Professional Development - Enhancing Literacy with Musical Stories and Soundscapes

by  Bash the Trash Environmental Arts

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This is a professional development program for classroom teachers and arts educators who are looking to make literacy exercises more fun by adding music. Learn how to create musical stories, set poetry to music, create descriptive soundscapes and more. We use simple no-cost found-object instruments and noisemakers to keep the expense down to nothing. Looking at a text from a different viewpoint - that of the arts - gives a unique perspective on the passage, and  increases the "amount of thinking" that a student spends on that text. Even non-fiction text can be brought to life through music. Here's a direct example. We were working to build instruments with several classes of students who were studying the Oregon Trail. One of the exercises that the students would be tested on was a list of the items that the pioneers brought with them. We worked with the students to create musical ideas for each of the items on the list to create a soundscape that was pretty cool all by itself. But later we were told by the teachers that the students tested significantly higher than in previous years, due to the reinforcing arts exercise. That's what this workshop is intended to bring to the participants.

Program Rating

This program has not yet been evaluated.
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About This Program


Multipoint: $840.00
Point to Point: $840.00

$840 for 60" program with one presenter for up to 30 participants at one or more points
$1080 for 90"
$1320 for 120"



Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) Pre-K Students, Kindergarten, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Teacher(s)/Educator(s), Adult LearnersPublic Library: Library Staff

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:


Primary Disciplines

Fine Arts, Language Arts/English, Literacy, Performing Arts, Problem Solving, Professional Development, Sciences, STEM, Writing

Program Delivery Mode

Zoom or YouTube Live

Booking Information

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Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

If for any reason the recipient wishes to reschedule up to 24 hours before the program, Bash the Trash will make every effort to accommodate the rescheduling.

If for any reason the recipient wishes to cancel a program, there is no fee up to 24 hours before the program. Cancellation within 24 hours of program, with no rescheduling possible, entails payment of the full fee.

However, in the case of a weather or pandemic-related cancellation within 24 hours of program, please contact us and we'll work it out.

About This Provider

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Bash the Trash Environmental Arts

United States

Bash the Trash programs are about music, science, culture, arts and the environment! Centered around the concept of sustainability, we’ve been building and performing with found-object instruments for over 30 years, making connections to plastic pollution and climate change. 

Over time our programs have evolved into a wide range of musical and cultural experiences that go beyond homemade instruments. Our diverse crew of presenters offer a series of programs based on their individual artistic skills and cultural backgrounds, making connections with students through their amazing experiences. We’re eager to interact with audiences through the arts, Q&A and conversation to create true cultural and artistic exchanges. 

Hands-on instrument-building or art-making is possible in most programs using simple reused/repurposed materials. Bash the Trash offers workshop/performances and multiple-session residencies as well as fun and useful professional development for educators, all closely aligned to national and local standards. Plus Bash the Trash programs are great for special days like Earth Day, National Recycling Day and World Water Day! 

Ian Bertles

Program Details


1. Introductions, overview, Q&A
2. Using and creating sound sources
3. Creating sound-effects stories
4. Going deeper into descriptions, characters, settings, emotions etc.
5. Soundscapes
6. Setting poetry, pre-written stories, and non-fiction informative text
7. Creation of new work and performance by participants
8. Reflect/Discuss how to bring this down to the participants' classrooms


1. Learn about connections between musical and literacy exercises
2. Learn how to build a variety of simple instruments from reused materials
3. Explore several ways to use simple instruments to reinforce classroom curriculum
4. Engage in fun excises designed to participants hands-on experiences to take directly back to the classroom
5. Look at the resources available to facilitate classroom use of the material

Standards Alignment

National Standards

This program makes connections to Music and Literacy:

Grade 5 Standards (as an example – standards are generally similar in nearby grades)

CCSA.ELA- Literacy
W.5.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
CCSA.ELA- Literacy
W.5.3.A Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
CCSA.ELA- Literacy
W.5.3.B Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, description, and pacing, to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
CCSA.ELA- Literacy
W.5.3.C Use a variety of transitional words, phrases, and clauses to manage the sequence of events.
CCSA.ELA- Literacy
W.5.3.D Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
CCSA.ELA- Literacy
W.5.3.E Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.
Speaking and Listening
SL.5.5 Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.

Grade 5 Standards (for example purposes)
Anchor Standard 1, Creating: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
MU: Cr1.1.5
a. Improvise rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic ideas, and explain connection to specific purpose and context (such as social, cultural, and historical).
b. Generate musical ideas (such as rhythms, melodies, and accompaniment patterns) within specific related tonalities, meters, and simple chord changes.
Anchor Standard 2, Creating: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
a. Demonstrate selected and developed musical ideas for improvisations, arrangements, or compositions to express intent, and explain connection to purpose and context. 
b. Use standard and/or iconic notation and/or recording technology to document personal rhythmic, melodic, and two-chord harmonic musical ideas.
Anchor Standard 3, Creating: Refine and complete artistic work.
MU: Cr3.1.5
a. Evaluate, refine, and document revisions to personal music, applying teacher-provided and collaboratively-developed criteria and feedback, and explain rationale for changes.
Anchor Standard 3, Creating: Refine and complete artistic work.
MU: Cr3.2.5
Present the final version of personal created music to others that demonstrates craftsmanship, and explain connection to expressive intent.

State Standards

available upon request