Texting Beethoven

If I could text message Beethoven, what would I say?  Would I comment on his amazing talents, express concern about his emotional highs and lows, or simply text him to say thank you for his gift of music?  While reflecting on these thoughts, I wondered what would students say if they were able to text Beethoven or any composer/musician for that matter.  My plan was to have 6th grade students express themselves using their form of communication.  Texting.  Well... so of.  Maybe not by phone or by a tablet of some sort, but on paper.  Maybe this would help bring to life the composers who have "decomposed" so to speak.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

In order for the students to text Beethoven, they needed to learn about him. In the first lesson, the students did a compare and contrast Double Bubble Thinking Map while listening to Beethoven's 5th Symphony done with two different versions.  They listened to Beethoven's 5th Symphony that was an orchestral version.  Then the students then listened to the 1970's remake by Walter Murphy.  It was wonderful to hear the descriptive words the students used to explain both versions.

The following lesson for this project was the viewing of Beethoven Lives Upstairs.  The students were then able to discover information about his character as a person, as well as his intense love of music.  Once the video was completed, (it had to be seen in two separate viewings) the students were able to finally have enough information to "text" Beethoven.

These little paper IPhone or IPod stickies came from Walmart and cost .97 cents a pack.  As a class, we discussed the word bubbles on the phone and the way the conversation works when texting.  Although we realized that if we are initiating the text to Beethoven his name would be listed at the top, we decided to put the student's name at the top.  We followed the same direction of the word bubble, meaning Beethoven's word bubble would be on the left and the student on the right.  

We also discussed that each sticky would be placed outside the music room door and every teacher and student in the school would pass by it on the way to lunch.  This sparked a conversation about how information in text messages could be seen by others if someone picks up the phone and reads the conversation written.  They began to share how important it is to think before you text, post or even write something down. They felt that if you do not want someone else to see it, then don't text/write it.  As an educator and adult, I was very pleased with their conclusion.

Texting Beethoven Lesson Post it

The completed sticky was worth 4 points and could be obtained if the student mentioned at least 3 things listed below:
*Used his name
*Mentioned a composition written by the composer
*Mentioned the genre or era
*Named another artist that rearranged one of his compositions
*Could describe something about the composer through the conversation such as his temperament or information about his life.

The students seemed to enjoy the lesson and shared solid information about Beethoven.


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