Gabriella’s Song Storyline®

The "freeze" of Venice from the Gabriella's Song Storyline. Gabriella’s neighborhood created by students.


An images of the cover of the Gabriella's Song Storyline Resource Book.

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Overview: In the story, Gabriella’s Song, by Candace Fleming, a young girl takes a leisurely stroll along the streets of Venice. As she walks, she listens to the sounds around her. The sounds blend and blur in her mind and become a song for her sing. Her song travels to the ears and hearts of her neighbors who hum the catchy tune and pass it along. As Gabriella’s song reverberates throughout Venice, it winds its way to the ears of a frustrated composer who cannot find the music for his newest symphony. The tune is just what he has been looking for, and he sets to work on a symphony for all of Venice to hear. After performing his symphony, Giuseppe Del Pietro takes a bow and thanks the mysterious creator of the simple song that has so inspired him. In the Storyline of Gabriella’s Song, students become fellow students of Gabriella in Venice. In their Scuola de Venezia they meet each day toexplore the sounds of Venice and listen to the beautiful songs in this City of Music. They take time to analyze and describe, and enjoy the music they hear. The teacher then challenges the students to write and sing Gabriella’s song. She guides them on a quest as they become composers and explore sound, create musical instruments, study the elements of music and work to organize the sounds into a musical composition. Through this process, students experience music from the inside. They become composers, using the elements of music to create Gabriella’s song. The song is performed for others who then share their feelings about the song. Students see composition at another level when a composer develops their song into a symphony. The Storyline concludes with a presentation of Gabriella’s story and song by the students, and a symphony of the song by Giuseppe, the composer. You do not need to be a musically trained teacher to do this Storyline. Four different composing options are presented, ranging from simple to more complex. You can choose what works for you. Many schools have a music teacher who can provide support and possibly play the part of the composer. The composer’s symphony can be a simple adding of additional instruments, harmony and other moving lines to accompany the tune that students create. It can be created on a computer and played in class. I know from experience that there are artists, out in communities, who are willing and enthused to share their talents with school children. It is an amazing experience to have a classroom of students, a teacher and a composer work together on this Storyline. Candace Fleming has written an ideal book for a Storyline, book-based, study. This beautiful story is rich in the five senses, full of creative language, and heartfelt. Enter the world of Gabriella’s Venice and Storyline magic will begin in your classroom. Thanks to Carla Wilson, a flutist with the Oregon Symphony, for discovering the book, recognizing its great Storyline potential, and providing extensive support in developing the music component.   The Storyline is dedicated to Sarah Creswell, the first teacher to explore Gabriella’s Venice with her kindergarten class.   Table of Contents Gabriella’s Song: Storyline Outline 1-12

A conductor from the storyline. Student sketch of the conductor.

Gabriella’s Song: The Storyline Episode One: Setting 15-18 Episode Two: Characters 18-22 Episode Three: Daily Rhythms 24-25 Episode Four: The Sounds Gabriella Hears 25 Episode Five: Scuola di Venezia 26 Episode Six: Exploring Sound 27-29 Episode Seven: Elements of Music 30-34 Episode Eight: Composing Gabriella’s Song 34-40 Episode Nine: Incidents 40-41 Episode Ten: The Composer Hears Gabriella’s Song 42-45 Episode Eleven: The Performance 45-46 Episode Twelve: Reflection 47 Appendix One: Curriculum 51 Appendix Two: Calendar 55-56 Appendix Three: Writing and Poetry

  • Venice, Italy: Facts 59-60
  • Acrostic Poem: Venice 61-63
  • Similes of Venice 64-66
  • Biography 67
  • Daily Rhythms 68-70
  • Super Sentences: Sounds of Venice 71-75
  • Sounds of Silence 76
  • Favorite Sound of Venice 77-80
  • In the Hall of the Mt. King 81-85
  • Flight of the Bumblebee 86-88
  • Letter to Gondolier 89-92
  • Letter to Baker 93-95
  • How the Song Makes You Feel 96-98
  • Letter to Giuseppe 99-102

A sketch of a Venice gondolier. Appendix Four: Homework

  • Famous Italians 105-106
  • Musical Instruments 107
  • Famous Composers 108-109

Appendix Five: Setting/Character Visuals 113-115 Appendix Six: Books and Music 119-121 Appendix Seven: Song/Symphony CD and Song Charts

  • Song/Symphony CD 125
  • Familiar Melody Song Chart 126
  • Rhythm Chart 127
  • Original Composition Song Chart 128

Appendix Eight: Post Test 131-134   Curriculum Focus Language Arts:

A student's character from the storyline. Student character.


  • Reading: Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Writing: Modes and Traits
  • Friendly Letter Writing, Similes, Poetry
  • Parts of Speech (verbs, adjectives, nouns)
  • Public Speaking Skills
  • Vocabulary


  • Create and Present
  • Aesthetics and Criticism
  • Historical and Cultural Perspectives
  • Musical Instrument Families
  • Composers
  • Musical triangle of composer-performers-audience
  • Elements of Music
  • Composing
  • Musical Careers

Science: Science of Sound Social Science:

  • Geography
  • Culture
  • History
  • Famous People

Art: Visual Art Dance: Movement to Music

Three students with their characters from the Storyline. The Vespucci family.

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