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Body Rhythms Game - Sandy Elder
Rhythm Notation
  I have to share a new game I made up (no doubt a conglomeration of ideas gleaned from you people as well as myself!) called Body Rhythms.

GRADE: All. Just make the rhythms grade level-appropriate.
MATERIALS: Board to keep score and your own bodies.

• Create 2 teams (ore more, depending on class size). Choose captains.
• Captains' tasks: Make sure all students are participating and help keep the team organized and working together. Captain may also be the "reader" who reads the rhythm back to the teacher/class.
• Clap a rhythm for team one. They clap it back (and/or say with Kodály syllables, "ta"...).
• Using every person on their team (captain may remain out to "read"), they must notate the rhythm with their bodies on the floor. No one may be left standing (add bar lines if necessary). The team gets a point if correctly notated and read.
• Clap a different rhythm for team two. Repeat procedures.
• Once both teams have taken their first turn, try giving both teams their rhythms (making sure they're different) back to back without waiting, so both teams notate at the same time.


Name Game - Pamela Rezach
Suitable for kids or adults.

One ball. (Soccer balls or basketballs work well.)
Background music - such as a keyboard would provide.

Stand in a circle. Give one person a ball.
  The person with the ball says his/her name (either real name or pseudonym - i.e., a famous composer) on beat one. Beat two - s/he bounces it on the floor towards someone else in the circle. Beat three - the ball is caught by someone else in the circle, and that person says his/her name when they catch the ball. Thus:

Mozart (bounce); Beethoven (bounce); Chopin (bounce); etc.

  You can make this more challenging by picking up the tempo of the background beat.


I've played this game with kids at camp in the following way:

Step 1: Start with 1 ball.  Bounce it to a student saying his/her name.  That student bounces it to another student, saying that student's name - keep going until everyone has been passed to (keep track with a signal - like if you have had the ball passesd to you, stand with your legs crossed).  The trick is, each student has to remember who passed him/her the ball, and who he/she passed it to.

Step 2: Try it again, going in the exact same order.

Step 3: Add another ball - after the first ball has gone through a couple of passes, the next one starts at the beginning.  Keep adding as many balls as you can!!

Step 4: Do it without saying the names out loud - just pass!


Concentration Using Juice Can Lids - Robin Hopper
  I collect juice can lids from my kids all year long. (You know, the kind that's on each end of a can of frozen orange juice. They have nice rounded edges.) I take them home and wash them, and then use a Sharpie pen to make them into concentration "cards." I do 12 pairs that match, plus one that says "wild," for a total of 25 that the kids spread out in a 5x5 grid of lids. I make 5 or 6 sets of these groups of 25, put each set of 25 into a ziplock baggie, and then split the kids up into groups of 4 or 5. Each group gets a baggie, then they sit down on the floor, set up the 5x5 grid and start to play. If they have a question, they raise their hands for my help, but otherwise, there's no need for anyone to talk. The baggies are GREAT to have on hand for those days when I don't have much of a voice or for quick sub activities.
  I use this for identifying notes on the staff - one juice can lid will say "F in a space," and the matching lid will have a small staff with the note drawn in the F space. Variations could include musical terms and their definition, composers and their most famous composition, etc.


Conversational Musical Chairs - Heather
  Here is a great game I found to fill a class period or to use as a class community builder. It was originally called meaningful musical chairs, but one of my 5th graders appropriately named it "conversational musical chairs." Here's the instructions copied straight from Dave's ESL Cafe:
  A fun way for students to mingle and learn about each other the first day of class is to play this version of musical chairs. Arrange chairs in scattered pairs, semi-facing each other. Play some upbeat music. Instruct the students that they are to mingle around the room to the music. When the music stops they must find a chair. Beforehand, a poster has been displayed listing by number 12 topics for introductory discussion, i.e. Home Life, Jobs, Hobbies, Favorite Person, Favorite Food etc. Now, the teacher rolls the dice and whatever subject the number corresponds to dictates what topic each pair will discuss (they must introduce themselves to their partner before discussing). When the music begins again, they know to get up and mingle, waiting for the music to stop and the next round of discussion with someone new to begin.
  I made a rule that you cannot sit with someone two times in a class period. Also, here are my 12 discussion ideas:
1. Hobbies
2. Family
3. Pets you have or wish you had
4. Favorite food
5. Favorite famous person
6. Your house
7. Favorite thing to do at recess
8. Best friend
9. Favorite subject
10. Something new you've learned this year
11. Favorite music
12. Favorite thing about you
  I made an overhead of these for the students to see. I hope someone can use this! My 4-6th graders had a great time with it!


