6th graders creating a tableau of a verse of "Conversation with Death"

5th graders creating a tableau of a verse of "Conversation with Death"

Kristin wanted to emphasize literacy in our work as she felt that many of her students were challenged by written expression. We will create a sadness continuum in class using news pictures and creating original artwork of “sad” things; things which might inspire someone to sing the blues. We will then write reflections about real and imagined sad experiences and use them as the basis for a class song with lyrics that fit the traditional 12-bar blues format. The students will have a better understanding of how sadness can be expressed in words, as well as music, as well as having a wider range of vocabulary for discussion of their and others’ unhappy feelings; and, I hope, a deeper sense of compassion as a result.

Classroom Teacher

Kristin Thelen
Kristin Thelen, 5th grade teacher
Kristin is in her 3rd year at Talcott teaching 5th and 6th grade language arts. She is originally from Michigan and attended Michigan State University.

Work Plan


Inquiry:  How "blue" can Blues music be?

Students would be learning about American history in 5th grade -- one connection that was made was blues music.  The students have analyzed what it means to be "blue" by writing personal essays about what makes them blue. They also created a sadness continuum line of sad adjectives so that they understand that blues music is not always extremely sad, but somewhere between "uh-oh" and tragedy.  As a result, the students wrote a blues song that was related to their lives.  Later, the students were asked to stage their song.
Year One
Year Two
Year Three

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