#6 Center Activities (Updated as of 7/18/15)
----------------------------,br> 11/13 My kids love GREEN EGGS & HAM on the 'Rock 'n' Roll Songs That Teach' CD. ?(I THINK it is also on the 'Literacy in Motion' CD--which has songs to go with various children's books)
07/13 Themes publishes "MUSIC CENTER KITS" that each have 5 great games for use with grade 3-6. The kits include everything you need to set up the center: student directions to copy, multiple copies of the colored game boards, cheat sheets to copy (if needed). You can find them on mk8:
RHYTHM DICE GAMES are also great for centers. They are also available on MK8.
If you haven't checked it out yet, look for my recorder app in the itunes store. Search for Learn and Play recorder.
Denise Gagne, managing editor Themes & Variations: www.musicplaytext.com, www.facebook.com/musicplaycurriculum, 1-888-562-4647
12/11 CARD GAMES: I have three or four music uno sets that I made and have used in centers. One set is music symbols, one or two are instruments, and the other...notes and rests, maybe? Anyway, check the archives, I got the idea and the blank card template and instructions on how many of each thing to make, etc. from the list. Now that I'm smarter than I used to be, I would print things on the cardstock instead of hand-writing symbols or gluing instrument pics on each one (I'm thinking make ppt slides and use the "print x slides on one page" feature...) I think it's something like four each of however many different things, and each is a different color - I used the round labeling stickers for that. I used these from 6th down to 2nd or 3rd grade, I think - K and 1st could probably understand and play the game, but I'm not sure they could do it without supervision. ---- Ann Wells
Not a card game . . . but my kiddos enjoy the music dice games. Also great for a sub tub!
http://www.musick8.com/store/alphadetail.php?product_group=1493 ---- Todd in Santa Fe
There is great book called The Big Book of Music Games. It has lots of games for any element that you can copy and make. For example, there are games for the little kids to learn the musical alphabet and another one for older ones to review instruments. It's a great buy for centers! ---- Angela R. Lyon
1. COMPOSER BINGO: play Name that person, play Who Am I?, look at and read books
2. Instruments Igloo: Instrument Bingo, use picture flashcards, listen to sounds & name that instrument, look at and read books
3. SSB Street: put the word cards or phrase cards in order, definitions, play to read & act out, look at and read books about the SSB
4. Rhythms Road: Rhythm Bingo, shoe pocket board, Popsicle stick game - clap it and notate it using Popsicle sticks, match rhythms to words like holidays, foods, etc...
5. Music Terms Turnpike: use flashcards, play Hangman on my dry eraseboard, Symbols/Terms Bingo
6. Staff Steps: Staff Bingo, Freddie the Frog books & CD, blank staff paper game with sweethearts or coke bottle tops, Staff Wars on the Promethean board
7. Melody Madhouse: Melody Bingo, hum a song & name that tune, my Hummable Game
8. Technology Tavern: Promethean board, Staff Wars, websites - dsokids.org & nyphilkids.com, iPad apps, YouTube videos from recorders, to boomwhackers, to piano stairs, to Blue Man Group, to Hansel and Gretl free website ---- Tami Mangusso
07/11 STAR WARS ON COMPUTER - this is a game someone on the list mentioned (you have to download it - it doesn't run on an Internet page). My kids love it. I have 3 computers and I have two go to each computer - one helps and one runs the mouse, then they switch when they run out of lives (doesn't take long - it gets faster as the levels increase).
MAGNETIC BOARD W/NOTES: with different notes/rests drawn on them The students divide into two teams and throw a big dice. They have to take notes/rests off the board that add up to the number of beats they rolled on the dice. If they get it right, they get this many points for their team. ----- Pam
1. JENGA: I use the Avery return address labels and I print rhythms on them. If a player is successful in pulling a stick out, then they read the rhythm and put the block on the top of the tower. You can put whatever you want on the blocks. You could use notes on the treble clef, make clues about instruments or composers, etc.
2. DON’T BREAK THE ICE: I bought the real game from Target. On the cubes I taped 1" x 1" squares. I use Blue Jello syllables from Music Mind games. So the ice cubes have a picture of the Blue Jello syllable and then I made a deck of cards that has the real music note. The first player flips a card over and then they have to find the cube that matches and hammer it out. They play until the ice breaks. I do change this game up from time time. You can put rhythms on the blocks and the deck of cards have rhythms on them and they have to match the rhythm. You can also use instruments, real note names, note values, etc. That is why I tape 1" inch squares on. Whenever I want to change it I can just remove the squares and tape the new ones on.
3. DON’T SPILL THE BEANS: I bought the real game from Target. I made a deck of cards with various notes or music math equations. Students have to figure out how many beats there are and that is how many beans they put on the top of the bean bowl. The goal of the game is to get all the beans on the top of the bowl.
4. GONE FISHIN’: I bought this game from Lake Shore Learning. They have a fishing activity for letters or numbers. I just bought the letter one. I taped 1" squares to the fish. Each player gets a board that I made and they have to find 4 sets. A complete set includes a fish with the real note on it, one with the syllable sound, and then one with the real note name. Students fish until someone has found all their fish.
5. I HAVE: I made my cards, but this game is not my creation. There is a deck of cards and all the cards are dealt out. Leave one card in the middle of the playing area. The cards are double sided. There is an "I Have" side and a "Who has" side. When they are ready to start they flip the card in the middle to the "Who has" side. Everyone looks through their deck of cards to see if they have it. Who ever slaps it down first wins the round (there is more than one card). They play until someone runs out of cards. The first person who is out of cards is the winner. My cards have notes with the Blue Jello syllables, but you could put the real note names on or you can put rhythms on them or make a set with the notes on the music staff. You make about 4 of each card (e.g 4 cards that say "I Have" quarter note), then just make the "Who has" have something different on each one.
6. MUSIC SEQUENCE I made based on the real Sequence card game. I one game that is a focus on rhythms and one that is based on the classroom instruments (e.g cowbell, alto xylophone, djembe, etc.). You play the game just like the real game. They have to get 5 in a row
7. PIRHANA PANIC: I bought the real game from Target on sale (it is a pricey game). I made a deck of cards with real notes on them. Students must figure out how many beats the note gets and that is how many spaces their little fish will move up the river. The goal of the game is to get all 3 fish up the river before the Piranhas attack. This game comes with marbles (the fish). My students love this game and want to play it all the time.
8. Center with me: I will either introduce a new game to them that I will use to assess them or they will take a test with me. They either read ----- Tami Mangusso
COMPUTER-MUSIC ACE: I have one computer and use Music Ace every day. One of the first days of school I show the program to my classes, show them how it works, and give them my rules (#1 - I can tell how well they did on the games and which lessons they completed - because I write it all down...#2 - they cannot advance to a new level until they have at least completed the lesson (sometimes the games are a bit frustrating for my special ed kids) #3 - If I "catch them" wasting time and goofing around the next person on the list gets to go.) The list I use is the class list with the first names alphabetized - the last letter kids finally get a chance! The student sits at the computer and wears headphones ($10 at Target) and completes as much as they can in the 40 minutes provided - the computer is positioned in such a way that only I can see the screen (not the rest of the class) and I can check up on things occasionally. The students usually get through 3 - 4 lessons in that time and get at least 2 chances a year to play.
