Today was an exciting day and a typical example of how our learning flows, especially once the kids get stuck into something.
It all started yesterday when chance brought my attention to an interesting music resource – Classical Kids. It is a set of audio CDs, each one a story woven around a famous composer with music by the composer playing in the background. I wanted to check one out to decide whether it was worth investing in a set.
Enter YouTube and voila! I found “Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery“. I played it and as is typical, one child drifted to me and then the other – they always have to see what I am up to. We were captivated by the combination of the story and the music, though the resolution of the mystery was predictable as far as my 8-year old and I were concerned.
As we sat down to lunch today, my youngest decided she wanted to listen to it again instead of watching one of her staple favourites of the moment – the Whistlefritz Spanish program and BBC’s Countryfile (yes, she adores watching anything to do with farming and animals).
We came up with some questions while we listened and I jotted them down for Ms. Google to do her job and find answers for us. One question raised was – Were Vivaldi and Stradivari (the famous violin-crafter) contemporaries? (I love it when my kids learn a new word and use it).
Ms. Google kindly found us something about the life and times of Vivaldi on Canada’s National Arts Centre Website which answered our question -yes. http://artsalive.ca/pdf/mus/vivaldi_all_e.pdf.
The kids wanted me to read the entire PDF and we discovered that the story we had listened to earlier had a lot of facts woven in. I am a huge fan of facts being interwoven into fiction and generally go ga ga when we find a book or story where this is done beautifully and seamlessly.
Needless to say, all three of us want the entire set of the Classical Kids stories, especially as they have interesting names, “Mr. Bach comes to call”, ” Song of the Unicorn” and “Tchaikovsky discovers America” to name a few. And we intend to use it in conjunction with the Canadian website mentioned above, a treasure trove we discovered by chance – http://artsalive.ca/en/mus/greatcomposers/.
Of course, we have other resources to plug in as and when we want to, including CDs, a number of websites that Ms. Google will kindly throw up for us and books such as:
- Why Beethoven Threw the Stew: And Lots More Stories from the Lives of Great Composers
- The story of the Orchestra
- Play me a story
Now, I am sure each of you has interesting ways to plug incidental learning into life, with or without kids. Please do comment and share your experiences and interesting resources, particularly how you came across them. I look forward to hearing from you.