Alison Geesey Lagan
Music Educator & Choral Conductor

Click here to edit subtitle


Though my emphasis was in high school choral music, I also student taught in an elementary general music setting, teaching students in kindergarten through fifth grade in two elementary schools.  Through this experience, I was also able to work with the elementary choir, consisting of fourth and fifth grade students.  

Even though my student teaching course only required me to write a unit plan for my emphasis, I also chose to create a three lesson unit for the elementary students.  I taught this lesson to all students in kindergarten through second grade, making adaptations as necessary.  I chose to create a unit on Beethoven, focusing on facts about his life and his fifth symphony.  Though the main part of my lessons involved Beethoven's Fifth, I also used several movement "mirroring" activities from John Feierabend's "Move It!" series that incorporated some of Beethoven's piano music.  Below is a sample of one of my lessons from that unit; this one in particular was the third of my three lessons, and this version was taught to my second grade classes.  It was a wonderful learning experience for me to have the opportunity to plan my own elementary lessons!

"Miss Geesey was not only a great conductor and teacher but also the most personable and friendly student teacher I've ever had."
-12th Grade Student in Master Singers, SCAHS

"My favorite music teacher I've had in music because she felt comfortable making jokes with us but also got work done at the same time.  Teachers who are too serious aren't what make music enjoyable."
-12th Grade Student in Master Singers, SCAHS

"Miss Geesey had a way of connecting with us as students that allowed us to make the music more meaningful.  She was a delight to sing for!"
-12th Grade Student in Master Singers and Chamber Singers, SCAHS

Grade Level: 1st/2nd Grade

Title: Alison’s Beethoven Unit – Lesson 3

Lesson #28



·   SWBAT Sing Independently in 2 Groups in a Round

·   SWBAT Decode/Read Rhythms with Rests

·   SWBAT Provide Info/Facts About Beethoven

·   SWBAT Recognize & Define Form

·   SWBAT Mirror Teacher’s Purposeful Movements to Music

·   SWBAT Copy and Create Rhythms (with and without rests)

·   SWBAT ID Beethoven’s 5th


  1. 3 Behavior Discs for: (Note: This was a behavior management system put in place by my cooperating teacher, where students had to earn   all 3 behavior "discs" in order to receive a "guitar" for the day; guitars could then eventually earn them "talent sharing" days.)
    1. Reviewing Songs/Reading Rhythms
    2. Movement Activity/Beethoven "Composer" Activity
    3. Writing/Creating Rhythms
    1. The Month of April (taken from Silver-Burdett's Making Music – Grade 3, pg. 318)
      1. Teacher will review song with students and have them sing it two times in a row.
      2. Teacher will split the class into two groups and have the class sing as a round; teacher will help groups with entrances as necessary.
    2. Garden Song (taken from Silver-Burdett's Making Music – Grade 3, pg. 322)
      1. Students are permitted to use their books for this exercise.
      2. Teacher will teach students the second verse, having them echo short phrases after her.
      3. Teacher will have students echo longer phrases after her.
      4. Teacher will sing through the entire second verse once with the students.
      5. Teacher will provide an accompaniment at the piano and have students sing through verses one and two.
    1. Rhythms with Quarter/Eighth Rests
      1. Teacher reads rhythms with eighth/quarter rests and students will echo.
      2. Students decode rhythms with eighth/quarter rests and speak them without help from the teacher.
    1. Mirror Movement from “Move It 2!” – Beethoven, Six Ecossaises WoO 83, No. 1
      1. Students will mirror teacher’s movement to the music.
    1. History of Beethoven Facts
      1. Teacher will ask students what they remember about Beethoven and what they have learned so far:
        1. His job, what kind of music he wrote, how many symphonies he wrote, what happened to him at the end of his life (deaf), what symphony we have been studying, what country he is from?
        2. New fact to introduce: how he cut the legs off his pianos and sat on the floor to feel the vibrations (as he was going deaf).
  6. APPLY
    1. “Form” Activity
      1. Introductory “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” Activity
        1. Teacher splits students into 2 groups (“A” and “B”).
        2. Students perform “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” where part A only sings “twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are” and part B only sings “up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.”
        3. Students ID the form of Twinkle (ABA)— teacher explains form is the “recipe” used in music by composers.
        4. Students create their own “form” for Twinkle (ie. AABA, ABBA, AABB, etc).
          1. Teacher will choose student volunteers to write their form on the front whiteboard for the class to perform; students will have four spaces to fill and must use A and B at least once each.
      2. Beethoven’s 5th Opening Form Activity
        1. Students stay in their two groups (A and B).
        2. Teacher plays short excerpts of A’s theme (opening, in minor) and B’s theme (horns, in major) so they can ID them as they hear the full beginning of this movement.
        3. Teacher instructs students to mirror her movements when they hear their sections being played (teacher will keep steady beat on different parts of her body).
          1. If their part is being played, students must stand while mirroring the teacher’s movements; if their part isn’t being played, students must sit on the carpet and mirror the teacher’s movements.  This helps to clearly show what section is being played by the orchestra.
        4. At end of 2:30 recording, students ID form of Beethoven’s 5th (ABAB).
    1. Students practice copying rhythm patterns as shown on board (including quarter and eighth rests); students flip/show board when they are finished so teacher can check/assess them.
    1. Teacher shows students Beethoven’s opening theme notation on the front board.
    2. Students create their own rhythm that ends in a half note like Beethoven.
      1. For guidance purposes, teacher shows what they can use on the front board.
        1. Students are permitted to use two “blocks” (which are equal to one beat) before the half note; each block can either be a quarter note, two eighth notes, a quarter rest, or an eighth rest plus an eighth note.
      2. Students flip/show board when they are finished.
    3. Teacher checks students’ rhythms as they finished and has them read their rhythm out loud; students may then put their whiteboards away, put their books away under their chairs, and line up.
    1. Fantasia 2000 Beethoven’s 5th Opening