Musical Road Trip: Games

You've almost made it to the end of the "Musical Road Trip" blog hop across the United States!

Today you are reading a blog post written in IDAHO, and I will be writing about games in the elementary music classroom.

When I was a first year teacher, my well-intentioned but misguided self thought a game could only go at the end of a lesson or only done if we had extra time at the end. I wanted to take advantage of every moment in the music classroom for instruction and not "waste time" with games. As I taught a little longer, I realized what a valuable tool well thought out and strategically placed games can be in any lesson in the music classroom.

I think the use of games is a HUGE topic as there are a ton of different ways and reasons one could include play in the music classroom. As I've been thinking about this topic and trying to make it manageable for a single blog post, I decided I'd like to focus on three different reasons (of the many!) to include games in your classroom:

1. Get Kids Singing

Playing games while singing a song is a great way for students to practice a song without the potential boredom of sitting in a chair and just singing it over and over. It can also be a sneaky way of getting some of your reluctant singers singing as they begin to concentrate more on the game than what everyone around them might think. Some songs have traditional games that go with them. Others can be practiced through dramatic play. Whichever way you choose to use the game or activity, it is not only great for children to move and have fun in the classroom, but a wonderful way for them to practice and really internalize a song for later instruction.

One of my students' favorites is "The Closet Key".

We start out by learning the song and delving right into the game. I use a metal key that looks like it's been around. I found one in the dollar bins at Michael's (a craft store).

We play a passing game with a student in the middle who must guess who has the key at the end of the song. The students get so wrapped up in passing the key and who has the key even my reluctant singers and those "too cool" to sing have a great time!

This song and game set up students to ready themselves in the presentation of "re", but sometimes we just sing and play to practice "re" or just for fun!

Some more of my favorite songs with games:
Amy Abbott's "Chicken on a Fencepost"

2. Assess Student Understanding

Games are great way to assess student understanding. While there are times where formal testing with paper and pencil is necessary for School/District requirements or required teacher data, much testing can happen without paper/pencil and in the form of a game. My students LOVE getting competitive. Many games can be wonderful tools for students who need just a bit more practice to solidify a concept in their understanding. There are even times where I take a game that is usually played by the whole class and partner up students to help each other out. 

One of my students' favorites is a rhythm game I have called "Annoying Aliens".

Students are reading and assessing each other's accuracy in reading rhythms. There is also a writing element.

Some other great games to assess understanding include:
Aileen Miracle's "Poison Patterns"
C Major Learning's "I Have/Who Hasor
Jena Hudson's "Trebling Races"

3. Time to Just Have FUN

Sometimes it is just time to have fun in the music classroom. Especially toward the end of the year or during times where there is testing, games can be a way to bond inside the music classroom and blow off the cares and stresses of being a student. I find the games I choose during these times can easily be done in the regular classroom or even on the playground. These kind of games oftentimes require very little to no set up. Here's a couple videos of some of my and my students' favorites. This entire YouTube channel has some great games to use in various settings!

First, "Giants, Wizards, Elves". I think I've seen this game in the GamePlan books that are so popular with the exception of it being called "Giants, Wizards, Leprechauns". Some of the actions may have been slightly different as well.

This next one I call "Mo the Monkey" since I have a monkey beanie that is so darn cute. I'm sure you can adapt it to whatever you have on hand. ;-)

Hope you have found some ideas and things to make your music room even more delightful with the use of games in your classroom!

While I am just about the last stop on your musical journey (before the big surprise coming soon), don't forget to check out the other blog posts on our journey:

Mrs. Miracle's Music Room
C Major Learning
Sew Music Music and
Music A La Abbott

Oh, and don't forget to link up below!

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Malinda! Lots of great suggestions for games. :) Thanks!