My fourth grade students are pretty obsessed with scary stories, especially around this time of the year. I created an activity allowing the students to practice group skills while learning about the connection between music and a story. To prepare, my students discussed the difference between mood music and sound effects. The students were given a scary story to interpret. I used "The Drum" and "Footsteps" from Scary Stories Three: More Tales to Chill Your Bones, by Alvin Schwartz.
The kids were then divided into four groups. I divided the story into four sections and assigned a section to each group. The students are in charge of reading the story out loud, and simultaneously adding mood music and sound effects with unpitched percussion.
Why do an activity that doesn't teach rhythm, pitch, or other concrete concepts? Because my students are making connections to how music is linked to not only other subject areas, but to the world around them. One of the grades they receive is "connecting music to the world around them." This also helps tie in National Music Standards 6, 7, 8, and 9. Plus, my students who are a bit reserved in music class come out of their shell and I have a chance to hook them for the rest of the year!
Here are the documents I use:
Hope you enjoy! If you have a tried-and-true way of hooking your fourth and fifth grade students, please share! As always, if you need a modifiable version of this activity, please contact me.