GAME: WAR- I bet some of your students already know how to play War, using standard playing cards. It should be easy, then, to teach them to play the same game using a deck consisting of 4 cards of each note value. Deal out all the cards to 2 or more players. Each player turns the cards face down. All players lay out the topmost card. The player laying out the note with the longest value gets all of the cards which were just laid out. In the case of a tie, a "war" takes place. This means that the tying players lay three cards face down and one card face up, while saying "I declare war," with one card to a syllable. The player laying the face-up card with the greater value gets all of the cards which were just laid out.
If a war results in another tie, another war takes place.. If a player is thus left with fewer than four cards for a war, that player forfeits those cards and loses the game. To be authentic, you must continue the game until one player wins all of the cards in the deck. You can allow this in an informal situation with no strict time allotments. But in a regular classroom situation, you might prefer to continue the game only until the players run through the cards which were dealt out.
10/04 1. BOOMWHACKERS CENTER: Students will be able to play a simple song on the boomwhackers by working together in a small group. The students have 8 boomwhackers and copies of easy Music K8 boomwhacker songs. Materials needed: One set of boomwhackers and music. 2. COMPOSER CENTER: Students find three interesting facts about one composer that they think the class will not know. At the end of class they will have these facts written in a paragraph about the composer. Materials needed: Six different books about composers.
3. LISTENING CENTER: Students draw music while listening to a classical song such as Breakfast with Bach. Materials needed: CD Player with music, six headphones, paper, colored pencils.
4. KEYBOARD CENTER: Students learn simple songs on the keyboard working individually with small keyboards. Materials needed: Six small keyboards, simple songs, keyboard notation.
5. XYLOPHONE CENTER: Students learn to play a simple song on the xylophone by working together learning mallet technique. Materials needed: Hot Marimba song or other xylophone music, two alto xylophones, two soprano xylophones and two bass xylophones.
6. MEMORY GAME CENTER: Students use rhythmical music notations card game to play the matching game. Materials needed: Rhythm cards.
7. DRUMMING CENTER: Students work on rhythm patterns and drumming techniques while playing rhythm patterns. Materials needed: Six tubano/or hand drums and drumming music.
8. BOOK CENTER: Students read stories with a musical content. Materials needed: Tub of books.
9. WRITING CENTER: Students Compose four bar rhythm and play it together on non-pitched rhythm instruments. Materials needed: Papaer, pencils, rhythm instruments.
1. Blue-Melody- All Melody center things require the kids to choose from assorted "song cards" I have made, each on a differant file folder. they can choose to play these on one of my 4 yamaha keyboards, Orff Xylophones, Mettalophones, or bells or the piano. if they are not playing a song card I made for them, they must be working on something from their music notebook. I don't allow just "crib play and banging" The orff instruments are always located on my riser steps that are built into one side of my room. The keyboards and piano are along a wall.
2.Green- Rhythm- they choose to play rhythms I have posted near a shelf of rhythm instruments I choose and offer, or make their own rhythms to accompany a song they know.
3. Orange-Art Corner- they can choose to draw, use music stencils, music stamper ink kits, color misc. musical pics I offer there, or make musical matching games, write poems or songs.
4. White-Autoharp- Again I offer "song cards" to choose from to play songs with instructions and strum marks I've added.
5. Purple- Singing Room- I have a practice room connected to my classroom (with a glass window in it for me to see through if needed) with a tape player and tapes of songs I've selected to put in there. Of course, they are songs we're learning or have learned.
6. Turquoise-- Scarf Dancing/ Recorder Practice room- another room I have available off my classroom and the stage- with a tape player, elected songs and scarves and a big full-wall mirror to dance in front of. This room doubles as a recorder practice room for 4th and 5th graders.
7. Pink- Computers- I have 3 computers, each with two headphones (they can go two at a time to each )- I choose to use various programs at dif. times like Metrognomes, Treehouse, Beethoven lives Upstairs, Music Ace, Alice In Wonderland, Professor piccalo, Julliard Music adventure, MIDI activities, or net sights I have bookmarked, etc..
8. Red- reading- a reading center filled with books about music and songs and a pillow to lie on or two.
9. Yellow- Listening Center- Again, a tape player and my choice of listening activities.
10.Black- Puppet Center- I have a puppet theater and various puppets to choose from in a basket. They can make up a play, sing songs, or choose to act out a book from the reading center.
#11- brown games- a box from which the students choose from assorted games- I use floor charts for music tic tac toe for rhythm playing and symbol recognition, also twister with music notes written on the colored circles and spinner, Musical instrument Bingo, instrument family card games, and a floor chart music staff bean-bag Throw game.
Important Notes: After 2 free days at centers, we follow with a Showtime Dat where the kids get to perform something they learned in Centers if they wish. We perform with KAraoke machine, mics and all where appropriate. We even choose an emcee and a holder of an "Applause" sign. A great way to teach audience and performers skills!
I may have left something out but off the top of my head i can't remember anything else. if I did.I can say, once the students are "trained" in how to this it flows very smoothly for most. they really LOVE DOING CENTERS! they think of it as free time. I see it as free exploration time to review things we've learned lately and in the past. Also it allows everyone to choose to play where they really enjoy! Some of these kids would never get to explore these instruments for any length of time otherwise.
Center 1: a tub of popsicle sticks and unpitched percussion instruments. The children make 4 beat patterns (ta, titi, rest) and play them on the instruments.
Center 2: a tub of tennis balls and a list of poems and nursery rhymes. The children say the rhyme while bouncing the beat.
Center 3: a tub of empty plastic tennis ball containers and lids, and a tub of "junk" (legos, buttons, stones, metal objects, etc.) The children make a shaker and as a group play rhythm patterns I have left at the center.
Center 4: a listening center with headphones. The children listen to the tape I have in the machine. This music would be related in some way to a previous lesson, or current theme at school. It might include a listening map, or marker for them to create their own map.
Center 5: a tub of rhythm cards I made. They play a game like WAR. The card with the longest note value wins the stack.
Center 6: Note reading center: 4 or 5 keyboards with headphones and several examples of music we have already studied, or new music using treble clef. After they play the example, they can play it using the different synthesized sounds.
That is one particular day; on others I have a xylophone center with a note reading or improv task; a scarf center with a particular tape to use scarves with; a center to improvise a play with hand puppets based on music in the machine; a reading center with books about music, instruments, musicians, and little storybooks we have used for lessons in class.
