Monday, February 27, 2012

Lines and Spaces practice...on the cheap

Like my previous post, here are a few more ideas that are great practice activities but that can also be used by non-music substitute teachers.

Why pay $50 for a large floor staff out of a catalog? DON'T! Go to the dollar store and buy a white shower curtain and a roll of black electrical tape. Using a yard stick, mark off the lines for a 5 line music staff with a pencil on the shower curtain. I like to make the spaces between lines large enough for students to put their feet inside the lines. I have tiny adult feet (I wear a 5 and a half), so I always mark it larger than my own feet. I make multiples of this cheap-o floor staff because then I can do a whole class practice activity, or I can make multiple stations around the music room with these big staves.

Are you ready for it? The first of many practice activities you can do with this $2 floor staff is....bah-bah-bah-dah...THE TOSS ACROSS GAME!!!

Here are the directions:
•Review the names of the line and space notes on the board before playing this game. A good reminder is that the space notes spell the word, “FACE,” from the bottom to the top. To remember the line notes, a reminder is the sentence, “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge” (the first letter of each word is the order of the line note names). If you wrote this on the board before the game, erase it before playing the game so they have to use their own brains. (Also, see the Lines and Spaces Rap found in one of my previous blog posts)
•Divide the class into 2 teams.
•One student from  team stands at the base of the staff (but their feet can’t actually touch the white plastic). The teacher names a note (such as "space E" or "line B") and the students both toss a beanbag to try to land in that space or on that line. The student(s) that lands in the correct place earns a point for their team.
•How many points they earn is dependent on how far away/how hard to land on the note they tossed is (see staves below for note names and points). If they totally miss and don’t land on a line or a space, give them one more chance to toss, but if they miss again, they lose their turn.
•If a team member tries to give clues by pointing, talks, or exhibits bad sportsmanship, the other team gets a point automatically. 
•Play until each child gets at least 2 turns to be the tosser so if they miss their first answer they get a second chance. The winning team at the end has the most points.

Another way to play this same game is this: Both students toss the beanbag without the teacher calling a note first. Whichever line or space note it lands on, that child must say the correct name of the note. If they say the correct note name, they earn points for their team. 

 More cheap-o floor staff practice activities to come soon. Have a wonderful week!

Monday, February 20, 2012


First, I apologize profusely for my long absence in posting to this blog. I have been amazed that it continues to get views despite my long absence. Life has been a little crazy as life can sometimes be. Cross country move, finding an apartment, finding a new job, trying to help plan a national conference, and trying to finish a degree...all amongst enjoying playing tourist as well. We now live on Long Island and I teach in Manhattan. So far we've been to the Empire State Building, gone to the MET, seen a Broadway play, gone to FAO Schwartz, Times Square, Central Park...

Time to get blogging again, and substitute lesson plans have been on my mind. Probably because I have been sick often this year adjusting to the crazy schedule for my new job. So I think my next several posts will be games/activities a substitute, even a non music sub can do with classes (or can be used by you as review activities with students.

 Caught in a Spiderweb Board Game
Go to my website to download a PDF of the actual game board seen to the left, as well as all of the cards needed to play the game, a template for dice, and game pieces. If you print them all out on card stock and cut out the spiderweb cards and treble clef cards (copy 2 sided), dice (fold and tape to use), and cut out the game pieces, you can make multiple sets of this game and place each set in a large manilla envelope. I leave several sets so the sub can have small groups of students playing around the room at one time (5 or 6 kids per group max).

This is a simple game. All students roll the die to see who goes first. The first student then rolls and moves that many spaces. If he/she lands on a treble clef space, they must pick up a treble clef card and name the letter of the line or space note shown correctly. If he/she names the note correctly they get to stay on that space. If they get it incorrect, they must move back to their previous spot and the next student gets a turn. If this first student lands on a spiderweb space, then they must pick up a spiderweb card and do as the card says (which may be to move forward or back so many spaces, etc.). It is then the next student's turn. If the student lands on a blank square, they luck out because they just get to stay on that space and the next student gets a turn. The first student to make it to the finish wins the game.

More to come tomorrow...I'm on a one week mid-winter break. Yahoo! Have a great week. I know I will enjoy my time off.