"The Very Hungry Caterpillar"

MUSIC 405 Final Project by Kris Harland & Kaitlin Oldenhuis

Combining Music and Language Arts

For our project, we will be combining music and language arts. More specifically we will be focusing on what we learned during week 4 about musical creativity. To incorporate language arts, we have decided to base our project off of the children's book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. The subject of science can also be connected through this project through the connection of the life cycle of a butterfly.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

This children's book is written and illustrated by Eric Carle. The book was first published in 1969. It uses a collage form of art in the illustrations. The story is about a caterpillar and its journey to become a butterfly. This book has many educational themes present. The days of the week, counting, types of food, and the life cycle of a butterfly are all represented in this book.

Project

This project is designed to be done with students while they are learning about the life cycle of a butterfly. The project is an activity that combines musical composition and the story read by the teacher. It would be completed with a lesson during this unit.


To begin the activity, the teacher will have students think about what they remember about the life cycle of a butterfly. The teacher will ask the students to talk to their elbow partner about what they came up with. The teacher will then ask the students to share with the whole class their ideas. The teacher will write these answers on the board using words as well as pictorial representation. The teacher will then tell the students about the project they are going to be doing. The students will also be informed of the overall goal of the project as well.


The teacher will introduce the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. The teacher will ask the students to look for the ways counting and the days of the week are represented in the book. The teacher will remind students what repetition is an then ask the the students to look for repetition in the book as well. The teacher will read the book once one time all the way through and will then explain the activity to the students. The goal of the project is to create a whole class musical composition to go along with a section of the book.


The teacher will tell students that they will be using the ABA form of composition. They will come up with the introduction, B part and coda as a class. Each group will be responsible for coming up with a section of the A part as well as an ostinato.


Before students are split into groups, the teacher will have them complete the introduction as a class. The students will think about what the book was about and what they can do to introduce their musical composition. Students should also think about a way they can add a beat or movement to their introduction.


Students will then be split into groups of three and the teacher will read the section of the book that they are using again. This section is


  • On Monday he ate through one apple but he was still hungry

  • On Tuesday he ate through two pears but he was still hungry


  • On Wednesday he ate through three plums but he was still hungry

  • On Thursday he ate through four strawberries but he was still hungry


  • On Friday, he ate through five oranges but he was still hungry

  • On Saturday he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake, and one slice of watermelon, that night he had a stomach ache


  • The next day was Sunday again, the caterpillar ate through one nice green leaf and after that he felt much better


Students will be given time to work on their part of the composition. Once they are finished, the teacher will ask for a spokesperson from each group to say their line and demonstrate their movement to the beat. Each group will have the opportunity to teach it to the rest of the class. However, during the performance of the composition, just the group that came up with the movements will be responsible for saying and performing that section.


The teacher will then ask students how they should come up with a B part. The teacher will ask the students to think about something short and sweet that will help make their composition even better. The students will share their ideas and the class will come up with the B part. The students will then come up with a coda for their composition.


The teacher will have the students put together all parts of the composition and practice it a few times. The teacher can then choose to record the students performing their composition and the actions.


Once the class has performed the composition, the teacher will have the students answer a few questions about their experience in their journals. The questions are


  1. What is your overall feeling about the composition?
  2. Did your group work well together?
  3. What is your favorite part of our class composition?
  4. What is something you would change about the class composition?

By having the students answer these questions, the teacher is able to get feedback on whether or not the students enjoyed the composition process and if they were able to understand it.

Example Composition

Below is an example we have created to represent what the class composition may look like. The composition will change based on your students creativity. The composition activity can also be used with other stories and lessons as well. Remember each group says their section of the B part.


The Hungry Caterpillar Composition:

(The Introduction, B Part and Coda are all to be said in a I say you say format, the teacher or a student volunteer will say the line first and then the other students will follow.)


