We just finished some games to help reinforce note reading. This was a 50 minute class. The first activity was completed with the entire class together and lasted about 15-20 minutes. My student teacher and I divided the class into 2 groups. My student teacher was the leader of activity 2 and I was the leader of activity 3. They spent about 15 minutes at each activity.
Activity 1: Review the Musical AlphabetWe reviewed the musical alphabet by singing the alphabet song, but just repeating "ABCDEFG" over and over again. The students then got into 4 teams. One student in each row raced to arrange some alphabet cards in order starting on a given letter. Below is a picture from this activity. The student in the 2nd row finished first by putting the musical alphabet in order starting on D. The cards were nothing fancy; just some construction paper and magic markers! I would have printed some on the computer with cardstock, but these were already in my file cabinet created by a previous music teacher!
Activity 2: Staff RacesWe put gym tape on our floor to represent a staff. The students remained in four teams to perform relay type races. First, they took turns running to stand on a particular line or space number. After most students were successful with numbers, we reviewed the letter names of the lines and spaces. They were first given space letters by themselves and then line notes by themselves before mixing up the lines and spaces. Below is a short video of the races using line and space numbers:
For a few classes, we also challenged them to place each foot on a different space and line. Here is a short video showing the students using both feet on different notes.
The staff is going to stay on the floor throughout the year. It is very close to the door. I plan on using the last 5 minutes or so to review the letters of the lines and spaces as an exit activity to line up. They cannot line up in the hallway until they correctly race to the correct line or space.
Later in the year, we also plan on incorporating games from pianimation.com like Grand Staff Twister (but only treble clef) and Toss-a-Note (where student try to toss a beanbag and make it land on a particular line or space.
Activity 3: Alphabet TrailThis game is a free printable from pianimation.com. It uses flash cards to help students recognize short melodic patterns, both ascending and descending. They must identify a missing pitch in the sequence. There are cards with a two line staff, as shown below, and also cards showing a piano keyboard. I only used the staff cards for general music class.
I asked the students to get into 4 groups of 2 or 3 students (remember, I had half the class while my student teacher had the other half). I used bingo chips as the game pieces. I would show each team a flash card. I encouraged the students to talk about the answer as a team before giving me the answer. If a student yelled out an incorrect answer without consulting their teammates, that team lost their turn and I let the next team answer that card.
By allowing the students to be in small teams, the were actually learning from one another. For instance, one "star pupil" who caught on very quickly was answering immediately for their team. I was about to intervene and ask that they involve their teammates, but one of their teammates exclaimed, "How did you get the answer so fast?" While I continued to show flash cards to the other teams, that student was explaining the order of the musical alphabet to her teammates and they quickly caught on. I saw a similar peer teachings in other classes as well. It was very eye-opening.
I hope you enjoy these staff games. We used these games with students in grades 2-5. I hope your students enjoy them as well! Do you have an adaptation of any of these games? Share your ideas below!