Did You Hear That?- A Ghosty Listening Activity

 Things that go bump in the night, those that talk to you who you cannot see, eyes that watch you when they are not even there. Some don’t realize but I am totally in love with anything paranormal. This love leaks over into my teaching finding songs that are just spooky enough to grab my students interest. One activity that is over the top spooky and attention grabbing is a listening activity lesson I do with The Danse Macabre by Camille Saint Saens (The same composer who wrote my other favorite song to use in class “The Carnival of the Animals!“). 

For those of you reading that do not know, The Danse Macabre is divided up into four distinct sections:

The Violin Section- A haunting melody which a lot of my students describe as a troll playing a fiddle. Watch for the sound of the actual violin when listening for this section.





The Footsteps Section- Represents the section that sounds like a grand ballroom dance scene.





Flying Ghost Section- My students like to call it the Casper section. Close your eyes and listen..does it sound like a ghost flying through the clear night sky?





The Skeleton Section- Sounding like a poor little skeleton turned into a xylophone and being played by the ghouls that hide in the attic. This section is the most distinct out of the four.





When your students first walk into the classroom have the song playing. Here is the YouTube link to the audio I use for this: http://youtu.be/YyknBTm_YyM . Have the four pictures on the board and point to each section as the song plays. Now this is a long song so I only play a small part of it just enough so students get the point. After they hear it divide the class into four sections and assign them each a section of the song. Ask them to come up with a movement to do together during that section as it plays. I give them about three minutes to brainstorm before starting the song. They listen, I point to the sections, and when their group’s section plays they must do their movement. I play the whole song through while this happens. The students usually are too busy laughing with each groups movements and doing their own to become disengaged with the activity.

Here’s the main activity, give each of your students a piece of blank paper and a writing utensil (A tech alternative would be using the paint program on a computer or other device and having them draw on the program instead of a piece of paper). Ask them to divide the paper into four sections by folding it and then draw the four pictures above in each section. While they are doing this you need to draw your paper on the whiteboard. I have laminated pictures and just use magnets so I do not have to draw the pictures. When the class is ready, start the song. When each section is played, have them make a tally in that section of their paper.  I will help them out with my board for the first couple of sections, then I stop and let them finish on their own. After we discuss our findings and then I collect the papers as they exit class to see how they did. The tally marks are NOT going to be exact numbers, just look to make sure they were understanding the activity and actively listening!

A map example

2 thoughts on “Did You Hear That?- A Ghosty Listening Activity

  1. jmanfredi says:

    Love this! I WILL be stealing! What level do you use this with?

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