BACK to Academic Integration topics**********************************************************************
CHANCE MUSIC: One that was fun was music by chance. I made sets of cubes with rhythms on one cube and solfege syllables on the other. The kids rolled the dice, and wrote out the notation in G pentatonic and in C pentatonic. They then practiced and played for me the song on a bar instrument, recorder or sang.
COMPOSER A LIMERICK: (A single picture or scene on the page with directions): 1. Write a limerick about this picture. 2. Use sound effect instr. to accent some words or phrases. These accents usually sound best when placed at end of a phrase or group of words-no right on words. 3. Sound effects will sound best if you try to match instr. to description of the phrase. Ex: Bears walking...drums or triangle?
COMPOSE NEW LYRICS! Ask the children to take a simple song, "Farmer in the Dell", "Bingo", "Camptown Races" and have the children change the lyrics to the song.
COMPOSER A 'RAPPIN' RECIPE: (A picture of food, cooking items) "Rappin Recipe" 1. Write a rappin' recipe of about 8-10 lines about picture on this card. Decide, based on the ingredients shown in picture what you are making. (cake, cookies, etc.,) 2. Your recipe must: sound as if it would work should we decide to cook it (most of ingredients should be real and contain quantities (1 cup, 1/2 cup, 10 ounces, etc.,) 3. Your rap must have a rhythmic ostinato 4. You must perform your rap for class.
COMPOSE A SOUND STORY: (A single picture or scene on the page with directions): 1. Write a very short story about picture (8-10 lines) 2. One instrument must play an ostinato throughout entire story (drum, piano, bass Xylo, metallophone) 3. Use instr. to accent characters, phrases, actions, etc., in your story. Give each character a theme (melody or just rhythm) and each time character is mentioned you must follow the 'name' with that theme.
COMPOSERS: (I made a tape of 13 composer 30 sec. segments, made a card with their pictures on it, a bio sheet with info and worksheets; 1st grade: a Europe map with all birth countries (+ others) and color in countries they were born in. 2-3 grade: Timeline to fill in. Play game of composer fish. (This I bought from Music in Motion.) --- Sandy Toms
COMPOSING- There were many different activities for composition, again, with varying degree of difficulty, rhythmic, chant, standard and non-standard notation. Some were directly from old textbooks, others adapted from same. Some were out of my own little head ;-}
COMPOSING: I purchased a Music Maker~ they're in all of the music catalogs~ that trapezoidal wooden box with wire strings. They come with trapezoidal song sheets to slide under the strings and pluck to play a song. First the kids would play a song or two to get the hang of it. Next, they'd play/create their own song, putting the score down on blank song sheets I'd made.
COMPOSERS' MONTHLY-I copied (legally!) many different composer newsletters from different stylistic periods, color coding. The kids had to do one from the blue group, one from the pink group, etc. "Do" means read the information and answer the questions at the end.
COMPOSERS: Biographical materials and listening materials were available for a number of composers. Using these research materials kids could: A) write a standard report; B) make a poster with pictures and info; C) Write a simple illustrated biography and read it to a kindergarten class; D) Take a composer cards (Two for each) from the bulletin board. Find date of birth, write it on one card and put it on a timeline on bulletin board. The other card was to say the composer's birthplace. These were hung by string from a world map that I had mounted on the ceiling. This was my very favorite thing. BR>--------------------------
PHONE COMPOSITION: (take phone #, put a note on staff on those numbers or spaces (their choice), label letter names, play composition on xylophone. b. Take 2 phrases of a poem, try out different rhythms, notate, then come up with melody, notate, play
CROSSWORD: Watch filmstrip, video, or read a book and complete a crossword of questions about that medium. (See www.puzzlemaker.com)
DECODE A DESIGN: 3 different levels of difficulty (Each sheet has a square with 121 [11 x 11] boxes and each box contains notes and rests of different values layed out in a design)
DOMINOES: I made dominoes with varying degrees of difficulty matching note to rest, note to number value, pitch to pitch, etc.
EAR TRAINING - This has been one of my practical centers that is done on an individual basis. I have a worksheet in front of the student while they listen to a tape (I made) with exercises in the following: up or down; sol or mi; which pattern do you hear (sml, mls, slm, etc.,)
Then (as in number 6), there is a series of 24 -4" by 6" cards with melodic patterns of 4-5 notes on them (4 patterns); They have to identify which pattern they are hearing(on the tape) and mark it on the worksheet; They then correct this page with a color coded answer key which they match up the answer color (on each card) with the color on answer key. It's just color but that makes it fun. If anyone wants more explanation, contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org --- Sandy Toms
--- Sandy Toms
EXPERIMENT WITH NEW SOUNDS: Have them make kazoos with wax paper and paper towel holders and then experiment with other materials to see what sounds they make.
Have groups create glass harmonicas(water in glasses) and create a scale.
HARMONICA: Have them play a song on the harmonica.
GAMES-I purchased a couple of decks of Great Composers playing cards and Women Composers playing cards.
KEYBOARD: (one person per session) 2d-3d grade I have a keyboard, earphones, worksheet (note names), flash cards, instructions to do worksheet, flashcards then I have 3 simple step-wise melodies for them to practice. 1st grade: (I don't require note names for 1st grade)I have a general rhythm worksheet (up-down, step-skip, rhythms) then I have them do a lesson from Bastien using the black keys and number fingers (Their first book has a few lessons at the beginning like this.)--- Sandy Toms
I have some Casio keyboards. Cheap ones and I have the students learn or compose a song on them. With Head phones.
LISTENING- There were three listening centers, each with four sets of headphones. This was the only center where the kids had no choice...they were scheduled on certain days to use the blue or yellow listening center, and the green center was free for use as an EXTRA. One center had Mozart's Magic Flute (Classical Kids) with a fill in the blanks listening guide that I wrote...more to keep them actively listening than to recall info. The other had various styles of music with drawing/writing materials about similarities & differences, mood, feelings expressed, etc.
MATCH THESE NOTES (& patterns of notes) a match (same line or space but maybe different rhythmic value) and draw matches, then play a match game. (Played like war. This game is better for older kids I've found.)---- Sandy Toms
MELODY, RHYTHM & HARMONY: At different times, different groups would learn one part of a piece and eventually, as a class, would perform the whole piece.
MELODY TASK CARD
1. Each person will need an instrument or set of bells.
2. Choose one person to assign groups (or individuals) to play B, C, and D.
3. Clap and say note names together.
4. Practice learning your parts (A + at least one other)
HARMONY TASK CARD
You will need the following instruments: (Whatever is on hand)
1. If you have 3 group members use: 4 members, use:
2. Choose one person to assign groups (or individuals) to play parts 1,2,3
3. Clap and say note names together.
4. Practice learning your parts: A and B,C, D
NOTE NAMES: STAFF WORDS - Cards (23) with 3 notes on a staff that spell a word. Answer sheet given when completed. At bottom of answer sheet is section called "Statistics" : 1. How many did you get correct? 2. List the letter names you missed. 3. Did you miss mostly line notes or space notes? 4. Did you need a helping guide for this exercise?
