Peter and the Wolf is a great piece of orchestral music to engage young listeners.  The music tells a story which is perfect for young learners.  Each character is represented by an instrument, so there are plenty of opportunities to become familiar with the names of these instruments.  

I would like to share some of the resources that I have used in my classroom along with a few tips for planning your unit.  

My own unit planning strategy is to include as many different modalities as possible. Hearing, seeing, moving, touching. Visual, auditory, kinesthetic.  My Peter & the Wolf toolkit includes a storybook, the recording, and a video.  Then, I add in other hands-on resources depending on the grade level.  Some examples of these resources will be linked at the bottom of the post.

What grade level? Peter and the Wolf fits into my kindergarten and first grade curriculum nicely. In kindergarten, we simply enjoy the story and learn about the characters.  In first grade, I spend more time with the instruments and their names and sounds. Then, I am comfortable leaving this video & activities as a sub plan for second and third grades.

Tell the Story

Using a read-aloud to tell the story will introduce the characters, setting, and plot.  This will help young students follow along with the musical version of the story, and as a bonus, will tie in with language arts standards for a cross-curricular connection. The book by Vladimir Vagin has beautiful, realistic illustrations and the re-telling of the story is very faithful to Prokofiev's version.  As you read, you may want to be sure that your students are familiar with the meanings some of the words such as meadow, lasso, and procession. This is the book that I used in my classroom. (Click on the images to find the books on Amazon.)

There are several other Peter & the Wolf books available. One of them will surely to suit your personal preferences. This next book is retold by Janet Schulman, illustrated by Peter Malone, and includes a full performance CD by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.  The realistic illustrations are beautifully done.  In addition to the story, this book also contains an introduction to the characters and their instruments.

Maria Carlson’s translation and Charles Mikolaycak’s illustrations in this book will pair with your recording.  Even if children can't read, they can look at the pictures as you listen to a recording. 

Alternate versions

Several books offer alternate versions of the story, providing opportunities to compare and contrast the versions.  This will bring in those higher order thinking skills that are so important to our students. Here are a couple to check out.



You will find recordings on your favorite music streaming service and there are several on YouTube as well.  

Narration by Leonard Bernstein

Narration by David Bowie

Video Dramatizations

I thought I was just going to quickly gather the links for my old favorites, but as I began to search  found so many more versions of Peter and the Wolf than there ever used to be!  I thought I was going to put my favorite at the top, but as I watched these new versions, it was so hard to pick!  Now I am thinking that using different versions with different grade levels would be a great idea.  

The Wakelet collection linked below highlights some of the video versions of the Peter and the Wolf story that are available on YouTube.  The purpose is to gather them together in one collection to help music educators preview and select an appropriate version for their class.  You will find animation, Ken Burns style story book images, combination of animation/live action, ballet, puppetry, along with some music & narration only versions.  Please explore these to find one or more to use with your students!

As with any video presentation that we plan to show to children, please take the time to fully preview your the videos to be sure they are totally appropriate for your specific group of students.

Once you select your favorite version, open the video on YouTube to copy the link to your lesson plan or sub plan.

Peter & the Wolf Wakelet Video Collection

Music Center Resources

In my classes, part of the purpose of Peter and the Wolf was to reinforce the names of orchestral instruments. The music and video helps to put the sound and visual image of the instrument together for students.  Using printed activities in music centers helps to put the names of the instruments with the visual. 



Choices, choices!

So many times we get stuck with no resources with which to teach.  Not this time! You have many quality resources on this list, both free and inexpensive. The beauty of choices is that we can customize lessons to meet the needs of each group of students.  

Peter and the Wolf provides an excellent opportunity to address both music standards and even coordinate with language arts standards.  These resources can make your planning a little easier!

Musically yours,


*As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Need some pirate treasure? Let me spill the dubloons! Here are some super simple resources to add a little pirate fun to your music lessons!

Questions You Might Ask 

"Why would I need pirate resources?"  Themed lessons can add a little bit of extra engagement for students!  Make believe activities are a part of childhood.  Incorporating make believe into your lessons gives students a safe way to try things in a different way.  Perhaps taking on a pirate persona for a day might bring out a little more boldness in your students. 

"When can I use these activities?" Talk Like a Pirate Day is September 19. October is a great month for dress-up and make believe.  Spring months are also a great time for sea shantys and treasure hunts.  You are free to decide when a theme might fit into your existing curriculum!

Now, let's get into the resources and how to use them. 

Recently, I've seen many comments from music teachers whose administrators are asking them to incorporate other subjects into music lessons.  I love arts integration!  Today, I am sharing a lesson idea that can incorporate music, art, social studies, and reading.

Have you already discovered the book The Noisy Paintbox by Barb Rosenstock? What potential for a marvelous cross-curricular lesson! Wassily Kandinsky was an important 20th century artist and is known as one of the first to create abstract art.  He was a Russian artist who experienced sounds as colors and colors as sounds. How interesting!


Music teachers, especially at the elementary level, have so many students. So Many Names! Learning all those names (and their correct pronunciations) is an important step towards showing respect, building trust,  and creating a positive classroom community. But, there is still the huge challenge of actually learning those names. 

My experience has been in an elementary school with 500-750 students.  The population in my school was very transient, so our numbers varied a lot over the years. The biggest in/out changes came at the end of each quarter.  I remember coming back to school one January to find that we had 50 new students and we had lost quite a few as well.  Learning names wasn't just something I had to do in August. It was year-round.

We all want our music classrooms to feel warm and inviting. How many of us have taken hours setting up and decorating the music classroom in preparation for that first week of school? My hand is raised! 

Pinterest-worthy classroom photos found on social media add to the temptation to over-decorate. How can I make my music classroom cute while providing the best environment for students? Here are some tips to consider as you decorate your classroom for music learning.

The first tasks of the class period are often called "Bell Ringers," "Do it Now" tasks, or "Board Work," and serve the purpose of setting the tone for the rest of the class period.  When we come in this classroom, we work! Most bell ringers should take about 5 minutes at the beginning of class.  While this type of opening task has been common in general classrooms for many years, I have found it useful to use an opening task in my music classrooms.