Introduction:

(To be said while the students are snapping their fingers)

Teacher- There was a hungry caterpillar

Students- There was a hungry caterpillar

Teacher- He ate so much food

Students- He ate so much food

Teacher- I'd like to tell you his story

Students- I'd like to tell you his story

Teacher- So here it goes

Students- So here it goes


A Part:

Group 1: (Clap the whole time the line is being said) On Monday he ate through one apple (take fist and pretend you are taking a bite out of an apple) but he was still hungry (pat your belly)


Group 2: (Stomp the whole time the line is being said) On Tuesday he ate through two (hold up number two with fingers) pears but he was still hungry (rub belly)


Group 3: (Snap fingers and clap hands the entire time the line is being said) On Wednesday he ate through three plums (clap) but he was still hungry (shake head)


Group 4: (Snap fingers the whole time line is being said) On Thursday he ate through four strawberries (Count 1, 2, 3, 4) but he was still hungry (hold out hands as if asking for food)


Group 5: (Clap hands the entire time the line is being said) On Friday, he ate through five (jump in the air) oranges but he was still hungry (pat belly)


Group 6: (Stomp, clap, the entire time the line is being said) On Saturday he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake, and one slice of watermelon, (count food on fingers while saying) that night he had a stomach ache (hold belly and say owww)


Group 7: (Pat thighs the entire time the line is being said) The next day was Sunday again, the caterpillar ate through one nice green leaf (hold palms out and pretend to chomp through hand) and after that he felt much better (everyone shouts yay!)


B Part:

(Students continue snapping their fingers)

Teacher: That was a hungry caterpillar

Students: That was hungry caterpillar

Teacher: But he's not done yet

Students: But he's not done yet


Repeat A Part:


Coda:

(Students continue snapping their fingers once again)

Teacher: That very hungry caterpillar

Students: That very hungry caterpillar

Teacher: Well, he went through a lot

Students: Well he went through a lot

Teacher: Now he's different

Student: Now he's different

(Teacher and students pat their thighs quickly)

Teacher and Students: Because...

Teacher and Students: He's a butterfly!



Other Subjects

Science

The most noticeable subject present in our project is science. The book is about the butterfly life cycle. The book takes the reader through the stages, from where it begins as a tiny egg, to a caterpillar that eats and eats until it becomes a chrysalis. Then after some time the butterfly breaks through the chrysalis. This book is easily to relate to science. Knowing the butterfly life cycle and life cycle in general are things that are assessed in the early grades, normally K-2. By incorporating this book into a science lesson, students can begin to make connections with the life cycles they are learning.

Health

This book can also be incorporated into the subject of health and movement. In the story, the caterpillar eats and eats until he had a belly ache. Teachers can use this book to talk to students about what is healthy for their bodies and what is not so good for their bodies. The teacher can incorporate movement into this activity as well. The students can learn about what will help their bodies stay fit and active. The students can also learn that too much ice cream or candy isn't very good for their bodies and that it may slow them down. The teacher could come up with an activity such as listing the foods described in the book. The students could start in the middle and move to the left in the food is good for them and then move right if the food is not as good for them. The teacher can continue by adding more foods that aren't included in the book. It is important that students begin to learn these ideas early on. These ideas are important in developing life long healthy habits.


Art

Students can incorporate the art portion while incorporating the science portion or even the health idea. Students can study the way that Eric Carle makes his illustrations. Students can look online and at other Eric Carle books and get examples of how Carle does the illustrations. Students can use this idea to create their own example of a life cycle of a butterfly. They can illustrate the life cycle by creating a diagram or even a comic strip. Students can also make illustrations based on what they learned about health foods and unhealthy foods. Students can make illustrations much like Eric Carles to compare healthy foods and unhealthy foods.

Math

Math can be incorporated by counting. Students can count the number of items that the caterpillar eats. The teacher can help the students create simple math problems based off of the caterpillars behavior. For example, if he ate two peaches on Tuesday and 4 grapes on Thursday how many pieces of fruit did he eat all together? The book also counts up as the days of the week goes on. This would be helpful for early elementary grades to practice basic math skills. These basic math skills are vital to a foundation that the students will build upon as they continue learning.


Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (1989)

1. Be Proactive (Responsibility/Initiative)

The students will need to show responsibility and initiative within their groups. The teacher will be asking how well the groups worked together so he/she can determine if the students took initiative to present ideas and were responsible for their share of the work load. The students are also responsible for listening closely to the book and paying attention. By checking for understanding through questioning the teacher will be able to determine if students were paying attention.