ORFF: Xylophones and Glockenspiels - Choose a song, learn rhythm, rhythm with solfeggio, sing words. (See teacher to show it’s accomplished - Then play part (Written on song card) and sing. --- Sandy Toms
ORFF: Have a definite pitched instrument( xylophone, glockenspiel, ect) available for the students with a piece of music or a song, no words, that is familiar to them. ask them to play the tune and figure out what it is.
ORCHESTRA FAMILIES (1st grade) Label family name with instruments; play game (fish with orchestra families) --- Sandy Toms
ORCHESTRA INSTRUMENTS: Packets of cards, match name with instrument and fill out worksheet with pictures of instruments. --- Sandy Toms
PATTERNS IN MUSIC This is 4 worksheets spotting musical patterns and creating some themselves. They can use the button boards if they want. (Buttons as notes on fishline on staff.)
PUZZLES: I made gazillions of jigsaw puzzles with composer names, pictures, instruments, instrument families, etc. Some were multi piece, like regular jigsaw puzzles, others were matching two pieces to find the name of the composer, the instrument whatever. Just put your information on cardstock ~you can have a picture on front and word on back, or both on front~ cut into two pieces with a wavy or ziggy line, making sure that it is different enough from all of the others that it won't fit with the wrong 1/2.
LOTTO: I made several Lotto games with composer pictures, instruments, notes...
RHYTHM - COLOR THE VALUE:
a. Find each note or rest and color boxes as follows: whole note: red, half rest: orange, etc., b. Use note/rest values for 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 6/4: 4 beats-blue, 3 beats: purple, 1/2 beat-green, etc.,(using mostly single notes, rests, or one 'ti-ti', triplet, 4 sixteenth notes)
c. As b but boxes contain up to 6 beats with different combinations of note values including 2 sixteenths with an eighth, etc.,
RHYTHM: 2 Students learn a rhythmic rondo, then perform it using sticks and other rhythm instruments. --- Sandy Toms
10/08 RHYTHM TWISTER: plastic table cloth with the fuzzy back(helps it stick to the floor). I draw the notes we're working on onto them and then let two students do the game while one calls out the cards. We do this as part of our 'stations' day. I have four notes on one, and another twister game at a different station with different notes. --- Heather Jackson MISSING RHYTHMS: NOte-o Worksheets (Missing rhythms) then play a bingo game of note values and another of musical symbols. --- Sandy Toms
ROCK & ROLL HISTORY: 1. You are going to make up questions for a trivia game. Each group member must make up one question. You can take your question from the listening assignment or from any of the resoure material in the listening center. Show teacher your questions and answer. Place all approved questions and answers on "Master Trivia Sheet."
SOLFEGGIO: Color Key Worksheet identifying solfeggio syllables. This one's fun to correct because the kids overlay each card to match colors with their card and the answer. When completed, they can play music concentration. (Pairs of card on poster board which they have to know the match for such as: f and forte(loud) and symbols with their names (crescendo and symbol)
TIC-TAC-TOE MUSIC: (Their favorite) a set of questions (answer on back)about instrument names, note names (1st grade exempt) solfeggio names, symbol names; Kids have 4 playing boards, big x's and o's, a spinner board with the color of the 4 playing boards. They answer a question then if correct, spin the spinner (homemade - used construction paper, cardboard and fastener) and put an x or o on the board of their choice. 4 games at the same time! --- Sandy Toms
SOUND STORIES: (NOTE – at the home site there is a file with sound stories you could use) Read poem or story out loud. Have task cards. Pick a reader to narrate. Rest of group produces sounds and music. Rules: all sounds made with instruments, everyone participates, perform for class.
07/05 IDEAS - http://www.musick8.com/html/ideadisplay.tpl?cart=3330447976507127&ibid=979& category=Idea%20Bank%20Search%20Results&page=/html/idearesults.tpl -- Monica Autry
IDEAS www.musiceducationmadness.com/centers.shtml -- Karen Stafford
BACK to Academic Integration topics***********************************************************************
1. Xylophones - I provide two of Walt Hampton's songs for the students to ork on together.
. Keyboards - I provided Mr. Everybody's activities.
. Boomwhackers - I provided two of the songs from Music K8.
. Board Game - This is a homemade game that has sixteen squares with circles in some squares and some squares are left open. The students use hythm instruments to play the rhythm based on the side of the board they re sitting on. The extra person can be the beat keeper. I also added some quares with two smaller circles for paired eighth notes.
. Listening station - The students listened to a song and then used paper and colored pencils to draw pictues based on the title of the song selections. I had headphones at this station like the old reading headphones.
. Reading station - The students could read a book about making music instruments, composers or a story that could be set to music ---- Caryn Mears, Kennewick, WA
WITH KINDERGARTENERS: I do centers with my kinders every year. I don't start them on centers until December or January. I usually have 3-4 in a group. Keep in mind that kinders won't always do the center they way you intended it. I use to get upset because they weren't doing the center correctly, but then I realized that they are only 5 years old and they are very curious and they love to explore. When I do centers I have one of the centers with me so I can work with small groups. I usually take common games (e.g. Don't break the Ice) and turn them into a music activity. I have shared with the list in the past on the centers I do. I have about 6-8 centers going on at one time. Centers do take a lot of prep work, but once you get them started they are easy to use and the kids love them. I also like them because I can work with small groups to do some assessments and to check for understanding. Kinders are capable of doing centers just remember to give them time to explore and eventually you will see them doing the activity correctly. You do have to have lots and lots of patience especially with the younger grades. The other great thing about having centers is that you use them whenever you have a sub. Another fun thing to do to make notes is to use Play Dough. My students love to make music notes with Play Dough. You can also get wax string called Wikki Sticks. They bend similar to pipe cleaners. You can usually buy a classroom set from teacher stores or catalogs.I buy my Play Dough from Target. I buy the party packs. They come with 15 small containers of Play Dough. If you check the archives for Centers you should find the post that I posted last year on this topic. I explained all the centers I do and how I set them up. ---- Tami in CO
My sixth grades in particular like the "freedom" centers give them. In reality, the whole process is VERY controlled by the lessons and expectations. I have more centers than I use at one time, but depending on the size of your room you don't want to have more than 2 or 3 (maximum) "sound" centers going on at once.
Sound centers would be Melody, Harmony, Rhythm, Sound Story. Other centers are Skill work (skill sheets which usually relate to skills they will need in other centers); games; listening; activities (using manipulatives/ combinations of skill sheets and games/self correcting activities.) Often the sound units will be working on components of the same piece. Each sound unit is responsible for performing for the class at the end of the period or when they finish the lesson.
