One year, with the wonderful assistance of my student intern Lauren, created the environment of Venice, Italy in the music classroom.
    Stained glass windows, a replica of a gondola, different percussion instruments, mirrors, masks, scarves, books, posters and prints provided a setting for the music of Antonio Vivaldi.  Students at all grade levels learned to associate smooth or legato melodies and short or staccato melodies with art and artifacts in the Venetian classroom environment. They became more aware of the textures and timbres of Vivaldi's music as they listened to it within the colorful Venetian landscape and soundscape that they experienced when they came to music class.  Students were composing, cutting shapes to "dance to the music", playing instruments, creating Venetian sound and movement tableaux, thinking about and singing legato and staccato sounding words, sharing unique alphabets of other countries with their classmates to decide whether these looked and sounded smooth or detached, and writing about the connections that they had made in our special Venetian journal. 
    A very kind craftsman - Mr. Anais,  made an exquisite gondola for the students and gave a singing presentation about Venice and gondolas for the class!
                                                                                                                    Visiting Gondolier
    Second graders made masks with sparkling and bright colors, feathers, pipe cleaners, stickers and markers under the guidance of my student intern.
    While listening to Vivaldi's music and observing authentic Venetian masks, students created smooth, ornate designs and short, rhythmic patterns.
     Masks on Blue Background         girl with mask       masks on orange             
    Third graders cut out intricate shapes that reflected smooth and/or sharp, detached lines, which were then arranged by my intern on "stained-glass" windows created by using cellophane paper in different colors.  The connecting lines provided associations in understanding how melodies connect and lead to different musical events.  The colors of the windows will continue to be sources of wonder to students as they listen to music and play instruments in the new school year
           Blue,Yellow,Green Windows              Creating a New Window           Rose Window