Saturday, October 18, 2014

Music Centers Assessing the Treble Clef Staff

I have previous posts on how I use centers in my music room. You may click this link to read those posts.  
I recently planned a lesson for 4th and 5th grade classes to review the pitches of the treble clef staff using centers. My class periods are 50 minutes. So, we planned for 10 minutes or so to explain the centers and then each group would have about 10 minutes to rotate at each of the four centers.

Giant Staff Twister

 In one center, students played Twister using the giant floor staff. I used gym tape to create the staff lines on my floor and used the existing 12 inch tiles to keep my lines perfectly parallel. I have one spinner with the letters of the lines of spaces and one spinner to determine which body part should touch the correct line or space. The spinners are available on my teacher pay teacher store. I introduced Giant Staff Twister last year and it has become a favorite for the students.

Treble Toss

Many people who have blogged about the giant floor staff have had students try to toss bean bags on a specific line or space. Here in Kentucky, cornhole has become a very popular backyard game and I knew my students would love the challenge of tossing a bean bag through a hole. So, I used 2 trifold display boards (like you would use to display science fair projects) and created a staff with holes on the lines and spaces. Students would draw a popsicle stick to randomly select a pitch letter. Then, they had 3 chances to toss their beanbag into the correct hole. After their turn tossing beanbags at the spaces board, they would get in the back of the line for the lines board.
This game was a hit! To set up the boards, I borrowed a couple spare student desks from our furniture storage room. One flap rested on the top of the desk and I set a heavy object (a chromatic glockenspiel) on top of the cardboard. You could use a few heavy books or whatever items you want. The bottom flap would rest against the legs of the desk and caused the board to be slightly tilted which helped stabilize the board when the beanbags were tossed. The boards fold flat and lay horizontal in my cabinets, so it will be easy to pull these out and use them again in the future.

Staff Wars

The third center involved the Activboard. I downloaded Staff Wars from The Music Interactive. This is a free download for your pc. They have a new app version which is only 99 cents. The object of the game is to click the correct letter name of each note as it scrolls across the staff. The game gradually gets faster and more difficult. You can select the clef of your choice and also adjust the range of the  notes it will give the students. The students LOVED this game! There are also several other free music games available on I look forward to downloading some more and trying them out.

Exit Slip and Flashcards

The fourth center involved an exit slip assessment which would be graded. The exit slip had students identifying letter names of some notes on the staff. The students were also asked to practice drawing a treble clef. The exit slips can be downloaded on my teachers-pay-teachers store

As the students finished, they got to quiz each other with flash cards until it was time for the next rotation. The flash cards were a free download from Making Music Fun! The cards are one sided, so I added the letter names on the back so the kids could quiz each other. I printed these on cardstock so they would be more durable.

 I know your students will enjoy these games as much as mine did! Enjoy!


  1. I'm finally making my Treble Toss and Staff Twister games today during my work day! So excited to use them tomorrow- thanks for the ideas!! :)

  2. I know this post was from awhile ago, but how did you cut the circles in Treble Toss? Thinking of using this with my students this summer.

  3. Mrs. Dennis you are awesome! I want to be in your class :)
    Can't wait to try some of these ideas with my elementary music AND band students (middle and high schoolers like having fun too!).

    Thanks for sharing ideas! I've been teaching 11 years and it's always fun finding new things to do. I always say we music teachers have the most fun job in the school, and if we have a boring day it's no one's fault but our own.