If the melody, harmony and rhythm groups were working on the same piece (which they don't realize), then they perform together after first performing their task alone. They're usually shocked to find out how the parts fit together and love that they taught themselves the parts and accomplished so much. Sometimes the simplest part when combined with the other 2 parts can sound really great.
Simplicity is usually the key with success being the goal. All centers have some type of a sheet that must be completed making them accountable for what they learned. There is also a group sheet where the student captain writes down what students.
THEME: Our school theme was exploring, and I consider composers to be the explorers of the musical world. We had, at that time, 2-30 min. sessions a week. I'll try to give you a skeleton version of materials and processes, but even that will be long! The planning, creating materials and formatting and producing all of the recording sheets for each activity took hours and hours and hours. If you decide to do centers, be prepared to spend time making stuff, and LAMINATE EVERYTHI NG!!!! I even laminated the manila envelopes that I used for each game, activity, worksheet. They lasted for the whole year..I think some are still floating around here!
1. I have charts near the front door which say "Where to sit" and "What to get". Each group looks there to see what to pick up (folder,recorder, pink paper, pencil, a number, or whatever) on the way in, and what seating arrangement (riser seats, rainbow rows on the floor, circle on the floor, centers, etc.)
2. Each student had a folder, color coded by classroom. I have numbered folder slots in my entry way, so they picked up their folders on the way in the door. Each number is used by all of the classes (yellow #7, orange # 7, blue #7, etc.), but the kids just took their color folder out and got to work.
3. Folders contained the Master Composer Check-off Sheets stapled into folder. The sheets included a scoring guide (EVERY activity was self-scored, some were also teacher-scored), and a checklist of activities in four categories.
4. Each of the five categories, LISTENING (2), GAMES(2), COMPOSING(3)COMPOSERS MONTHLY, and EXTRAS(2), had a mandatory number of choices that must be completed, shown in parentheses above. Each activity had some kind of paperwork or other means of accountability that would also be stored in the folder.
OVERVIEW: Over the past year, I have used centers. I, too, have a 40-minute class. With 20-24 students in each class, I will break into 5 groups, and have them go to 5 centers around the room, usually for about 5 minutes. This gives me time at the beginning to review, and time at the end to have students clean up and do a final wrap-up activity. Usually, I do centers when I want to assess students so that will be one center. Other centers will include a singing center (I recorded my voice and accompaniment, which greatly helps the students to sing), and a game center (a great one for centers is tic-tac-toe – I learned about this in an article somewhere. I have rhythm patterns on index cards – these go into the squares. To win a square, students must read the rhythm correctly. You win when you get three in a row). I agree that activities should be something students can do independently. I have found, though, that using tape recorders helps. I can sing along with them (which makes the singing more meaningful for them…instead of everyone singing in their own key), or do dictation exercises. -- Joel Spinney
01/07 FOLDERS: After you have decorated the outside and placed the questions, etc. on the inside, laminate the folders before letting the students use them. They will last FOREVER! I have many folder centers and have used them for over 15 years. They still look great! Folders are wonderful for space - or lack thereof -and filing away. Decorate the outside of the folder for enticement. Give each activity a "creative" name. (Can't wait to get inside approach.) Example of a folder: "Clip Your Thoughts" Supplies: The folder and colored paper clips. (Assign a GOLD paper clip as the paper clip to hold.)
1. Questions are written on the inside of the folder. (Two statements per question.)
2. Students will clip the appropriate color clip to the gold holding clip.
………..Ex. 1. If a whole note gets four counts, clip a blue clip. If a whole note gets one count, clip a yellow clip.
…………Ex. 2. If a quarter note is vocalized as "ta," clip a pink clip. If a quarter note is vocalized as "ti-ti," clip a green clip.
On the back of the folder place a pocket and slip an answer sheet in the pocket. (Laminate the answer sheet too.) Answers: GOLD, blue, pink -- Pamela Rezach
I have six centers set up with each student assigned to a group of four. They each have a name (Tune Clippers, Classics, Etc.) represented by a different colored bear that are hung on the board with magnets. Each of my six centers have a name, (Rhythm Ranch, Note Nook, Etc.) that are represented by initials on a star magneted to the board. Students rotate through centers, one for each class period. I move the initialed stars each class rotation. They look on the board and know where to go without me saying anything. Each center has its name on a poster around the room.(Example)Tune Clippers RR (Rhythm Ranch)Classics NN (Note Nook)Jazzers SS (Symbol Stadium)Twisters CC (Composer Corner) Rappers KK (Keyboard Korral)Harmonics MM (Musicians Mart)I use a lot of file folder games and music games. The kids love rotating through. I change their activities three times during year (seasonal). Occasionally I'll use computer activities.
1: Rhythm; worksheets of writing rhythms (using cards of single measures the kids choose the order; worksheet of 'complete the missing notes'; sheet to compose own rhythm and 1 measure ostinatos to accompany; kids have basket of rhythm instruments at their disposal; worksheet of written rhythms that have to be learned and performed
2: keyboard flashcards of note names; worksheet of naming the notes (on staff); choice of several pieces 8-12 measures that move by step to learn and play (microphone attached) I put the note names of one octave right on the keys
3: computer: a CD of any education software is good; we're studying American music history this year so I wrote a worksheet out for the CD: Sing An American Story
4: Listen and read I got library books, chose excerpts from classical works and the kids listen, look at book and then fill in a 4 question worksheet
5: Composition compose using xylophone; prepared phrase that kids must develop rhythm for then experiment with melody (there are certain rhythmic and melodic limits here)
07/05 OVERVIEW: I usually do groups of percussion instruments (hand drums, tambourines, lummi sticks, triangles, cymbals, maracas, etc) and first teach the proper way to play each one. If they don't play it correctly, they get to sit out a turn. I split them in groups of 4 or 5, each group to a certain instrument. I will put certain rhythms on the board, have each group play them, or come up with some other activity for them. I will give each group about 30 seconds of "free play" before they start the rhythm on the new instrument. I teach them the sign for a cutoff in conducting so they know when to stop! I'll also say "instruments up" and there must be silence. If they goof off, they lose a turn. The kids absolutely love instrument centers. -- J. Melissa Allen
The centers I've done in the past are (and I have kids in groups):
1. Computer (GOTTA get Music Ace. Kids of all ages love that!) I also go through and put kid-related sites in the Favorites folder ahead of time, sorting them in folders by grade for Internet use. (Check your school's Internet policy. IN my district, the parents have to return a computer usage form in order for the students to be allowed to use computers or have their work posted).
2. Game centers: I've included Artie's Looney Tunes game, Master Musician, Crazy Eighths, and my Concentration board
3. Creativity Centers..........This is where your Orff instruments come in handy. Each kid in the group writes down his/her phone number (and you will have kids who don't know their number: in which case, they make one up). Each digit is assigned one of the first 9 bars of the instrument (C=1, etc.) Zero is a rest. The kids play their tunes, one after another, to establish their theme. Then, using their numbers consecutively to make the theme, they have to come up with variations of that theme (playing the numbers in reverse order of the kids, changing the rhythm, playing harmonically instead of melodically, etc.)
