Happy Birthday, Beethoven

Beethoven cards3One of my favorite holidays is coming up soon.  If you have been following me over the years, you know it’s not just the traditional holidays, but a very special one – Beethoven’s Birthday on December 16th!

December (or any month, really) is a great time to spend some time listening to some of his music.  Start with something you are familiar with, say Fur Elise or the familiar theme of the Fifth Symphony.  Listening to music together with your class is a wonderful experience that can build community and even better, you can use these listening experiences to integrate with other areas of the curriculum.  For example, you could listen to Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture  and have the students come up with a main character, setting and plot to develop a story.  Another great piece for this would be the Egmont Overture.  Both are just over 8 minutes and may be too long to listen to in class, however listening to an excerpt is a great way to get a feel for the piece and inspire a great storyline.  And if you go this far, you can certainly set up a listening station to allow students to listen to more.  What can be even better, is when a student searches for these pieces on their own time and invests their own time listening to the music at home!

Another thing you can do is invite your students to share their own artistic and creative talents on Beethoven’s birthday.  In past years, I have had students sign up to perform Beethoven’s music at an All-Beethoven Recital.  Students can perform on their recorders or a keyboard, and some even may want to write their own poetry and rap about the man and his music.

A nice and easy activity to do to celebrate Beethoven’s birthday is to make birthday cards!  This is always a favorite for students who have been learning about the man and listening to his music.  These are some examples from a few years ago.  I asked students to make these cards and they really got into it, especially when they learned I would not only display them, but then share them with my grandfather who was my inspiration to admire Beethoven and his wonderful music.

Beethoven cards1

There are so many reasons to celebrate and create great things this month.  Don’t let it pass by without a fun activity that celebrates one of the greatest composers!


Celebrate Ludwig van Beethoven in the Classroom
Celebrate Ludwig van Beethoven in the Classroom
This eResource is built for any teacher who enjoys music, especially that of Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven is one of the world’s most beloved composers of all time. Now, you can integrate the music and the man into other areas of the curriculum. This resource was created using activities and materials used in classrooms by students of all ages. Now it is compiled and ready to be used by you and your students. From reading to math, penmanship to performance, students are sure to enjoy the activities that are embedded in this 24 page arts integration eResource!
Price: $3.95

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Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of www.theinspiredclassroom.com. She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and a C.A.G.S. degree with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and organizes the annual summer Teacher Art Retreat. Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
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