For many years, Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf has been an effective and enjoyable way to teach students about the instruments of the orchestra. I grew up listening to Peter and the Wolf on record (yes, the vinyl type) and my own children now listen to it on CD.
There are a host of excellent resources on the internet, so I thought I’d gather a selection of them here.
The Wikipedia article contains a history of the work, the plot outline, a list of recordings and adaptations and some useful links to other resources. There’s also an official Prokofiev website which has a very detailed biography and a brief version for young students on the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Kids’ site.
There are far too many recordings of Peter and the Wolf to list here, but the Prokofiev website has an extensive list. If you’re an Australian teacher looking for a local recording, ABC Classics released a version on the Carnival of the Animals A Parade of Kids’ Classics CD in 2009 and Dame Edna Everage narrated this version performance by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
On Youtube, you can find the classic Disney cartoon version with the original music, narrated by Sterling Holloway. It’s divided into two parts: part one (above) is here and part two here. There’s also a short film in which Walt Disney describes what it was like to meet Prokofiev and you can see Prokofiev himself playing the Peter and the Wolf themes on the piano.
Then there’s the slightly odd puppet version narrated by Sting and conducted by Claudio Abbado.
Lesson Plans, Story Outlines and Other Resources
The DSO Kids website has a Peter and the Wolf resource pack for teachers which includes the story, printable pictures, general information about watching concerts, and activities you can do with students. To download the resource pack, go here and then in the “Find By” drop-down menu, choose Concert Program, then in the Concert Program menu, choose Peter and the Wolf (and a Squirrel).
Phil Tulga’s Music Through Curriculum site has background information about Prokofiev, audio samples of the music themes and multimedia actitvities and the Classics for Kids site has a Prokofiev page with link to activities at the bottom.
In 2006, Breakthru Films made an award-winning claymation movie version of Peter and the Wolf. I haven’t managed to see if myself yet, but the (incredibly short) trailers and videos of behind-the-scenes footage look amazing. You can view the trailer on the Breakthru Films website. They also have their own downloadable resource pack for teachers and families.
The gorgeous clipart picture at the top by Philip Martin can be found here and is free to use in an educational setting. Right-click on the image and choose “Save image as”. You might also like to take a look at the rest of his large collection of images – it’s worth it!
I found this beautiful wolf image amongst the Creative Commons licensed images on Flickr. You can find other images at www.compfight.com. Adjust settings at the top so you are searching Creative Commons only and make sure safe search is on if you’re doing it with students in your presence.
On a site related to the Philip Martin Clipart site, there are a set of links to powerpoint presentations made by teachers that are free to download and there are some other useful links for Peter and the Wolf resources.
Interactive Whiteboard Resources
When looking for interactive whiteboard resources, it’s probably best to do a search for Peter and the Wolf and the name of your interactive whiteboard brand since the resources on the internet are brand-specific. If you have a Smartboard, Allison Friedman has a Peter and the Wolf Notebook file for download here and Martha Grondin has one here (scroll down and look under the list of Smartboard lessons). If you have a Promethean board, there is a Flipchart available for download on the Promethean Planet website.
I hope you find these useful. Are there other resources you’ve found on the internet? Or perhaps you’ve made your own resources that you’d be willing to share with other teachers? Let me know below.