Well, here we are. It is the end of the most unpredictable school year I've ever had, but I haven't let it slow my efforts to improve my music classroom, and the ways in which we can learn and review valuable music education in a fun way. I realize that I may not be able to use some of these games in the upcoming school year depending on the CDC guidelines for sharing materials, but as they say 'this too shall pass', and someday we will be able to enjoy the simplicity of a fun game like 'Candyland' in the general music classroom.
I first saw this great idea while perusing the previously mentioned site, Pinterest. I saw several variations of musical Candyland games other music educators had designed, and I decided I ultimately needed to develop my own style of game to fit with my learners at FMS. I chose keep the board as is in its colorful Candyland bliss, while putting all of the focus on improving the way in which each player was able to make their move to the finish line by the drawing of the cards.
The game wasn't delivered to me in a full set, so I had to look elsewhere for the infamous Candyland cards. After finding them on Ebay, I improved upon the colored square(s) cards that tell how many spots and what color/space to move to. Each color has a different musical theme, varying from instrument family review, rhythm review, treble clef note review, and more. To win the game, you must move your game piece(s) based on what color cards you draw, and if you answer them correctly or not. Since this game is for some younger students, I would consider group efforts for those who need help answering questions. First game piece to the end wins!
Yellow Cards- Each card contains a different musical instrument. If a student draws a yellow card, they will read the instrument out loud to the group, and then try to guess which instrument family it is a part of to move spaces.
Green Cards- The green cards all have different treble line notes on each card. If a student draws a green card, they will have to show it to the group and say which note they think it is to move spaces.
Blue Cards- The blue cards all have different treble space notes on each card. If a student draws a blue card, they will have to show it to the group and say which note they think it is to move spaces.
Orange Cards- The orange cards each contain a different question pertaining to personal preference, or basic music trivia. When a student draws an orange card, they will read the question aloud to the group, and answer it to move spaces.
Red Cards- Each red card contains a four beat rhythm using quarter notes, eighth notes, and quarter rests. When a student draws a red card, they should display the rhythm to the group, and then clap and/or say the rhythm aloud correctly in order to move spaces. They will be given three chances to get it right if need be, and may ask other players for help.
Purple Cards- Each purple card has a different music symbol or note written on it. If a student draws a purple card, they will show it to the group and name the symbol or note in order to move spaces.
I hope to use this game with my students as soon as it is safe to do so, I know they will enjoy this classic game in a fun and musical way. I have really enjoyed turning these classic games into something usable for my music students; I would have truly loved to play this game as a kid in music class!
Until next time, everyone take care, and stay safe and healthy.
Jenga! Admittedly, as a kid I remember playing this game for about 10 minutes at a time before I became bored and wanted to put it away. But, while perusing my favorite website, Pinterest, I discovered a few musical versions of Jenga and thought that those versions looked way more fun than I remember! So, I decided to buy a colorful block game from Amazon and take some time to create my own music review game for my awesome future students.
On each block on one side, I wrote questions such as "What is your favorite song?' or "What instrument family is the triangle in?" etc. I also wrote rhythms which students will be instructed to say and clap out loud to the group. A few instrument scrambled letter blocks were also created, as well as treble clef note review, and symbol identification.
Once we have learned and/or reviewed the content on the 'Jenga' blocks, I will go over the rules and directions of the game as a class.
The Directions on How to Play:
1. Take the blocks out of the bag, and stack them by 3's (I will instruct students on how to do this and ask for volunteers to model correct stacking; modeling is a part of Responsive Classroom that our school does).
2. Take the die with colors on each side, first person rolls the die and it will land on a color.
3. Choose a block of the same color rolled, and remove it from the stack without breaking the tower.
4. Read the block and complete the request:
-Counting/Clapping the rhythm
- Name the Treble Clef Note
-Unscramble the Instrument
-Answer the Question
-Name the Musical Symbol/Rhythm
5. If a student cannot answer the question, or does no answer correctly, they should roll again. If they answer correctly, they pass the die onto the next student. If the tower falls, re-stack and play again until Mrs. Ferris says to stop. You gain points by keeping the blocks you 'answered' correctly.
I cannot wait to add this to my musical game centers collection! I hope to obtain a Candyland game soon for my next project, so if you have one if you want to get rid of, please consider donating it to my music program. :)
Dear Families and Students-
What a strange time this is. I honestly can't wrap my head around the fact that I won't be seeing my students or co-workers in person until August. It is definitely a time to be there for one another as much as we can, even from afar. I think if anything, I hope this time is teaching us to check in on one another, and be a bit kinder and thoughtful in general, and in how our actions can affect other people.
I miss my classroom, and all of the space I am used to, but I mostly miss the day to day interactions with students on a musical level. I have had fun providing fun things to do for music, a few recorded singalongs and activities, but nothing compares to being with awesome kiddos teaching music in person.
