Friday, May 24, 2024


by Mark Warner
0 comment
Ages: 7-11
Sam Collins

Try out our teaching ideas about this story of a poor musician and a stray dog.

Watch this video with your children and then try some of our teaching and activity ideas below.

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Ask the class why they think the film is called Rubato. “Rubato” is a musical term (meaning a temporary change in tempo) but in Italian, its literal meaning is “robbed”. Why do they think the filmmakers chose this name? Collect English words with double meanings like this (for example, bolt, bark, current, cricket).
  • Write character sketches of the man, the dog and the boys.
  • Pause the video at different points and think of speech / thought bubbles for the characters.
  • Write a narrative that retells this story (or a part of it).
  • Stop the film at certain points, for example, 5:11 or 5:43. What are the characters thinking?
  • Watch the sequence from 0:50 – 1:14. Why is the man in the spotlight?
  • Make a storyboard of the film.
  • Write the life story of the man and the dog. How did they end up on the streets?
  • Make a list of descriptive language you could use to describe the setting.
  • Watch the trailer. Which scenes would you include in a trailer for the film?


  • What will the man need to do to take care of the dog? What does a dog need to be safe and healthy?
  • Research how the sound is made on a cello.
  • Stop the film at 4:51- what is causing the shadow on the sheet? Make your own shadows.


  • Design a webpage to publicise the film.
  • Design a game in Scratch where the boys have to escape the dog.

Design Technology

  • Show children a metronome. How does it work?


  • Stop the film at 3:54. Look at how the film uses perspective to show the street going away into the distance. Draw or paint your own version of the scene.


  • Use a metronome, for example, to keep time while singing a familiar song. Is it helpful? Why would a musician use it? How else can we keep time (clapping, drumming etc.)?
  • Find out about the violin family. How many members are they? Why do they use a bow?
  • Listen to some cello music, for example, Bach (Cello Suite No. 1) or Brahms (Cello Sonata No. 1). How would you describe it? How does it make you feel?
  • Many musical terms come from Italian, like rubato. Find out about other musical terms and what they mean.


  • Research the history of stringed musical instruments.


  • Find out the french words for the characters in the film, for example, le chien (the dog).


  • Discuss how animals can end up on the streets and what can be done about it. How can we help?
  • Look at the Dogs Trust’s Dog Smart materials to talk about how to keep safe around dogs.
  • Why do you think the boys do such horrible things?
  • Why is the metronome so precious to the man? What is precious to you? How would you feel if you lost or damaged those items?

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