Network Initiatives

                

 

 

Purpose 

In this unit, students read like detectives, asking questions and looking for clues about what characters are thinking, feeling, and doing. As they read, students compose music that represents those investigations in order to gain a deeper understanding of the characters and how they relate to the central theme of the story.

 

Unit Description

In this unit, students create a whole-class musical composition to Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, a Newbery Medal winning author. Seedfolks is told in a series of character chapters connected by a central theme. To prepare, students become “reading detectives,” annotating the text as they ask questions and look for clues about what characters are thinking, feeling, and doing. In doing so, they are making inferences and text-to-text connections and working toward identifying a central theme of the book. As students read, they learn a range of music elements and create music using classroom instruments and found objects to represent what they have learned about the characters. As a culminating event, the class creates and performs a Seedfolks Composition for an invited audience.

Intention of Unit

A4L Unit 4, Planting a Community, was initially designed and developed to target four primary literacy goals that were identified by teachers as particularly difficult for their students to master and apply – making inferences, text-to-text connections, determining theme, and annotating text.  The integration of an art form was perceived as a promising character traits with musical sounds and rhythm, by inspiring students to express and convey meaning and emotions, and to facilitate visualization of a theme for the text. 
 

Unit 4 Art Form

The art form designed for this Unit is music.  In much the same way that a story is conveyed in motion pictures or any media arts genre, the music is interwoven and connected to the text and images to identify and guide the viewer’s emotional interpretation of about what the characters are thinking, feeling and doing.  E.g.; the musical score is connected to descriptions of images and actions so that once the viewers have experienced the combined words with associated sounds, they can visualize what is happening when only the associated music is heard.    
 
The creation of music through found objects as well as available musical instruments is used as the art genre in this Unit.  This decision was made to comply with the strategy for equity and access used in all the A4L Units so that all students could experience the creation of a musical score even though their school may not have access to traditional musical instruments and students are not already knowledgeable about how to play them. 
This approach of relying on sounds, rhythm, dynamics, duration, pitch and timbre is not unprecedented and is masterfully used in music and dance compositions such as the Stomp and in the motion picture August Rush, as well as many other examples.  By using found objects to make sounds that convey the personality traits and actions of the characters in Seedfolks, students learn to listen intently and to discriminate the meaning of sounds and to be resourceful in finding ways to create music without formal music instruction.  
 

Differentiation Options

 
Vocal Music:  In addition to using music produced with found objects, a musical alternative is to use sounds produced by the human voice or body.  For example, the voice can also produce sounds that create different levels of dynamics, duration, pitch and timbre.  The voice alone is sufficient to produce the range of sounds and variations to define the characteristics of each character in the text and a thematic overview of the book.  The voice may also be effectively supplemented by sounds created using other parts of the body (e.g. clapping, rubbing hands, humming, stomping feet, etc.) or through a combination of voice and use of other found objects or musical instruments as suggested in the Unit.  
 
Visual Arts & Writing:  A substitute for the art genre of music could also be visual arts and writing, in which the students complement the association of sounds with quick linear gesture drawings and later with colors that convey character traits, emotions, and action.
 

Newly Added Feature: This Unit's student texts have been translated into Spanish

 

                

 

Common Core State Standards

Arts for Learning is aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language. This Overview describes the scope of the standards and this Quick Reference Guide provides each of the standards fully or partially met within this A4L Unit, followed by the charts that specifically identify the standards addressed in each lesson and step in the Unit. The standards are also coded and listed at the beginning of each lesson in the unit. Arts for Learning also provides a comprehensive student assessment program in each unit. This A4L Assessment Toolkit Quick Reference Chart indicates an overview of the locations of the tasks to be scored in the unit.
 
Each A4L unit is developed on a common framework and contains a 3-part sequence of instruction that educational research suggests will help students become more self-directed, independent learners. There is a gradual hand-off of responsibility--from teacher to students-- that is supported by assessment and teacher help as needed. Throughout A4L units the arts serve as motive and means to advance reading for meaning and writing thoughtfully.