Dice Rhythm Game - Becky Olson
Dice Game
  I bought several packages of dice at the dollar store last year and used them in a game I called "Roll A Rhythm." I challenged my sixth graders to come up with a list of as many ways to notate four beats as possible, using whole, half, quarter, eighth, and sixteenth notes and rests. As students raised their hands and shared a rhythm pattern using ta, ti-ti, etc., I notated it on a transparency on the overhead projector. Each rhythm we notated was checked by another student to make sure it had four beats. (I don't remember how many we finally came up with, but it was a lot!) We randomly divided the rhythms into 12 groups, and then I made a sheet with the groups on them to be handed out in the next class period.
  In the next class period, I divided the students into groups of two or three and gave each group a pair of dice and our sheet of rhythms. They rolled both dice to find out which of the 12 groups of rhythm to use, and then rolled one die to choose a specific rhythm from the list in that group. Whatever the rhythm was, they wrote it down along with the number of their rolls. They continued finding their rhythm patterns by the roll of the dice until they had a 16-measure rhythm composition. This took almost all of the class period. I checked all of the rhythms to be sure they were notated correctly from the master sheet.
  For the next class period, I handed back their "compositions," and they got to chose unpitched percussion instruments to practice and then play their random compositions for the class. It was good rhythm reading practice, and the kids also got to see how many different combinations of sound could come out of the same set of original rhythms. It was lots of fun, and the kids enjoyed it.


End-Of-The-Year Musical Games - Nancy Enders
  I have created several games for the end-of-the-year review. Take library pocket cards and paste 25 on a large piece of oaktag. Laminate it and then cut the pockets open. I make 24 cards - one with an instrument name and a matching one with the picture of that instrument. I make one wild card. Place the cards in random order in each pocket - numbered from 1 to 25. Divide the class into two teams. Have one child pick two numbers and try to get a match. Play continues back and forth between the two teams until all cards have been matched. There will be one card left over - from the wild card match. The kids love this concentration game.

  Another end of year game is Jeopardy with four categories; could be four instrument families with questions about each instrument, composers, rhythms to clap, melodies to identify, etc. I make these on overheads and again divide the class into two teams. We play as the TV game so they must answer in the form of a question.


Floor Staff Game - Rosemary Shaw
  This is both a fun activity for my students and a good opportunity for me to assess students' literacy. I bought a plain colored vinyl tablecloth and drew on it the staff and a treble clef. With two bean bags of different colors, students line up on both sides of the floor staff in teams. At an easy level, each student throws the bean bag and names the line/space number, then goes to the end of the line to work his/her way up for another turn. If a student throws over or under, turn is lost. Level II is to name the note names using a chart. Level III is no chart.
  For fun we usually double the point scores and do predictions, where a student will name the note where he hopes the bean bag will land.


Games That Pertain - Kristin Lukow
  This is the list of games that I keep on hand for those days when nothing else will do. I try to get to them at least once during the year! These are games I use for 3rd-6th.

Lines and Spaces Bingo
Musical Symbols Bingo
Rhythm Bingo
Instrument Bingo

"Pass This Shoe" (from Music K-8, Vol. 3, No. 3) - I love this!

Musical Pictionary/Musical Charades/Musical Picturades (A combination of the first two.) - I choose cards that I have made that pertain to whatever we have been studying.

The Cup Game - I use "Sugar, Sugar" from Laurie Zentz's Percussion Play-Alongs, the theme from Hawaii 5-0, AND any other new piece that we want to try!!

Who Wants To Be A Music Millionaire - I make up questions for this and we play as a class on the overhead.

Musical Go Fish - I made instrument cards and laminated them, enough for four decks. We play in groups of four.

Floor Staff Twister - I make a floor staff with electrical tape each year. We lay it just like you would regular twister, except on the staff. For example, right foot - G... left hand - F.
  I have a large floor staff and have two teams. Two people are on the staff at a time but the next person in line can help them. Because we play in teams, they get a point when the other person falls or gets the wrong line or space.

Musical Tic-Tac-Toe - I have a blank grid that I fill with current music vocabulary. We have two teams and they try to make a tic-tac-toe by defining the words correctly.

Tennis Ball Rhythm - Each child gets a tennis ball and we stand in four rows. We warm-up with one row each of whole notes, half, quarter, and eighths. We do this to "Stars and Stripes Forever," or any piece that has a very strong beat! After we get good at this, we do each pattern for eight counts and then move to the next pattern. I have this displayed on the (Laurie Zentz's) Heart Chart at the front of the room.

Extreme Bop-It - I have several, and we play in circles. (I have picked these up at my local Goodwill for a fraction of the cost of new! Keep your eyes open! It's garage sale time, you know!)

The Rhythm Name Game and The Rhythm Instrument Game - These two games are circle games. There is a 4 beat pattern: patch patch clap clap snap snap. Snaps are quarter notes. The leader starts by saying their name on the first snap and then someone else's name on the second snap. Then, that person says their name on the first snap and someone else's on the second snap. You keep doing this at random until someone messes up and then they stand on the outside of the circle continuing the body percussion. I usually have a practice run with younger classes and we just go around the circle in order the first time. The we do a random pattern.

  I usually sing game songs for my K-2nd graders. My standards are the "Penny Song," "The Button And The Key," "Punchinello and Bluebird." (I learned all of these from my study in ETM.) We will also sing game songs from the book 123, Echo Me by Loretta Mitchell, which is back in publication! Yeah! I also try to do the Hokey Pokey and Looby Loo a couple of times a year. We will do these the old-fashioned way AND with colored scarves and pipe cleaners made into notes and percussion instruments.

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