4. Keyboard centers-you may not have those, but if you can invest in inexpensive keyboard (2-3), kids really like this.
5. Reading centers-I let them go in the hall with beanbags, right where I can see them out the door. 6. Listening centers-I have a paperback book of Mozart that came with a tape I use, plus other listening activities with books. Or, the kids listen to biographies of composers on CD or ethnic music.
7. I've done worksheet centers in the past, but I found out sometimes they re more trouble than they're worth. Anyway, for each center, I have a set of questions. I think I have those available for download on the Music Eduation Madness Site: http://www.musiceducationmadness.com/ Each student has to show they've stayed on task at the centers by answering the questions. In the case of the keyboard and creativity centers, since they're asked to do something performance-wise, I listen to them before they're allowed to pass. I tell the kids they have to stay on one center for each music period we do this. They cannot progress from center to center. There's not enough time, and I try to make it active enough that there's plenty to do in 20 minutes. One thing I used to do that I think I might go back to: I had the kids keep music journals, and the kids had to answer a question for their journal before going to their assigned center (If a dog could sing, what would he sing? What is your favorite music and why? etc.,). -- Karen Stafford
07/05 I have a whole article on the Madness Site about setting up centers: http://www.musiceducationmadness.com/centers.shtml -- Karen Stafford "The Music Education Madness Site" http://www.musiceducationmadness.com/
10/04 Cooperative learning activities & centers. I divide the class into groups of five, which means I have 6 groups/centers. Here are some of the things that I do...
(Check for her post in "Centers") I divide the class into groups of four-five students with a total of approximately six groups or centers. I only do centers with fourth and fifth graders towards the end of the year. It takes an entire lesson to explain the centers and then it takes approximately three to four weeks for all of the students to rotate through the centers, doing one or two centers per class period. The most important part of this is to thoroughly explain the expectations at each center. I provide a laminated set of instructions for each center in a plastic tub, along with the materials. It is a lot of work to set up, but once you have it done, it is a breeze. However, be prepared to have a very noisy learning experience!! I also make sure that the students know that they must stay in their center and raise their hand if they need help. This format gives me an opportunity to go to each group and check to see how they are doing. If you do one center a day you can save time at the end for each of the groups to present what they have accomplished. YES, it is LOUD, but it is fun! They are only in their groups for approximately 15-20 minutes. (Some groups want to end sooner, but they are told they must wait for the entire group before they rotate.) ---- Caryn Mears---- Caryn Mears
06/04 Every member of the group has to do the challenge they select.
1. All members of your group must be able to read and play Fifty Nifty.
2. Using the basket of instruments provided, create an accompaniment for the poem provided.
3. Figure out how to play Twinkle Twinkle on xylopipes. All must play together. Notate it on staff paper for triple points.
4. Use recorders to solve nine Musical Mysteries. (They're given a series of 2 measure phrases and must give me the title.)
5. Each member of the group must be able to define these words: coda, variation, harmony, sharp, flat, lyrics, soprano, dynamics. (They can't write them down. I'll ask each one a word.)
6. Identify the family of these instruments: flute, saxophone, etc.
7. Play Peace Round as a canon.
8. Using the rhythm chart provided, perform as a body percussion piece. Double points if all can read it in ta, titi, tika tika format. Triple points if all can read it in quarter, eighth and sixteenth note format.
9. Play a C major scale on the recorder and a G major scale on the piano.
10. Using the dancing canes, choreograph Chim Chiminey from “Mary Poppins”
11. All members must be able to read and play "Chan Mali Chan."
12.Each member must perform a song from a recorder book. Points are based on difficulty and quality of performance.
13. Be able to name the notes on the flash cards. Triple points if each person can tell me a trick to help identify the notes. -- Contributed by Andrea Cope
Since butterflies are our school mascot, I use colored butterflies on the instruments or materials or nearby walls to clue the children in to where to go or find materials. I have a poster on a coat hanger that can be placed up on the board very quickly when I need it, in the front of the room with color-coded buterflies on it and color coded Clothes Pins on each corresponding butterfly, depending on the # of children that each center will hold until it is "filled' to capacity. I have the name of each center written on each butterfly and pics I took with my digital camera of students using each center ( for my younger non-readers). The students choose the clip for where they want to go and wear it until they return it and then choose another or time is out. This color-coded clip is their "ticket" to go to that center.
OVERVIEW: Centers don't have to be anything elaborate. I work out of a cafeteria in my main school, and have set up my centers so that everything can be in place within 5-10 minutes. In my school district, PE and music have "mirror" schedules. Classes are set up in Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday blocks. The classes that music sees on the Monday blocks, the PE teachers see on the Tuesday blocks, and vice versa. On Fridays, the schedules are alternated. (One week is called a Monday/Wednesday week,the other Tuesday/Thursday). Because I get to see my classes a bonus three days every other week, I wanted to establish something special for those Fridays. I decided to designate Fridays as centers days.
I also set up the xylophone and have the students learn a song or Make up a song in that center. I have some Casio keyboards. Cheap ones and I have the students learn or compose a song on them. With Head phones. A Recorder Center. Yes it's not so quiet. I'm immune to noise. A Musical Twister Center. Music Jeopardy, Instrument matching game with pictures of instruments that I had the students color and then I laminated them. I am soon to have a musicial "Go Fish" game. Made the same way as the Matching game. But with four of each instrument. A Musical Bingo game. I have a velcro board that I made with a staff on it that the students enjoy timing themselves to see how quick that they can put the proper letter on the lines and spaces. A center where the students can trace the shape of instruments, learn information on those instruments, and also color them. There are others but I can't think of them right now. Be creative.And invent a few.
I have seven centers: listening, games, recorder, creativity, reading, computer, and worksheet. Each center has a set of instructions and a question page to fill out (except for the worksheet center, of course. In that center, they are to do 2 worksheets). The kids are required to finish 2 centers a quarter (they get two rounds at computer because it's the most time consuming). Each center also has three folders:one for the master copies of the questions, one for completed papers, and one for papers that are incomplete. Each Friday, I tell the students which center they are assigned. If a center wasn't finished the previous session, they are allowed to go back. After that, if they still aren't finished, they must go on to a different one to keep the rotation even, and will eventually return to the center they have not completed.
Some of the stations I used were: autoharp playing (I have big closets, so I set up a playing station in one of my closets), absolute note names (used staff cards and pennies to practice writing, then a musical story), rhythm writing (using popsicle sticks), conducting (using a listening station with 6 headphones), music symbols (I made an electonic question/answer board with different sets of question and answer cards), and 2 other stations that I can not think of right now. I have the direction sheets for each center on the other computer. At each station, I had a short quiz that each students completed during the last 5 minutes of class. This helped make the students accountable. They really did work hard. They seemed to enjoy this format and learned a lot.
