Ashley Hall's Professional Education Portfolio

K-12 Certified Music Educator

Substandard D


Knowledge of subject matter and pedagogy with reference to the MCF and other state sponsored resources, for consistent and equitable learning in Michigan schools, including the ability to:

d. Design instruction so that students are engaged in actively integrating and transferring knowledge across the curriculum;

This substandard addresses the teacher’s ability to design instruction that engages students to transfer knowledge cross-curricular. I’ve dappled with this idea in my elementary music teaching many times.

I once taught a lesson plan to a 1st/2nd grade class titled, “Listening and Expression of Music through Visual Artistic Illustrations.” In this lesson plan, I had the students listen to pieces of classical music and draw on blank paper using any medium they chose (pencil, pen, crayons, color pencils, markers, etc) an illustration of what they believed to be happening in the song. Here is the original lesson (please note that this type of lesson plan can be modified and done with ANY grade level, this was just the grade level I was working with at the time).

Grade level of lesson plan: 1st or 2nd Grade (can be modified to include additional grade levels)

Lesson Title or Topic: Listening and Expression of Music through Visual Artistic Illustrations

Focus Music:

  • Holst, Gustavus Theodore von, The Planets Suite: Mars, the Bringer of War, Recording by the Peabody Concert Orchestra, 2003.
  • Whitacre, Eric, Luxs Auruque, Recording by the Bringham Young University Singers, 2006.
  • Holst, Gustavus Theodore von, Second Suite in F for Military Band: Song of the Blacksmith, Recorded by the Philharmonic Orchestra, 2005.
  • Each of these pieces was chosen because they have an “image” or “action” in which they portray. Through the illustration of each piece, the students should be able to pick up on some sort of mood, color, or characteristic that can be related back to the motivation influence behind the original work.

Standard(s) Addressed:

  • National Standards;

6. Listening to, analyzing, and/or describing music.
7. Evaluating music and music performances.
8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture.

  • Michigan Standards:

ART.I.M.EL.11: Identify symbols and traditional terms referring to dynamics, tempo, and articulation and interpret them correctly when performing (modified for younger age groups).

ART.II.M.EL.6: Create and arrange music to accompany readings, dramatizations, or visual media.

ART.III.M.EL.4: Identify the sounds of a variety of instruments, including many orchestra, band and electronic instruments, and instruments from various cultures, as well as children’s voices and male and female adult voices (through classroom discussion of completed illustrations).

ART.III.M.EL.6: Devise criteria for evaluating performances and compositions.

Lesson Objective:

  • Students will continue in their identification of specific instrumental sections/individual instruments.
  • Students will being to identify the specific “color” and timbre of specific instruments and there overall effect on the piece.
  • Students will demonstrate the relationships between music and other art forms, such as expressive illustration.
  • Students will identify the “mood” of a piece of music; students will also identify with self.


  • White, 8.5” by 11” computer paper or construction/art paper for each student.
  • Crayons, markers, felt pens, pencils, pens, etc. for drawing purposes.
  • Stereo system with speaker capabilities and media input for playing music files.
  • Floor or desk space for students to spread out and develop own personal work space.


  • Begin class with an introduction to exercise (5-10 minutes). Students will need to;

1). Take three pieces of clean white paper with no lines or markings on it.

2). Get either crayons, markers, felt pens, etc. to use on the paper.

3). Find a quiet spot, either at their desk or on the floor, where they can draw on the paper.

4). Put on their “audience manners;” this means we’re going to pretend that we’re in the actual audience, listening to a performance, and remember our good concert manners (listening carefully and identifying what we hear, no talking, no excessive motion, etc).

  • Explain that this exercise consists of three songs; each song has a different quality to it. You might think one is happy, one is sad, one is fast and mean, or slow and pretty.
  • For each song, you will use one piece of paper. On that piece of paper, you will draw what you hear in the song. Students will listen for specific sounds, instruments, colors, rhythms, etc.
  • Use of colors to represent moods, instruments, rhythms, etc. are encouraged.
  • Repeat the preceding three steps for the additional two pieces (20 minutes).
  • After song pictures are complete, the teacher will turn off the music and ask students to please raise their hands to be selected on in order to share one of their choices in their musical illustration (example: “I used the color red to show the anger in the piece.”).

*It may be necessary, especially for the younger age group, to have your own examples present. Try to let the students share on their own as much as they can first though, as to not be influenced by your work or choices. (5-15 minutes)


  • As the students are working (20 minutes), teacher will be able to walk around the work space and assess the student’s “work-in-progress.” Students who are participating actively throughout the full duration of the time will receive full participation marks for the day.
  • Students will share in class their choices and reasonings for their music illustrations. This assessment is vital towards the children’s future “performance” experiences in music classes.
  • Teacher will collect the pictures and give credit to those who completed the assignment. Also, teacher can make comments to be used later in the semester for grade report marks or make records of the functionality of the assignment for future use.

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