I thought I’d leave a few tips on how to integrate opera into the curriculum!
Just imagine a classroom whose culture is creatively honed to look forward to performing an opera! So many things that this classroom does reminds them of their opera work, and even re-energizes the learners every day. Here are some things that you can do as a teacher!
1. Talk about your opera a lot. Remind students how enthusiastic you are about it and about how creative and disciplined they are.
2. Sing. There are singing games in the Opera By Children Handbook. Use them! A day should not go by when your students don’t sing. Singing songs from the opera is great, but singing other songs is great, too! If they aren’t used to singing, they won’t suddenly be great singers when the opera takes place on a stage in front of parents, siblings, friends, and grandparents. So sing!
3. Do Drama. It doesn’t have to be big, and it doesn’t have to take long. Use drama as often as you can for doing simple things like lining up for recess. If your opera is about pirates, for example, have them line up as if they were pirates. The more used they are to being pirates, the stronger their performance will be at the end. You can try other things, too, such as acting like a pirate–but only from the waist down (walk like a pirate). Do piratey things throughout the year. Send them out to seek treasure.
4. Go BEYOND your opera story and do other things, in your classroom learning, that pirates (or whoever your characters are) do. These things could include Math, Science, Language Arts, Character Ed, or anything else. Just use your creativity to help them not only be pirates, but to make better emotional ties to other subjects. When making a worksheet, make sure pirates are on it. Instead of having Dick and Jane solve a story problem, have Captain Blackbeard solve the story problem and make the story problem have pirate-related material. How many pounds of potatoes do 10 pirates need in a week (math)? What would Two Eyed Pete say in a letter of complaint to his Captain (language arts)? The possibilities are ENDLESS. Just have fun and be creative!
It’s going to be a great year for opera!
GO FOR IT!