Cash in on Public Domain
As Common Core pushes us all to reinforce reading and writing across all content areas, why not make historic connections by investigating historic primary resources?
In the beginning of the year, I was working to align up schools arts curriculum with the time periods scholars were studying in their social studies classes. Two of the classes overlapped with the early 1800s, so I turned to that time period. We were focused on learning rhythmic and melodic symbols and notation. I utilized public domain versions of The Star Spangled Banner, To Anacreon In Heaven (the British song it is based on) and the original version of Aura Lea (much later covered by Elvis as "Love me Tender") to practice transcription, notation and identification o time signatures.
This les to cultural investigations and listening activities and a whole art unit on colonial and civil war art in music. The students were learning our content while inadvertently experiencing history and culture from the early 1800s.
Outside of music, look for Darwin's writings, or Jules Verne. Even if the language is outdated or the theories have evolved or been overturned, they afford an entry point for exploration. Think Socratic circles, comparative essays, mock debates, or examinations of cover artwork and typefaces. The connections and options are limited only by your creativity, and the content is totally free!
A google search of "Public Domain" and your subject or content area will give you plenty of listings, but to get you started, here are some of my favorite resources:
The Petrucci Music Library:
A classical and instrumental sheet music public domain wonderland.
Google Play Books:
Google has an incredible search engine, which includes a huge public domain library
A web page full of links to a variety of libraries in several languages and in a wide number of topics and content areas
A huge library of free e-books
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