Sunday, June 29, 2014

Theme, Variations, and Google Forms

A few years ago I got a genius idea driving from Virgina home to Philly with my brother while listening to the soundtrack from Disney's Up! If you've ever heard the music, you know how absolutely amazing it is but as a music teacher, you probably also know how the whole movie is a text book example of Theme and Variations.

Knowing that I was getting 10 iPads for my music class, I was super excited to show my principal that I wasn't just going to buy apps and play games, but I was going to make the kids think and create!

We've all cried during the first ten minutes of the movie where the theme is stated and varied about 10 times with different connotations.  (I put the YouTube clip below! ;)  I introduce this to the students and we pick apart which characters are present, at what age, the mood, the lighting, how many instruments are playing, which instruments are playing, etc.  I got real deep in our class discussion and require words better than happy and sad so that when I let them loose I get some thought out of them.

In groups, I have the kids watch a random clip of the movie (in Dropbox) searching for a variation of the theme.  I used to have them fill out a worksheet, but then I remembered Google Forms! I set up a form with all the same questions and put a QR code on the SMART Board for my students to scan!

The best part was that as they all sat around with their headphones (the quietest my room has EVER been!) I was watching their responses pop up on my screen LIVE!  I could tell how many clips each group was going through, how fast, how much thought went into their responses, etc.  I could redirect behavior or prompt groups to think deeper and they think I'm magic knowing what's going on on the other side of the room!

Here's a link to my Google Form for UP! Theme and Variations.

*sniff*sniff* tissue?


  1. I found you. :) Looking forward to reading all your great tech ideas!

  2. I LOVE this! Is there anyway you could create an outline of this project? This sounds so awesome for my older kids. We are big into GoogleDocs and technology. This would be a wonderful review of forms at the beginning of the year and grab their attention.

    1. Here's something I whipped up real quick. You can modify it however you need! Really, any movie with some variations in the movie will work. UP just happens to be one of my favorites and one of their few *clean* favorites! Good luck!

    2. I know that this post was written a long time ago. Do you still happen to have that outline? I tried the link, but it's no longer working. Thanks either way for the great lesson idea!