Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Composers Activity Pak (Grades 3-8) Review

     Have you ever wanted to know more about classical composers?  Well, today I have an awesome product to introduce you to.  This product would work perfectly for any music appreciation subject, music history, or an add on to your normal music lessons. 

     As some of you know our family has been having so much fun this year with learning to play piano.  The girls have had some introduction to classical composers with that.  So when I was offered the opportunity to try out the 'Composers Activity Pak' for Grades 3-8, I jumped at it.  I was thinking - "this is perfect timing".  I thought it would be a great little compliment to our music homeschool.  It's done by Amy Pak from Home School in the Woods.

     I've actually seen and used her work previously, so I KNEW it was going to be an awesome and quality product.  We've had her Timeline Figures in our home for many years.  I love them so much that we have used them a LOT.  I think every year since I purchased them actually.  What can I say?  We love history and her artwork is astonishing beautiful.   It was one of those indispensable History tools that I don't know how we would of got through without.  They are a must, but I seriously digress.  Today I want to tell you about her Composers Activity Pak

{ Check out what's IN the Pak~!! }

{ About the product }

Inside you'll find 8 separate activities:
  •  Periods of Music
  •  Keyboard Vocabulary
  •  Collection of Composers
  •  Composers Timeline
  •  Pieces with a Purpose
  •  Music Appreciation
  •  The Orchestra File Folder Display
  •  Composers Cards

     The first 6 are for the lapbook, the next for a separate file folder, and the last for a game.

     You'll meet 42 Composers from the past and learn about different periods of classical music.  Each composer is carefully and beautifully drawn.  They are realistically represented so that you could easily pick out who they are if you were to see them in an encyclopedia, art museum, or other historical work.

     Each activity is modeled and has clear concise information on how to put it all together.  For non-lapbookers, and non-crafty peoples this is still a very viable and easy product to use. 

     Amy also gives a page for suggestions for additional resources.  That would also be handy if you wanted to get into more depth on the subject.

{ What We Received }

     We received a full complimentary pdf version of the Composers Activity Pak for Grades 3-8.  

{ How It All Came Together }

     There is a fair amount to print.  Everything from instructions to the printables that will make up the lapbook and resources.  One should take the time as you progress through each activity to think about what colors you want your printouts to be in.  

 1.  We selected our file folder and got to work on the cover.

2.  We worked on our Periods of Music.

There is a cute little information packed Periods of Music book.

3.  Then we tackled some Keyboard Vocabulary.  I must say that the girls found this quite a novel little thing.  Especially since it presented in the form of a keyboard.  There are two sides to the Keyboard Vocabulary - I've only given you a picture of the left hand side here.  Each note lifts up to give a definition of a vocabulary word underneath.  When they are all closed it looks like a normal piano keyboard.

4.  Then we started work on the Collection of Composers.  Now this little collection did take some time.  Each composer { and remember there are 42 of them } got cut and put into little booklets.  I printed the booklets in red and composers in white.  So there was some nice color differentiation going on between the background, booklets, and composers.

5.  Then of course we started looking at specific information on some of the composers.

6.  Then we had some fun with putting the Composers Timeline together.  I printed the base of the timeline out on blue paper.  That way it would really highlight the composers who were in white.  The timeline is presented as an accordion book which folds up nicely and hides underneath the Periods of Music fold out.

It's a reasonable length too when it's unfolded.  It's 5 x A5 in length.  I noticed that Chloe { my 8 year old } recognized a few of them by sight.

7.  Next came the Pieces with Purpose.  The girls LOVED those.  Not sure if they were curious about the information or not, but the crown and purse sure got their attention.  It actually might of been a little distraction at their ages { 8 and 6 } since they were very focused on those pieces.  Anyway, moving right along.  There's information that's printed, cut out, and stuck to each picture.  I did have to use a split pin for one of the pieces too.  

They thought they were so cute.  I had to print out EXTRAS so that they could play with them separately.  This is what they did with the crowns and purses.  I think Hannah ended up with a set as well.

8.  Next we looked at the Music Appreciation activity.  Amy has provided beautiful notebooking styled pages for this activity.  

     I gave this particular activity to my two teenager boys.  That's why there's NO pretty pictures in there.  They're boys.  What can I say?  But they did enjoy the activity.  There are 18 different composers with samples of their works to listen to.  In fact there's over 90 mins of classical music to whet your childs classical appetite.

9.  Then we moved on to checking out the The Orchestra file folder display.  

     I decided to NOT turn it into a separate file folder.  So I just taped up the two sides together once it was printed and cut down.

     We then put the cover on the outside, so it opened it up like a book.  This kept it's size down so that we could keep it with the lapbook.

It shows where all the instruments are located in an orchestra according to their periods.  There are 4 different periods to choose from. 

Just swap in / out which period you want to display.

10.  Lastly we checked out the Composer Cards.  To use the game cards as a matching exercise / go fish / concentration was a bit difficult.  So what I'm thinking is that we will make booklets with them so that we have the composer on one side and their matching information on the other.  

There are 20 different composers for the game.

And their matching backs / information.

      Amy also provides a beautiful matching "Composers" title piece to print out for each of your cards as well.  It just depends on how you want to use them as to what you'll print and how.

{ What We Thought }

     We just love Amy's art work.  It really makes History come alive for us.  

     In regard to the Composer Activity Pak, you'll gain an impressive amount of knowledge of the Composers by the time you've traveled through the lapbook and other resources.  There is a LOT to do.  I think that it could easily be spaced out to form a whole subject for a year.  Depending on the age of the child. The lapbook itself makes a beautiful keepsake that you can keep and use for years to come.

     I had 4 of my children help complete the lapbook.  Daniel - 17, Caleb - 15, Chloe - 8, and Phebe - 6.  They even recognized some of the composers, and they got to see and hear about a few more.  It was great to see that recognition in their eyes and hear them talk about them.

     As a general rule we wouldn't normally do any lapbooking in our homeschool.  It just hasn't been something that we've really ventured into.  After receiving the download and I realised how much material there was I did have a little initial worry about our ability to actually put it all together. As it turned out I never needed to have had that worry though.  There are plenty of instructions with pictures of the process as well.  It all came together beautifully without any hiccups at all.  

     Download the pdf today for $18.95 or purchase the CD for $19.95.  

     Thanks for visiting, and don't forget to tour Home School in the Woods for additional information about their product and other products that they have.  Oh and please do check out some of the other awesome reviews on the Composers Activity Pak ( Grades 3-8 ) done by fellow crew members.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey! This review was very helpful and informative. I wanted to use this pack with my five-year-old, but I wasn't sure if it would be too advanced. Alyssa works above her age and grade level, but I didn't want to frustrate her if it were too hard. Can you please tell me more about how your six-year-old did with this pack? Did you have to adapt anything? Was she retaining the information? Thanks for the help. I am looking for a supplemental lapbook for our music curriculum and feel this might be a good product to further research.


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