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Impact II: Projects & Lesson Plans: The Nutcracker: An Integrated Curriculum

The Nutcracker: An Integrated Curriculum

HOW I T WORKS
The Nutcracker: An Integrated Curriculum is a literacy-based project using the story of The Nutcracker as its foundation. By reading and viewing videotapes of several versions of The Nutcracker, students are introduced to the story elements of a fairy tale. They discover how these elements are illustrated using text, ballet, and script. Students work in groups to conduct discussions comparing and contrasting the different  story versions. Cooperative learning strategies are implemented by various groups of children who utilize discussion and computers for research. Students work on independent responses to the literature and compose their own versions of the story using a word-processing  program.  Science is integrated into this program by asking students to notice how mood is created and developed by using weather elements throughout a text. Children research seasonal weather conditions. They compare and contrast weather patterns around the world, especially those countries that experience similar weather as in the story, i.e., France, Switzerland, Ger-many, and London. Bringing in nutcrackers and discovering how they are used as a tool further integrates science. This is expanded by reading about nutcracker birds and their habitats throughout the world. Students utilize geographical skills to locate where the nutcracker birds originate.  Computer technology is utilized with the Internet and Grolier’s Encyclopedia CD-Rom to research the history of fairy tales. By using word-processing programs, the students improve their computer and language skills. Children create stories about an experience with snow. Math is integrated through the examination  of various graphs of snowfalls in major cities. 

THE STUDENTS
This program has been conducted with a class of 30 third-grade students. It can be easily adapted for grades one through five. Different grade levels of the book exist for the different reading levels of students. More advanced students can use the play version. Children can view photographs from different scenes, and students who have difficulties can use cassette/books.

THE STAFF
Paula Press is an experienced reading teacher at P.S. 14Q. Under the direction of the principal,  Dr. Rosemary Sklar, P.S.14Q has been recognized by Chancellor Levy as one of 20 exemplary schools in the New York City Public School System. The school and staff were recognized for their work in Standards-based education.  The school has over 2000 students with a faculty of almost 200. 

WHAT YOU NEED
This program was conducted in a third-grade classroom equipped with three computers with word-processing software. The materials needed are different versions of The Nutcracker and music for the ballet by Tchaikovsky, science texts on weather and nutcracker birds, and basic art materials. 

OVERALL VALUE
The Nutcracker: An Integrated Curriculum meets various Language Arts Standards while children develop a healthy appreciation of different art forms and means of self-expression. They enjoy sharing fairy tale elements of dreams and dramatizing stories. Students can read a unit on other fairy tales to compare characters and their adventures. They will be able to verbalize their ideas and write reports utilizing standards and rubrics. They will be able to recreate scenery to describe the element of mood that snow creates in The Nutcracker. Research will integrate details, facts, history of ballet, theatre elements, and music. Children can enjoy dancing to the music and dramatizing their favorite scenes, engage in role-playing, and design a class mural, all of which promotes self-esteem. Teachers can also plan a class trip to see a production of The Nutcracker.

View the Curriculum Unit/Dissemination Packet

CURRICULUM AREAS
Language Arts
Dance
Music
Science
Math
Technology


GRADES
1-5

MORE INFORMATION

Paula Press
Fairview Elementary
P.S. 14Q
107-01 Otis Avenue
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 699-6071
balletlit1@aol.com
Principal: 
Dr. Rosemary Sklar

 

IMPACT II Catalog 2001-2002

 

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