Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lines and Spaces Rap and Game

In my own classroom, my students begin learning to read and use rhythmic solfege and simple melodic solfege in first grade. They aren't introduced to absolute note names (letter names) until about 3rd grade, when they have mastered at least do pentatonic (d r m  sl), and from then on they learn to read notation flipping back and forth between solfa and letter names.

Here's an idea for helping your older students review the letter names of the notes on the staff. First, teach them the chant below with a pat-clap-pat-clap beat throughout (except the first line in which you clap only on the Xs shown). Of course, show the lines and spaces on the staff to the students. This chant is attributed to Tara Kissane, my wonderful Fine Arts Coordinator, who gave me permission to make use of her chant.

Can Do X X, Can Do X X,
FACE in a space, FACE in a space,
Every Good Boy Does Fine on a line,
Start at the bottom and now you've got 'em.

Once the students can say it independently to the beat, play this simple passing game for repetition and memory of the chant. Have the class sit in a circle on the floor with each student pretending to glue his/her left hand palm up to his/her own left knee. Practice saying, "grab, pass, grab, pass," while making a passing motion (grab out of your own upturned left hand and pass into the upturned left hand of your neighbor to the right). Continue this motion as all say the chant (I usually remove the first phrase while learning the beat passing). Try the motions with one actual beanbag moving around the circle. I often begin every repetition of the chant with saying and doing, "grab, pass, grab, pass, grab, pass, grab pass." All students do the grab pass motions throughout.

Once this is solid and students are successfully staying on the beat, begin the game in which the last child holding the beanbag is out and must sit to the side. For a challenge, if students are able to stay on the beat, I begin to add multiple beanbags into the circle so more students are eliminated each time. Once the number of students is large enough, we also begin playing the game in the 2nd circle, and sometimes even make it to a 3rd circle playing simultaneously. Once the students are able, I add back in the first phrase, which is more difficult because it requires students to do the claps and then immediately glue their left hand back down to begin passing.

If you want to print out visuals for this activity, the chant, the lines and spaces on the staff, and note name flashcards, go to the meyersmusic website in the links at the right hand side of this page.

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