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The Christmas season is a great time to learn about Georg Frideric Handel and his Oratorio, "Messiah." Here's a short unit on Handel that that I created using The Checklist as a planning guide. The items in bold are taken from The Checklist.

  1. Composers and Musicians of the World - Georg Frideric Handel, Germany, 1685-1759 (page 172).
    1. Websites:
      1. Arts Alive - biography of Handel.
      2. Wikipedia - biography of Handel.
      3. Classics for Kids - Handel.
      4. Handel's last will and image.
      5. Timeline of historical events at the time of King George II (page 62 - write in) and Handel's Messiah.
    2. Activities:
      1. Reading:
        1. George Handel (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers) by Mike Venezia. An easy-to-read biography of George Frideric Handel. ISBN: 0516445391. Gr. 1-5 
        2. Handel and the Court of Kings by Opal Wheeler. A wonderful children's book about Handel written in the 1940s. It is currently out of print. If you can find a copy, you'll want to get it for your library!
      2. Composition - write a report or biography of Handel. Use Famous Person Report, if desired. Create a section of your music notebook for Music History. Add biography to notebook.
      3. Complete the Classics for Kids activity sheets.
      4. Just for Fun: The Handel's Messiah Family Advent Reader by Donna W. Payne. The 'Handel's Messiah Family Advent Reader' provides daily readings that are biblically-based and culturally rich. With intriguing stories explaining well-known Christmas customs, each reading features a different portion of the libretto from Handel's Messiah and offers a spiritual insight that links the story to an important principle. Includes a CD with portions of Handel's Messiah. ISBN 0802455743.
  2. History of Music - Baroque Period (page 171)
    1. Websites:
      1. Baroque Period.
      2. Baroque Architecture.
      3. Baroque Art.
    2. Activities - Listens to Music of All Types (Music Appreciation), page 170
      1. Listen to Baroque music samples.
      2. Include pictures and reports on music periods in your music notebook.
  3. Culture Study: Modern England (pg. 57)
    1. Websites:
      1. England: Country Reports and Fact File on England.
      2. History of London (page 60).
    2. Activities:
      1. Country Report: England. Create a country report on Modern England using The Checklist (page 57) as a guideline as to what to include in the report.
      2. Just for Fun: Jigsaw Puzzle of London.
      3. Print out maps for Germany, Italy, and England. Label the capital, major mountains ranges, waterways, & cities. Include a compass rose and map key.
      4. England Outline Map.
      5. Italy Outline Map.
      6. Germany Outline Map.
  4. Map Skills - Countries of the World & Major Religions (pg. 75): Germany and Italy
    1. Websites:
      1. Germany country Reports.
      2. Italy county reports.
    2. Activities:
      1. Print map of Europe. Label Germany, Italy, and England.
      2. Germany Quiz.
      3. Label Me Printout, Germany.
      4. Label Me Printout, Italy (Optional - must subscribe $20/yr).
      5. Draw and color the flag of England.
      6. Draw and color the flag of Italy.
      7. Draw and color the German flag.
      8. Play Geo Spy. Select Countries Game and then move Crossbar over the area of Europe.
      9. Create a "Global Pumpkin."
        1. Obtain a pumpkin.
        2. Using puffy paint, draw lines of major continents, longitude and latitude lines. Paint each continent a different color, except red.
        3. Paint oceans blue.
        4. Outline and paint the countries of England, Germany and Italy in red.
  5. Musical Instruments and Their Families. Keyboard Instruments: Piano, Accordion, Organ (page 170. Write in "clavichord" and "harpsichord"
    1. Websites:
      1. Harpsichord.
      2. Clavichord.
      3. Organ.
      4. Piano.
      5. Accordion.
    2. Activities:
      1. Listen to a Harpsichord.
      2. Listen to an Organ.
      3. Listen to a Piano.
      4. Answer the question: Which one do you like best? Why?
      5. Create a section in your music notebook for instruments. Draw or cut out and paste pictures of instruments. Label with name of instrument and family.
    3. Field Trip: Go to a live concert featuring one of these instruments.
  6. Music Forms - Oratorio (write in)
    1. Oratorios are basically operas without costumes and scenery. In them, a chorus of singers tells a story by singing it to the audience. Usually the story is taken from the Bible. Messiah is Handel's best known oratorio):
    2. Websites
      1. Messiah information.
      2. Audio of the complete Handel's Messiah.
      3. Video of Handel's Messiah with orchestra and chorus provided by ABC Classics.
      4. Handel's Messiah at Macy's.

    3. Hallelujah Handel by Douglas Cowling.Thomas, 48 pages. A read aloud picture story of a street child with a beautiful voice and Handel's Messiah. ISBN 0439058503. Gr. 1-5.
    4. 25 Handel Favorites - 25 of the best loved pieces composed by George Frideric Handel. Listen to samples or purchase.
  7. God's Purpose for Music.
    1. Look up the terms "music, song, sing" in a topical Bible.
    2. Answer the question: why do you think God created music?
    3. How does Handel's "Messiah" achieve God's purpose?