This month we are learning all about the Nutcracker. We will be listening/dancing/creating as we immerse ourselves in Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet. This week we started reading the story and are using Susan Jeffer’s version. We chose her retelling because of it’s limited text which as we know keeps the attention of our listeners much better than too many words per page.
I ask the children to listen closely then turn on “March” having them guess whose music they think is playing first (Nutcracker and his soldiers). We then listen to the second section and they guess whose music this sounds like (the mice). The class is then split up with half being the mice and the other half being the solders. The children are only to move when their “music” plays. When the C and D sections plays I have the children freeze and wait till they hear their music again.
Below is the listening map we use later to provide a visual guide to each motif. You’ll notice that each motif is represented by 1 of 4 characters- the Nutcracker, the mouse king, Godfather Drosselmeyer, and a sugarplum fairy. Godfather Drosselmeyer and the sugarplum fairy are depicted as being larger because their motifs are longer in length. This is where we freeze when moving to the song. If you don’t want to make your own listening map, visit our Teachers Pay Teachers store for the listening map activity.