I am remaining busy at home participating in many virtual meetings, responding to the occasional email from a student to say hello or check in, and I've also been busy learning lots of music and creating back-up videos and lessons to possible use for our 'phase 2' of distance learning. I recently have added a 'Distance Learning' page that contains resources for learning and having fun with music at home! Please feel free to do as much or as little as you'd like; music is supposed to be fun, make it that for you and your family!
I hope that everyone is safe and well, I truly wish you all the best.
I love pinterest. It is a wonderful way to research travel, find a new recipe, or discover teaching ideas for pretty much any classroom. I have never shared anything on pinterest of mine, but I truly enjoy looking at other ideas and creating boards for my general music classroom and chorus.
A favorite game my younger sister and I use to play together was Guess Who?. She and I would set up our boards directly across from one another (I always wanted to be blue, my favorite color), choose our person card, and play as many rounds as we could; we played games constantly in my home growing up. I decided after seeing another music teacher post an instrument version of Guess Who? that I needed to do the same as a fun way for kids to review instruments and their families!
These boards have been sitting in my classroom for quite awhile, and I kept putting off the fun part; creating the new and improved music version! Now that I have a bit more time in between zoom meetings and creating youtube videos for distance learning, I have decided that a project I want to take on is improving childhood games in a musical way. I plan to do this with other games such as Candyland, Don't Break the Ice, Jenga, and more. For Guess Who?, I tried to find the original 1998 version (better quality in my opinion) but I had to settle for a newer version found on Amazon. It is cheaply made, but works decently. There is a template available for purchase on teacherspayteachers.com as well, but I chose to make my own.
Please see below a few of the steps I've taken to create this instrument review version of Guess Who?.
I found free instrument clipart through a simple google search. I then measured my board pieces with a ruler, copy and pasted said clipart, and resized them on the google docs as best I could. I added a black border to each clipart picture as well and had to trim down some more than others depending on the shape.
After I cut out each picture, I took a glue stick and glued each one on top of the board faces. Sometimes, my sizing worked out perfect, sometimes you could see a bit of blue. I did this with both the blue and red board. Once you put them in the board, it doesn't seem to matter much.
I then put each instrument into the board in a random order. I did the red and blue side by side to be sure that the instruments were as random as possible. Please note that I did not label the instruments on the board, but I will be on the cards they choose themselves. This game will be a review to see what they remember about each instrument by sight.
The finished product! I did the same for the blue board, as well as all of the cards that the players choose. I can't wait to try this game out in our game centers this fall.
Our amazing music students have come back from vacation with lots of musical energy, and a desire to learn!
Students in Mrs. DiVece's 5th grade class listen as a fellow classmates composition is played on our smart board.
Fourth and fifth grade students have been working very hard in Mrs. Ferris' music class on composing a variety of songs. Students were given an outline on different assignments in the hopes that they write their own pieces, and explore the Noteflight program with a few guidelines.
Noteflight allows students to write music using all different kinds of instruments, while adding notes of all values, the ability to add articulation, lyrics, and so much more. Each student receives their own personal account that they can access on any computer with internet access. This is a unit that fourth and fifth graders do every year.
Mrs. Button's 3rd grade class practices carefully for their violin demonstration.
Mrs. Koller's 3rd Grade class and Mrs. Ferris demonstrate how to properly hold a violin.
Students share out with families, even teaching them to play a tune!
In the EWSD, we are extremely fortunate to have a successful 3-12 strings program. All of our students are exposed to basic violin instruction early on, in the hopes that many will either want to continue a string instrument in the 4/5 orchestra, or to even just have the amazing opportunity of the learning of an instrument.
The unit is 7 weeks long, and our violins are rented from Vermont Violins in Burlington, Vermont. The students learn the parts of the violin, as well as how to play pizzicato, and with the bow. Students learn the knowledge of the open strings, as well as how to play other notes at a basic level in a few positions. If they choose in 4th grade to join the orchestra with Mr. Valyou, they will have the choice of violin, viola, cello, or the double bass. Students receive information concerning this at the start of 4th grade in their music class.
The unit is complete with a demonstration for parents to come and observe if able. All of our demonstrations this year were wonderful, and the students did very well. I look forward to seeing which students try their hand at orchestra next year!
This past December, all classes (in their own time) earned a Music Games Day! Our stations this round are Musical Twister, the famous SIMON game, puzzles and a musical word search, as well as Chromebook music games through musictechteacher.com!
Each class was split up into small groups, and everyone experienced each station. This was for fun, yes, but also, this helped classes to practice team work and practicing social skills in the music classroom.
Throughout music class in December, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students will all participate in our yearly recorder unit. If your child ordered a recorder, they will receive it after the break during their first music class of the week.
During this unit, students will move at their own pace through a 'Recorder Hero' packet that contains many songs varying in ability. The songs start out easy, and get harder as you go on. Students will have time for group, as well as individual practice.