I use centers several times a year in my music room. I use them for grades 2-5. I am careful to set up the centers by preteaching examples of the activities during music lessons beforehand, and also waiting until I have set up the systems like rotation when lights go out, appropriate levels of sound, how to use instruments correctly, etc. Even though this activity is very noisy, I have found it very productive for children. The children are divided into groups of 4 or 5. The centers are all marked and include an instruction sheet. They rotate to a new center when the lights go out. Some days that might be every 4 minutes, so they get to all six centers in their 30 minute time, other times I might go 10 minutes and use two music time periods. It would depend on the particular centers I had out that day.
I have a unique setup in my room that involves just that. Through a lot of hard work and some supportive administrators, I am fortunate enough to have 3 student computer workstations in the back of my room. Each has a Mac MIDIed to a synth/keyboard with GM, and headphones for up to 3 students at each station. Students are trained to work independantly while I teach the rest of the class apart from them. (by the way I have a Mac/MIDI setup of my own in the front of the room that I use extensively in my teaching) My 2nd graders explore "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik", a hypercard/MIDI program. 3rd and 4th graders explore basic notereading programs. My 5th graders are composing soundscapes using "Musicshop" sequencer.The downside of all of this is that it takes time to train the students to be independant. Also it can takes a couple of weeks for all of the students to cycle through the computer stations. The upside of this is that the students are excited about using music technology. They experience music learning in a small group seting. It is wonderful to hear the student's compositions. They are able to create, record, and playback their own pieces. Quite impressive to see this amount of expressiveness from 10 year olds!
I just started using centers this year and the kids seem to really enjoy them. I usually have 4-6 centers with 4-6 kids in each group. One is usually a listening center with something classical that we've been studying and perhaps paper and pencil to draw while they listen. Another is a game like music twister, several board games that I made up, bingo, etc. The third is usually an instrument center. Kids work on autoharps, recorders, guitars, Orff instruments, etc. I often give them the letter name of a song or part of a famous classical work such as Beethoven's 5th. Sometimes I have them create a composition around a simple melody such as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Sometimes they have to create a piece in a certain form such as rondo. The fourth center is usually some kind of pencil paper activity relating to something we're studying in class. I hope to add a computer center and a keyboard center when I have time. I find the small groups really help me evaluate the kids better as I can see or hear them work individually. It also gives time for quiet listening to masterworks of music for which there never seems to be enough time. I find that students time on task increases greatly as it's harder to get away with being a passive observer.
4th & 5th graders: They rotated in groups of 2 or 3 every 5-10 minutes, depending on time we had. Some of the stations we used were: Flash cards: Music notation, provide a stop watch so the students who already know all the cards can race against time! Xylophone playing: provide mystery songs (without the titles) that they have to play correctly to guess. Instrument worksheet: a sheet with pictures of instruments, which they have to match to names of instruments. Rhythm Train/Blocks: I designed this myself. I cut 2x2 lumber into various lengths (a whole note is 16 inches, half notes 8 inches...16th notes 1 inch, etc.) They are painted in different colors to match note names, and both the symbols and the symbol names are on them (on the top). Students put the blocks together in lengths, or pile measures on top of each other to make and read rhythm patterns. Staff Game: Throw a bean bag onto a floor staff. Each note name has point values. We play this as a class often. At stations the teams of 2 or 3 keep track of their point total, and the top scorers school-wide received a piece of candy. Piano: Students were asked questions such as "How many C's are on the piano" etc. and they had to write their own.
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Center #1: In one of the older MK8 issues there is a lyrics word find for SSB. I have copies of that and pencils at one station. They take a blank word find, put their name on it and get as much finished in the time that they have and then put it in another folder.
Center #2: Read a short history of the SSB with a partner. When finished, read it again.
Center #3: I printed the lyrics on a pretty American flag. Then printed it on cardstock and cut it into tiny pieces. At this station they put the puzzle together relying on their knowledge of the lyrics.
Center #4 Definitions. This was a folder game with definitions. The word was on the top of a flag or star and the definition was at the bottom of the folder. You lift the little flags and the correct answer is underneath.
Center #5: This one wasn't sturdy enough so it only made it a few times. I took a roll of that adding machine paper and wrote out the lyrics to the song with some strategic blanks here and there. Students were supposed to sing the song and fill in the blanks. Instead they played by rolling the paper around.
Center #6: Coloring sheet with key phrases. Really and ugly beast because it was just hollow letters. LOL. It was one of the first ones to go and was replaced with a better coloring sheet.
Center #7: ORff station. Students read a few measures of melody and played them on xylophones. If I revise this whole SSB thing I would add a listening station with several different performers singing the SSB and either writing down descriptions or matching what they heard with descriptions that I have given them. I would also create a center that used a wooden cube and a copy of the lyrics. On the cube I would write the beginning of phrases such as "Oh say can you see..." or "And the rockets..." Students would role and finish the phrase and their partner would check their answer. I would probably add a computer station with a video from United Streaming. If I had more than one computer to use I would make sure that I had a copy of the music in Finale and I would let students embellish or rearrange it. --- Tracy http://www.musicbulletinboards.net
RESOURCES: http://www.150.si.edu/chap3/flag.htm history
www.youtube.com/watch?v=qciWEufZ2xA ---- Whitney Houston singing The SSB. I like to have the students compare her version to the original....especially the meter change which I absolutely love even though it's "incorrect."
A picture of the original song: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trm065.html ---- Wynn Alexander
10/08 STAR SPANGLED BANNER: See the Star Spangled Banner Reader's Theater Script in the Idea Bank.
There are 63 teaching ideas in the Idea Bank relating to the Star Spangled Banner. My kids loved the story in this script, especially since they were the ones reading it aloud. --- Ardie Roddy
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WORKGROUPS: Use craft sticks and put one number on each stick. Prepare a set of sticks for each class. Place the sticks (numbers in a downward position)in a container labeled for each specific class. When you need a student, pull out a stick and whatever number is on the stick will be the next student to do "whatever." Then, replace the stick in the container so that the number is facing in an upward position. The numbers that are facing up will be the students who have already had a turn. When all the numbers are up, start over and begin turning them in a downward position.
-------------------------- WORKGROUPS: When I do group work with my students I am right up front with them that the "Group Process" is as important as the product. I tell them that at the end of the session they will have to evaluate themselves as groups. They will get one point each for the following: If everyone stayed with the group if everyone participated if problems were solved peacefully if problems were solved without the help of the teacher(I want them to become independent) if the task was completed. At the end of the group work session I ask the children to "give themselves points" for the above and to show me with their fingers if front of their chests how many points they gave themselves. This helps to get the children to focus on the positive qualities I want them to learn from group work.