 

 

 

 

Unit 4

Planting a Community

                

 

 

Purpose 

In this unit, students read like detectives, asking questions and looking for clues about what characters are thinking, feeling, and doing. As they read, students compose music that represents those investigations in order to gain a deeper understanding of the characters and how they relate to the central theme of the story.

 

Unit Description

In this unit, students create a whole-class musical composition to Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, a Newbery Medal winning author. Seedfolks is told in a series of character chapters connected by a central theme. To prepare, students become “reading detectives,” annotating the text as they ask questions and look for clues about what characters are thinking, feeling, and doing. In doing so, they are making inferences and text-to-text connections and working toward identifying a central theme of the book. As students read, they learn a range of music elements and create music using classroom instruments and found objects to represent what they have learned about the characters. As a culminating event, the class creates and performs a Seedfolks Composition for an invited audience.

Intention of Unit

A4L Unit 4, Planting a Community, was initially designed and developed to target four primary literacy goals that were identified by teachers as particularly difficult for their students to master and apply – making inferences, text-to-text connections, determining theme, and annotating text.  The integration of an art form was perceived as a promising character traits with musical sounds and rhythm, by inspiring students to express and convey meaning and emotions, and to facilitate visualization of a theme for the text. 
 

Unit 4 Art Form

The art form designed for this Unit is music.  In much the same way that a story is conveyed in motion pictures or any media arts genre, the music is interwoven and connected to the text and images to identify and guide the viewer’s emotional interpretation of about what the characters are thinking, feeling and doing.  E.g.; the musical score is connected to descriptions of images and actions so that once the viewers have experienced the combined words with associated sounds, they can visualize what is happening when only the associated music is heard.    
 
The creation of music through found objects as well as available musical instruments is used as the art genre in this Unit.  This decision was made to comply with the strategy for equity and access used in all the A4L Units so that all students could experience the creation of a musical score even though their school may not have access to traditional musical instruments and students are not already knowledgeable about how to play them. 
This approach of relying on sounds, rhythm, dynamics, duration, pitch and timbre is not unprecedented and is masterfully used in music and dance compositions such as the Stomp and in the motion picture August Rush, as well as many other examples.  By using found objects to make sounds that convey the personality traits and actions of the characters in Seedfolks, students learn to listen intently and to discriminate the meaning of sounds and to be resourceful in finding ways to create music without formal music instruction.  
 

Differentiation Options

 
Vocal Music:  In addition to using music produced with found objects, a musical alternative is to use sounds produced by the human voice or body.  For example, the voice can also produce sounds that create different levels of dynamics, duration, pitch and timbre.  The voice alone is sufficient to produce the range of sounds and variations to define the characteristics of each character in the text and a thematic overview of the book.  The voice may also be effectively supplemented by sounds created using other parts of the body (e.g. clapping, rubbing hands, humming, stomping feet, etc.) or through a combination of voice and use of other found objects or musical instruments as suggested in the Unit.  
 
Visual Arts & Writing:  A substitute for the art genre of music could also be visual arts and writing, in which the students complement the association of sounds with quick linear gesture drawings and later with colors that convey character traits, emotions, and action.
 

Newly Added Feature: This Unit's student texts have been translated into Spanish

 

                

 

Common Core State Standards

Arts for Learning is aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language. This Overview describes the scope of the standards and this Quick Reference Guide provides each of the standards fully or partially met within this A4L Unit, followed by the charts that specifically identify the standards addressed in each lesson and step in the Unit. The standards are also coded and listed at the beginning of each lesson in the unit. Arts for Learning also provides a comprehensive student assessment program in each unit. This A4L Assessment Toolkit Quick Reference Chart indicates an overview of the locations of the tasks to be scored in the unit.
 
Each A4L unit is developed on a common framework and contains a 3-part sequence of instruction that educational research suggests will help students become more self-directed, independent learners. There is a gradual hand-off of responsibility--from teacher to students-- that is supported by assessment and teacher help as needed. Throughout A4L units the arts serve as motive and means to advance reading for meaning and writing thoughtfully.