Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Amahl and the Night Visitors

In my previous post, I mentioned "Amahl and the Night Visitors." I have always wanted to talk about opera with the students and they have begged me to use my "opera" voice. However, I have never been able to figure out how to do it successfully for my students --- until now!

Bless you, Tracy King aka The Bulletin Board Lady! 

She recently posted about it here: Rockin' Resources and provided a link to her TeachersPayTeachers store for the product.

I was also able to find the VHS she mentioned from Amazon. I don't have time to do the whole unit/set she provided, but I was able to put my own twist on it. My primary students will do some coloring while they listen to the music. In the future, I'd like the intermediate students to do some comparing of themselves with Amahl through the venn diagram Tracy provides.

I created a powerpoint of pictures from various performances to give the students a little background on the store. Then, we looked at the first verse of words to "We Three Kings." Many students knew these words already, but we did sing it once and talk about the meaning behind the verse.

Here's the fun part - next, we added CUPS! I discovered this wonderful resource from ComposeCreate.com. I usually use this resource for ideas on piano and how to add new things to my studio. However, this activity looked so fun I had to use it in the music classroom!

You can have a piano player accompany the group, but I put the provided cup rhythms to a children's group singing "We Three Kings." We practiced by ourselves first at different tempos and then added the passing. This does work for any level, as you can keep it to yourself or move the cups in groups. 

My kids loved it! It was also very relatable to many of them, as they have learned variations of cup routines by watching YouTube, friends, movies, etc. Here are some photos of my 5th graders trying it out:

We will start the video of the opera this week and finish it next week. I'll also be using my "opera" voice in the talent show before Christmas break. It will be fun for the students to hear mine in comparison to the different voices they heard in the video. 

Both Tracy King and Wendy at ComposeCreate.com have wonderful resources throughout year. Tracy just gave some new bulletin board ideas for winter and Wendy released several ideas for cup rhythm explorations. Be sure to check them out! 


  1. Thanks for the shout out Christine! I love the Camels and Cups! I think I may have to add that to my plans for next week! :-)

  2. I often use Amahl in my Opera Unit. I've created a Prezi which can be done during a class period (mostly) it hits the highlights and arias with some introductory material as well. I'll be happy to share with you if you like. email me at lshaughnessy@spotswood.k12.nj.us.
    Lauren Shaughnessy