Learn All Year Long
Read for My Summer
Beat the summer heat with engaging activities from ReadWriteThink.org.
ReadWriteThink has a variety of resources for out-of-school use. Visit our Parent & Afterschool Resources section to learn more.
Send Postcards From the Concert
- Computer with Internet access, speakers, and printer
- “Summer” by Antonio Vivaldi, available at Stormy Weather
- Pencil and paper
- Online Postcard Creator and planning sheet
- Scissors and tape or glue
- Crayons or markers
To prepare for this activity, listen to the piece “Summer” from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi at Stormy Weather. This piece is played by an orchestra and is meant to sound like a coming thunderstorm.
If you want to find your own music, look for instrumental music that is not too long. Classical, jazz, or bluegrass music all work well. You will find two more samples of classical music at Stormy Weather and still more at Xploring Xtremes: The Concert Program. You will need a way to play the music for the child you are working with.
You may also want to visit the online Postcard Creator and print off several copies of the planning sheet. Listen to “Summer” or the piece of music you have chosen and write your own postcard response to it.
|1.||Introduce the music you will be listening to (e.g., who wrote it, the name of the piece, what type of music it is, what instruments are playing).
Ask the child to close his or her eyes and listen to “Summer” or the piece you have chosen. After the music has finished playing, ask the child how the song made him or her feel. Questions to ask include
|3.||Play the piece again and ask the child to use the words from Step 2 to write simple sentences. If the child is having trouble doing this, share your own thoughts about the music—for example, “The drum sounds like thunder. Thunder is powerful. Thunder can shake the walls of the house.”
|4.||Talk about how you could combine those simple sentences into one. Play around with some different combinations until you find the one that sounds the best. For example, “The drum sounds like powerful thunder that can shake the walls of the house.”
|5.||If you are working with a group of children, ask them to begin combining sentences together. If it’s just one child, suggest some combinations and give the child a chance to write down two or three different combinations and then read them aloud. Talk about which ones you think sound best and why.
|6.||Listen to the piece again, this time pretending you are at a concert. While the music plays, ask the child to read the combined sentences and revise them.
|7.||Introduce the Postcard Creator and planning sheet. Tell the child that you will be using the sentences to create a postcard about the music from the “concert.” Ask the child to choose a person (e.g., a family member or friend) to send the postcard to.
|8.||Use the planning sheet to go over all of the elements needed to complete a postcard (e.g., mailing address, greeting, body text). Encourage the child to add sentences or change what he or she has written with the recipient in mind. For example, a postcard to a cousin might begin, “Remember that storm that knocked down the oak tree in Grandma’s yard? Today, I heard a song that made me think of that day.”
|9.||The planning sheet also asks the child to draw a main image for the postcard and select a picture of a stamp. Have the child look at the message on the postcard and come up with a related picture to draw, print from a website, or cut out from a magazine. For a music theme, consider musical notes, a musical instrument, or a photograph of the composer or artist who performed the piece. The planning sheet displays 12 stamps for the child to choose from. If there is no perfect stamp for the postcard’s theme, encourage the child to select a stamp the recipient would like and explain why.
|10.||Ask the child to transfer the information from the planning sheet to the online Postcard Creator. After printing the postcard, allow time for drawing or pasting the main image onto the postcard.
|11.||Use regular envelopes—and real stamps, of course!—to send the postcard to its recipient.|
- Now that the child has tried an imaginary concert, why not take him or her to a real one? Many communities offer free concerts, especially outdoors in warm weather. After the show, be sure to ask for the child’s impressions. What would a postcard about this concert say?
- To further perfect the postcard message, ask the child if the sentences do anything to suggest the style of music or its rhythm. Should the sentences be soft and quiet with lots of lazy turns? Or maybe the sentences should be loud and sharp with lots of exclamation points!
Visit the Postcard Creator page for more information about this tool.
A step in the process of writing something when the person who is writing makes changes to words and ideas. Revising can include adding, changing, or removing words and responding to comments from other readers.