2. Begin With the End in Mind (Vision/Values)

When reading the book the students are asked to look for items with repetition. This repetition will be used later on when the students are creating their composition. Also the teacher will share the objective of the lesson with the class at the beginning. By knowing and understanding the objective students can begin with the end in mind. This will help them to be thinking about musical composition while reading the book. Students who are given their objective right at the beginning tend to perform better with projects.

3. Put First Things First (Integrity/Execution)

This lesson is designed to put first things first meaning that the students need to learn about the life cycle of a butterfly and then about musical compositions and language arts. The goal of the musical composition is not only to teach about music but to also aid in helping students to remember life cycles and the story. By putting the story to music in the students own words and actions if will help the students remember. First the teacher must introduce the concept of butterfly life cycles because that is the most important part of the whole unit. Then the teacher must introduce the book because its the next important tool in teaching about life cycles. Lastly, the students make a musical composition to help the remember the butterfly life cycle.

4. Think Win-Win (Mutual Respect/Benefit)

There are many examples of win-win situations throughout this project. During group work students are going to have to work for the mutual benefit of the group as a whole and show respect. By doing this they will accomplish the task of creating a composition much more easily. Also, the teacher and students will have to work together to put together the composition. This is a win-win scenario because the composition benefits the teacher but helping to teach the lesson and it benefits the students because it's a fun way to learn. The teacher and students must also work together to read/understand the book. The teacher will have to have the respect of the students during the reading, meaning the students must be sitting quietly to hear and understand the book. Mutual respect is an important part to this lesson.

5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood (Mutual Understanding)

The students for this lesson must first seek to understand the life cycle of a butterfly. They will do so through the book and discussion with the teacher. They must also understand how to compose a composition which they will also learn from teacher guidance. Next, they must work to understand their groups ideas and create a compositions. Then why sharing their compositions they must work to be understood, not only by the teacher but also by their other peers. If the students are not understood the musical composition will not work to help all students remember the life cycle of a butterfly. By first understanding, the students can then work to be understood.

6. Synergize (Creative Cooperation)

This project has several levels of synergy or creative cooperation. The students must cooperate in small groups as well as a whole class to create the musical composition. The students must not be afraid to share their ideas and they must be willing to listen to others ideas. The students will be able to feed off each others creativity and can bounce ideas off each other. This often leads to better creativity because they inspire each other. The students are working together to create the composition which will lead to creative cooperation.

7. Sharpen the Saw (Renewal)

The students will be sharpening the straw every time they sing and dance to their composition. They will be reminding themselves of the life cycle of a butterfly and also how a musical composition is composed. The students may also be given a chance to renew their information when they use this information to build off of to learn about other life cycles. The students can think back on this song to help them understand life cycles which they will continue to study all through out school. This song will help them sharpen their minds every time they sing and dance.

The Eighth Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen Covey (2004)

8. Find Your Voice, Inspire Others to Find Theirs (Affirm Worth; Unleash Potential)

The students are really able to find their voice and inspire others during this project. The students are working in small groups so they can more easily share ideas and voice opinions. Also they will be giving feedback to their peers about their ideas which can inspire others. The students will then teach their parts to the rest of the class. This can help to inspire others to want to remember the composition and do well on the test about life cycle of butterflies. The teacher can also help to affirm students worth and unleash their potential. They will give positive feedback and help students to develop their musical ideas. This will help affirm to the students that they have helpful ideas and can then cause them to be more confident and create even more ideas, effectively unleashing their potential. This is one of the greatest benefits to this project.

Other Resources:

Eric Carle reads The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Angela Stephens - The Very Hungry Caterpillar Song

Videos

The first video is of Eric Carle reading the book. This could be another option to reading the book aloud to students. It makes the book a little easier to see and also conveys more of the author's meaning when read by him.


The second video is of a teacher who created a song to the book for her class. This is a great example of a piggy back song and could be an example used to show the children a little bit of what they are doing. Also, teachers could use this song with their students if they like although it helps children learn even more if they create their own lyrics like in the project above. Still this video is a great resource for both teachers and students.