West Side Story Teacher Resources

Find West Side Story educational ideas and activities

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The Jets and the Sharks are back! As you watch the film version of West Side Story, use this viewing guide to help keep your class on track and analyze important plot events. Each song's lyrics are presented here, along with a set of analysis questions. This is a very comprehensive guide! 
Young scholars encounter and study "Mambo" from "West Side Story," by Leonard Bernstein. They practice utilizing musical elements (instrumentation, tempo, and dynamics) to create a certain mood for a scene with music. Each student interprets or imitate various experiences through pantomime, dramatization, role playing, etc.
Students study Romeo and Juliet. In this language arts lesson, students read the play and complete a series of activities. Students choose the activities to complete. Students write a summary, draw a poster or compare and contrast Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story.
Students create a graffiti wall using their own name or personal symbol. They examine their own understanding of the film as a source of inspiration and listen to the music from the soundtrack as an effective motivation. They make connections between the characters and cultures depicted in the film to their own lives.
For this music history worksheet, students discover the musical "West Side Story" by first reading a summary of the plot. Students answer 5 questions about the story line. Students then read and analyze the lyrics to "America" and discuss how it fits the story theme.
In this music instructional activity, middle schoolers examine the musical of West Side Story. They write parts of the musical while examining the musical score.
Ninth graders read and analyze the William Shakespeare play "Romeo and Juliet" and compare it to the 1996 modern version of the play and the movie "West Side Story." They write an essay comparing and contrasting the three versions.
Second graders perform mirror dancing. In this dancing lesson, 2nd graders are led in a dance warm-up and brainstorm kinds of movements they have done in dance. Students are then led through a demonstration of a mirror dance.
Sixth graders investigate snow using pieces of literature, experimentation, and studying images by Wilson Bentley. They view snow from its artistic, geometric and literary expressions.
Fifth graders choreograph a metaphor dance using a metaphor they created and interpreting it. In this metaphor lesson plan, 5th graders perform smooth and sharp movements.
Young scholars discover the musical achievements of Leonard Bernstein by viewing a slide-show.  For this music appreciation lesson, students identify Leonard Bernstein, his work on Broadway, and his other musical ventures by examining photographs of him.  Young scholars practice playing music in the same fashion Bernstein did.
What really constitutes nationalism? The video's narrator reviews this concept in detail and covers a range of topics in the nineteenth century, from the creation of the Ottoman Empire to the Opium Wars of the mid-1800s. He spends great deal of time focusing on Japan as a case study, including information on the daimyo, the restoration of the imperial throne, and the country's rise as a modern nation-state.
Art and music have been vehicles for statements of civil unrest for hundreds of years. Upper graders critically analyze several pop songs or music movements from the 1980s that exemplify politically charged motives. They analyze lyrics that were written purposefully as protest, and lyrics whose meanings changed as they were used by specific groups or for a specific reason. They engage in a class discussion and write a short paper on a single song.
Use this packet of materials to support your pupils as they plan and build websites. The resource includes a variety of materials, including a page of project options, several checklists, planning and brainstorm pages for content and design, peer review sheets, and an evaluation form. There are no actual instructions or directions on how to create a website; however, these are excellent supporting materials.
Music is a wonderful tool you can add to enhance the learning process for every subject. Here is a list of music selections that are categorized by subject, along with some neat teaching suggestions. You'll find songs suited to everything from science to social studies!
Who is Herman Melville? Read and discuss "Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street." Then, discuss the film adaptations of Melville's work and translate a passage of the text into modern-day English. Discussion questions are included, and be sure to check out the possible extension activities. From the New York Times superb Learning Network.
How do modern adaptations of Shakespearean plays relate to their original source material? Middle and high schoolers focus on Shakespeare's play Othello and its screen adaptation "O" to explore how modern film adaptations of Shakespeare have the potential to both enhance the original literature and detract from its meaning.
It's so hard to remember how to punctuate titles! Give your class this practice packet to help them remember. On the first page, learners review the rules for punctuating the titles of short stories, monologues, commercials, etc. Then, learners apply what they learned to the 60 sentences that follow. 
Students listen to the song :King of Pain" by the Police. They identify different instrumentation and different rhythmic accompaniments to the opening vocal phrase and explore the text in-depth, discussing the various poetic images of pain. Then, using the local newspaper, they discuss the variety of ways pain is expressed by people affected by tragedy. In a creative writing assignment, they rewrite a factual news article to express the emotions of a person afflicted.
Compare and contrast two topics with your class. They will pick a topic of their choosing, create color-coded Venn diagram to visually organize their information, share diagrams with classmates, and write well-organized essay on similarities and differences in two chosen topics. Modifications can be made for younger learners.

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