NOTE: This post was originally published in August 2011 and I decided it was well overdue for an update. The original post had 21 useful links and resources, but this updated version has grown a little – to a total of 31 resources. Some of the links in the original article had also become obsolete so they have been replaced or revised.
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.
1. 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
2. There’s a detailed biography of Prokofiev on the Encyclopedia website here
3. And a brief kid-friendly version for young students on the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Kids’ site
4. Also of interest is this fact gallery on the Classic FM website which shares 15 interesting facts (and photos) about the composer
There are far too many recordings of Peter and the Wolf to list here, but here are a few highlights:
5. If you’re an Australian teacher looking for a local recording, ABC Classics released a version with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, narrated by Miram Margolyes
6. Dame Edna Everage narrated this version performance by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
7. I’m a big fan of Spotify (life-changing!!) and they have many recordings available, including this one narrated by the late David Bowie
8. There is also a free Creative Commons licensed recording on the Internet Archive website
9. On Youtube, you can find the classic Disney cartoon version with the original music, narrated by Sterling Holloway
10. 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
11. Then there’s the slightly odd puppet version narrated by Sting and conducted by Claudio Abbado
12. And an interesting “up close” video of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra which shows orchestral musicians with a bunch of Go Pro cameras attached to their instruments (see below)
13. 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 here
14. Here is a wonderful version, narrated by the incomparable Boris Karloff
Lesson Plans, Story Outlines and Other Resources
15. 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 to the Lesson Plan database here and then in the “Find By” drop-down menu, choose Concert Program, then in the Concert Program menu, choose Peter and the Wolf. There are 10 downloadable PDFs
23. Music@Malling has a downloadable PDF resource with different tasks, activities and examples of Russian Folk Art
24. The gorgeous clipart picture used in the image 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!
25. 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 so you are searching Creative Commons only and make sure safe search is on if you’re doing it with students in your presence.
26. 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
27. If you have a Smartboard, Allison Friedman has a Peter and the Wolf Notebook file for download here
28. And Martha Grondin has one here (scroll down and look under the list of Smartboard lessons)
29. If you have a Promethean board, there is a Flipchart available for download on the Promethean Planet website
30. There is a free Peter and the Wolf app with narration by Alice Cooper (!).
Printable Puppet Show and Masks
31. If you’re looking for a craft activity, you might like to make these masks and act out the story with your students
32. Although not free, I just had to share this gorgeous printable puppet show (pictured below) which would be perfect for young students. The artist also makes a beautiful Nutcracker puppet theatre too.
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 in the comments below.
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