WORKGROUPS: When my students work in groups, I tell them that I understand we might have noise; afterall, have you ever heard adults work in groups?? (Ha!) The kids think that's funny. Then I tell them, if I hear anything other than music being discussed in their groups, they will loose 1 or all their points for that class period. (Each group automatically begins with 5 points.) Their goal is to end with 5 points and earn more. How do they earn more? At the end of the group session, I ask each person in each group to write down one new thing they learned. They get an additional point for each person's appropriate response. An appropriate response means they tell something they are not supposed to already know.
EVALUATION: They know this is a group grade; therefore, they seem to take care of those who want to "goof-off" without my help. If there is a student who won't co-operate, he knows he will no longer work with the activity music center games, but will have to do worksheets by himself. I've only had to do this with one student!
WORKGROUPS: I almost always choose who works in groups, largely for the reasons you found to be a problem, but also because I want a cross-section of skill levels in each group. A pre-made group-selection activity, such as colored/numbered cards or rhythm patterns cut into puzzle pieces that must be fit together is my favorite way to choose. However, sometimes we just number off around the room, then I have all the number ones stand and get together, etc. An exception to this method is when 5th graders pair up to work on guitars. At this point, most have been with me for six years and know what I expect. I tell them to sit with someone they can be comfortable working with for 40 minutes. For the cases where this doesn't work out, the rule is JUST DEAL WITH IT. Occasionally I need to make some changes, but usually they work it out just fine by themselves.
WORKGROUPS: I have a card file of every students name. They are classified according to class. Whenever I am having them work in groups or if I want an individual student, I pull cards. They know that they are not allowed to complain AT ALL. Most of the kids like the cards, they realize that this the fairest way of doing this. Sometimes I let them pick the cards. I am able to put little notes about the kids on the back of these cards too. I keep the same cards year after year, transfering them to their new class. The initial making of the cards was time comsuming but they are great when it comes to remembering things and choosing people. Beth in ND email@example.com
WORKGROUPS: I always place the children in groups rather than let them choose their own. This eliminates problems with cliques and hurt feelings. I also do this so that I can avoid behavior problems. I have some groups of boys that if I place together, I'm asking for trouble. You might try having them pick numbers or "count off" by 4's or 5's, etc.
In assigning groups, I'll sometimes just call out birthday months. If there are too many in one month, i'll group in the order they respond. If i need two groups, i sometimes call odd birthday months, then even birthday months. this can sometimes take some explaining. Go by alphabet, first name or last. call out a few (a,b,c,d,e) Sometimes, i'll pass out rhythm sticks ( i have them in four colors) then group them according to color.
WORKGROUPS: Whatever it takes to keep them random. And of course, you can always have them count off (one, two, three) however many groups you need. I have older kids group mainly for the purpose of working in cooperative groups to brainstorm and work out assignments. Primary kids group mostly for the purpose of acting out characters or for movement activities.
WORKGROUPS:I usually let groups form themselves, and when possible, allow for flexibility--such as groups of 1, 2, 3, or 4. Some kids just can't handle "groups." I have also spent time talking about group-forming strategies, such as encouraging the reluctant kids to take a risk and ask to join a group--I also instruct groups that they cannot turn anyone away until they have reached the max number prescribed. I find that self-choosing really takes less time than counting-off, prearranging, or using other props or forming games. Self-choosing also usually allows for better groups, since students know with whom they are compatible. On one day that I was feeling particularly clever, I chose the five most obnoxious and unpleasant kids to be team "captains." I let each choose one team member, then that team member chose a third. After half of the kids had been placed on teams, I began to call on the remaining kids and allowed them to choose which team to join. That way, the obnoxious kids were automatically separated. And those who are usually last to be chosen actually got to do the choosing.
I use partners everytime we are on the keyboards (MIE is set up great for cooperative learning). Probably about 7 or 8 times a year we need to be in groups of 3-6 for artwork, composition projects, dance choreography, etc.... If it truly doesn't matter how the groups are composed I have everyone count off in sets of 3 or 4. All 4s go together, all 3s, etc... The kids usually think this is "fair". On occasion when I have wanted to groups to have a fair distribution of labor I have selected them ahead of time.
WORKGROUPS: When we do music centers, I sometimes meet the class at the door and hand each a piece of colored paper. Then they find the center that matches their color. Other times we count off. We try to stay in the same groups until everyone has had a chance to go to all of the centers, so the second (or third) time the class comes in I tell them to go to the center they did last. Then we rotate like "the hands of a clock" and go on to the new center. Tonie@frontiernet.net You could have the kids select a card from a deck of cards...and then group themselves according to which card they selected. For example, all the 4's together, all the Queen's etc....you can assign jobs to members of the groups based upon what suite they got...clubs are the timekeepers, hearts are the writers, etc.
ORGANIZATION: On those days I have enough laminated cards for each center in a blue "Chart Pocket" holder. You know, one like the 1st grade teachers put sentence strips in. Cards are labelled with the choices: Computer Lab, Folder Games, Board Games, Keyboard, Recorders, Tone Chimes, etc.
WORKGROUPS: I choose the first time "who gets to choose 1st." I call out names according to their class participation grade for the 9 weeks. (If they have a bunch of "poor marks" beside their name they choose after the kids with NO marks, etc.
When a kid finishes an activity he returns the card to the "holder" and chooses a different card. It's really simple and I don't have to "be right there" at the pocket chart holder. I can be helping other students and don't have to even monitor much. The Computer Lab cards are usually the ones kids want to trade for. They have to wait until there's a Lab card available to swap in the pocket.
TIME: I usually limit the computer labbers to 15 minutes. Then they have to put their lab card back in the holder and choose another card.
ASSIGNING CENTERS: I only have one keyboard card, however. The kids write their name on the board for 5 minute turns with that card. THEY have to keep tabs on the time of the person right before them. I simply keep an eye out for "fair play". And, I've tried it with 2 people on the keyboard at the same time. Nope. Doesn't work for me! I've too many kids to supervise and I don't want to have to buy a new keyboard. They don't get rambunctous (spell?) with one, but, they try to "show off" when others are watching.
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I use cassette tape recorders for recordings - sound quality is not that great but they are relatively indestructible and easily found at garage sales.
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Caratello, John and Patty, Focus on Composers, Teacher Created Materials, Inc., PO Box 1040, Huntington Beach, CA 92647, 1994.
Fyfe, Joan Z. , Personalizing Music Education , Alfred Pub. 1978. My all-time favorite music ed book!
Hinghorn, Harriet, Famous Composers, TS Denison, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1992.
MacDonald, Mary E., Composers' Monthly Newsletters , PO Box 32056, Franklin Wisconsin 53132-0056 (reproducible; several sets from several years)
Bellerophon Books, 36 Anacapa St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101 MANY composer coloring books; I got mine from Friendship House or Music in Motion, can't remember.out the 13 strips of music notation. You will listen to the song, then put these 13 strips into the correct order to match the first part of the song. You will probably need to listen to the song several times to do this.