Themed Lesson: Summer

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Age Range: Elementary

Learning Objective: Students will have opportunities to create, perform, respond and connect to pieces inspired by summer.

Note to Teachers: As opposed to a sequential lesson plan, themed lessons are a pick-and-choose model. Select repertoire and activities from the lists below based on your time and needs.



Choose one or more of the following imagination activities that mimic summer fun! These are great activities to lead into summer break or upon returning back to school. Feel free to adapt activities based on your teaching style, resources, and student needs.

  • Summer (Four Seasons), by Vivaldi: This 11-minute piece of music makes for great picnic music! If possible, invite students outside to eat a snack and play the music. If outdoors or food are not possible, let students use their imagination! After listening and pretending, ask children to describe their picnic. What color was your picnic blanket? What did you pack in your picnic basket?

  • California Stars, by Billy Bragg and Wilco: This 5-minute piece of music offers a great soundtrack for a pretend stargazing session. Turn off the lights, allow students to spread out, and (if possible) shine flashlights at the ceiling or walls as “stars.”

  • Symphony No. 1, by Mahler: This piece of music almost sounds like walking into the woods. If it’s possible, take a nature walk or hike while listening to this 13-minute piece. If you can’t go outside, listen to a part of it while moving around the room pretending to hike.

  • I have dreamt (Wuthering Heights), Bernard Herrman: Summer activities aren’t always outside! Summer is a great time to curl up with a book - inside or out! Listen to a little part of Herrman’s opera, Wuthering Heights, based on the famous novel by Emily Bronte.

  • Hedwig’s Theme, by John Williams: Pretend to have a movie night! The best thing about movies is their soundtracks, and here’s a classic one!

  • Jeux d'eau, by Maurice Ravel: Pretend to have a water day! Imagine running through the sprinkler or throwing water balloons. The title of this piece literally translates to “water play.”

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Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

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