of the piece of music. It might take weeks of musical preparation before the students are comfortable enough with the music to begin to be aware of the meaning of the piece and words. It is hard to ask a student to feel the music if they are struggling to remember the music. Still, I would continue to have discussions about the meaning of the text, proposing new questions, asking the students to propose questions themselves, and go back to study the photos. This lesson plan is the start of a continuum of discussion of lessons discussing the historical context and meaning of the text. The final product of this would be when the students present what they have worked so hard to create the spring concert. This piece of music, along with other tunes would be presented with the same amount of study into the history (if applicable), the meaning of the text, and how the music is arranged to fit both the history and the meaning combined. The ultimate goal while learning was to be able to find meaning individually and feel it through the music. At the concert, our ultimate goal is to allow the audience to have that same connection to the music, where they are not merely listening but they are a part of the story. My ultimate goal is that my students have been so actively emotionally involved in the piece that they finish the concert and leave humming the tune. The next section is comprised of my reflection portion of my APL. Our music department has a videographer who records all of our performances, so we are lucky to be able to watch our performance after we have presented it. Usually, I would allow them to listen to their previous year s performances and we would compare vocal technique, tone, and quality, however, in this case, I would ask them what was going through their minds while singing it. Here I would pose more questions: 1. How many of you were too nervous to think about anything other than singing the right words? 2. How many of you were able to create a picture or storyline in your minds while performing? 3. Did you make a connection to the music? 4. How would you describe your connection to the music? 5. Was the connection a hard thing for you to let yourself do? Why? Based on their discussion and their performance, I would then be able to give them a grade. I have created a rubric that would I could subjectively grade their semester using four criteria: preparation, interpretation, vocal performance, and expression. Each of these are gradable outcomes of my learning objectives from the start of the semester: 1. The students will have a firm understanding of the poem In Flanders Field by John McCrae. 2. The students will understand the historical context of the song and apply it to their emotion while singing. 3. The students will learn and interpret the lyrics of the song, memorized for concert. 4. The students will sing on pitch. 5. The students will understand the concept of word painting. 6. The students will perform the song accurately at the concert. Preparation Interpretation Vocal Performance Expression Interpretation is exceptional. It is Singer s tone, pitch, and diction are believable- a natural character that very clear and projected with expertly conveys author s intent. exceptional confidence and Singers choices are appropriate accuracy. and reflect personal and in-depth research and analysis on historical context of the poetry. choices made. of performance are memorized and performed expertly. of performance are performed with minimal mistakes. of performance are performed with regular mistakes and improvisation. of performance are lacking in memorization. of performance are not prepared. Interpretation is above average. It is almost believable- a character that satisfactorily conveys author s intent. Singers choices are appropriate and reflect appropriate research and analysis on historical context of the poetry. Interpretation is average. It is somewhat believable- a character which somewhat conveys author s intent. Singers choices are okay and reflect average research and analysis on historical context of the poetry. Interpretation is lacking. It is lacking in believability- a character that minimally conveys author s intent. Singers choices reflect minimal research and analysis on historical context of the poetry. Interpretation is not present. It is not believable- a character which does not convey author s intent. Singers choices do not reflect research and analysis on historical context of the poetry. Singer s tone, pitch, and diction are clear and projected with good confidence and accuracy. Singer s tone, pitch, and diction are somewhat clear and projected with some confidence and accuracy. Singer s tone, pitch, and diction are somewhat unclear and projected with little confidence and accuracy. Singer s tone, pitch, and diction are unclear and projected with no confidence and accuracy. Singer expertly approaches work of creative expression with openness and interest. Demonstrates an expert awareness of the creative contexts the author and arranger has worked in and the creative Singer approaches work of creative expression with good openness and interest. Demonstrates a good awareness of the creative contexts the author and arranger has worked in and the creative choices made. Singer approaches work of creative expression with some openness and interest. He or she demonstrates some awareness of the creative contexts the author and arranger has worked in and the creative choices made. Singer approaches work of creative expression with little openness and interest. He or she demonstrates little awareness of the creative contexts the author and arranger has worked in and the creative choices made. Singer approaches work of creative expression with no openness and interest. He or she demonstrates no awareness of the creative contexts the author and arranger has worked in and the creative choices made.
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