Posted in info, teachers' resources

Activities page for issue 9

"Alphabet Soup magazine issue 9 cover"We’ve updated the ‘Activities’ page! (You can find it on the menu across the top of the blog, under the header picture). If you click on it, you will find a list of activities to go with the theme of each issue (starting from issue 7), and a music listening list—compiled by Danielle Joynt of Cantaris.

For each issue of the magazine (starting with issue 7), we will add activities and a themed listening list to this page. Enjoy!



1. PLAY wetlands-themed games, like ‘Leap Frog’, or ‘Duck, Duck Goose’.

2. PLAY online games and quizzes and learn at the same time—visit the Water Corporation’s website.

3. FIND OUT about frogs in your local area. Research to find out what you can do to protect them. Some frogs in Australia are under threat. To identify frogs (and their calls) visit the WA Museum website, or the Frogs Australia website.

4. ADOPT a local wetlands area—visit it regularly with family or friends to collect rubbish to keep it healthy.


You will need: 1 packet green jelly, 1 chocolate frog per person, 1 clear plastic cup per person.

What to do: make the jelly according to the directions on the packet. Put it in the fridge. When cooled, but not set, add a chocolate frog to each cup. Return to fridge until jelly is set. EAT! Yum.

If you’d like to make a feature pond for a party table, use two or more packets of green jelly and use a large clear glass bowl. Add some of the chocolate frogs to the cooled jelly (before it sets). ‘Float’ some nasturtium leaves (to be lily pads) on the top of the jelly once it has set. Sit the remaining chocolate frogs on the lily pads. Give everyone a spoon and eat!


Our listening list is compiled by Danielle Joynt, from Cantaris. Danielle has also included comments for some of these pieces. (Tip: Ask about CDs at your public library—libraries often have a good collection of CDs for loan if you prefer not to buy.)

1. PETER SCULTHORPE"sculthorpe---songs of sea and sky (cd cover)"

Peter Sculthorpe is an Australian composer (1929 –   ) whose music often evokes the sound and feeling of the Australian bush and outback. His works “Kakadu” “Mangrove” and “Earth Cry” reflect the vastness of the Australian landscape and the sounds of Australian wildlife. He often uses the Aboriginal chant—Djiilili—in his works. Djilili means “whistling duck on a billabong”.


Hear a Frog Round for three voices (see the free mp3 at bottom right of the Cantaris site)


The Russian composer  and teacher Anatoly Liadov (1855-1914)  arranged eight Russian folk songs for orchestra, including his famous wok “The Enchanted Lake” and “Last Night I Danced With A Mosquito”. Liadov was a wonderful  but very strict music teacher, and taught theory to the young Prokofiev.

"carnival of the animals (cd cover)"4. CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS-–CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS

Camillle Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) is the French composer of Carnival Of The Animals (1886).
Saint-Saëns wrote Carnival Of The Animals as a musical jest, and after the piece’s first private premiere, Saint-Saëns forbade it to be played in public—feeling it might damage his reputation as a serious composer.
He only allowed one movement—”Le cygne” (“The Swan”) to be published during his lifetime.

Carnival Of The Animals was only published as a whole after the composer’s death, and has since become one of the world’s most famous and best-loved pieces of music.


The music for the ballet “Swan Lake”was composed over twelve months in 1875 and 1876 by the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893). When the ballet premiered in St Petersburg in 1877 it was a  dreadful failure, due to the very poor stage production. Most critics considered Tchaikovsky’s music far too complicated for ballet! The production was revised several times, and the musical score was revised after Tchaikovsky’s death by the Italian composer Riccardo Drigo. It is his revision of Tchaikovsky’s orignial score which is most often performed to the Swan Lake ballet today.


The “Water Music” is a collection of orchestral movements composed by George Frederic Handel. It premiered on the 17th July 1717 after King George 1 requested a concert on the River Thames. The piece was performed by fifty musicians on a barge near the Royal Barge from which the King listened with his close friends. King George I loved the music so much that he asked the exhausted musicians to play the whole work three times!


“The Trout Quintet” is the name given to the Piano Quintet in A Major by Franz Schubert (1797-1828). The quintet was composed in 1819, when Schubert was 22 years old, but was not published until 1829, a year after he had died. The usual instrumentation of a piano quintet is for piano, two violins, viola and cello; however, Schubert wrote his Trout Quintet for piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass.

The Quintet is called “The Trout” because the fourth movement is a set of variations on Schubert’s earlier Lied (the German word for “song”) “Die Forelle”(“The Trout”).


Several songs are based on the poem “How Doth The Little Crocodile” by Lewis Carroll, which appears in his book “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland”

“The Little Crocodile” by Gary Buchland (1991) from Alice Songs
“The Little Crocodile” from “Five Lewis Carroll Poems” No 3 by John Woods Duke (1899 – 1984)
“How Doth The Little Crocodile” (1908) by Liza Lehmann (1862 – 1918)

See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 8 (spring 2010).

See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 7 (winter 2010).


This post was added by Rebecca Newman. Rebecca is a children's writer and poet, and the editor of the Australian children's literary blog, Alphabet Soup. For more about Rebecca visit: