Instrumental fish is a fun, handmade game! This idea came to me from an awesome music teacher in a neighboring district. The materials needed are: a poster board pond, laminated fish with instruments on one side and a magnet on the other, and fishing poles with magnets attached to the line.
Here is how we play the game:
1. Students are divided into two teams. One person from each team comes up and catches a fish. The fish are instrument side down and magnet side up. No one gets to see the fish but me.
2. I take Team #1′s instrumental fish and give them 3 clues about the instrument. They have one minute to discuss with their team. If they guess correctly, their team gets a point. If they guess incorrectly, Team #2 gets a chance to guess and steal the point. If neither team gets it correct, that instrument becomes a bonus point question at the end.
3. Then, Team #2 gets a chance to guess their fish.
4. After both Teams have gone, it’s time to send up another student from each team to catch another fish!
This game comes after an in-depth discussion on each family of instruments. My 4th grade students just love it! We go over instruments at the end of the year, usually in April, because they will have the opportunity to choose a band/orchestra instrument in 6th grade. I want them to have prior knowledge of the instruments!
January 2011 Posts: Previous posts about the FootNOTES rug I use to teach music literacy, how I use hula-hoops to conduct my students and using Froggy Gets Dressed with instruments for the winter!
Sing, Dance, Shake Your Tail Feathers: Decor outside the music room for the winter.
Squirm!: The musical I chose for the 1st grade performance in 2012 was a new one called Squirm! My students LOVED it! The songs, especially A Spider Song, are challenging yet so catchy that I want to listen to them over and over again!
Whether it’s squealing, growling, whistling or singing the human voice is capable of creating all kinds of sounds. Here are a few fun ways to practice pitch exploration (and practice that head voice that so many children have difficulties with!).
Pitch Exploration Pathways: “By John Feierabend. Eleven large cards, each 11″ x 17″, printed in vibrant colors on cardstock. Each has a fun illustration with a movement line – such as a roller coaster car that has gone up and down several times. These drawings provide inspiration for children to make sliding sounds that explore the vocal muscles used to sing in the upper register or “head voice.” The teacher or group leader is encouraged to begin with descending sliding sounds and add ascending sliding sounds after the correct muscles are engaged. Just as an athlete warms up certain muscle groups before exercising, singers should “warm up” the head voice muscles with activities such as these before singing. Just as aerobics improve physical conditioning, vocal ability will improve if these pathways are used frequently. A sheet of teaching techniques is included. Pictures included: deflating balloon, skier, falling leaf, inchworm, snail, kangaroo, roller coaster car, butterfly, dragonfly, hot air balloon, and paper airplane.” From Amazon.com.
Pitch Exploration Stories: “By John Feierabend. Eleven large cards, each 11″ wide x 17″ high, printed in vibrant colors on cardstock. Each card has an illustration on the front, with a corresponding story on the back; the back side also has directions for the response sounds. These amusing stories help inspire children to make sliding sounds that explore the vocal muscles used to sing in the upper register or “head voice.” Just as an athlete warms up certain muscle groups before exercising, singers should “warm up” the head voice muscles with activities such as these before singing. Just as aerobics improve physical conditioning, vocal ability will improve if these stories are used frequently. For early childhood. Story cards: An Old Woman, Andrew Got a Pogo Stick, The Blue Cockatoo, Cowboy Joe, On a Dark & Stormy Night, The Airplane Ride, The Ice Cream Sundae, Big Pig, Mr. Wiggle & Mr. Waggle, 2 Little Puppets, Whoops Pardon Me.” from Amazon.com.
Vocal Development Kit: This kit, by Feierabend, contains ”puppets, toys, and instruments designed to help with two types of vocal development activities. Pitch Exploration Activities invite children to create sliding sounds and encourage them to use their head voices. Echo Songs and Call-and-Response Songs allow children to use their newly found head voices to sing short melodic phrases. A wonderful variety of activity ideas are found in this manual.” I did not purchase this kit, but at a recent workshop, got to experience many examples from this kit. I am making my own kit with a slide whistle, pipe cleaners, whale puppets, yarn, and a variety of other things. Here is how I will use a couple:
1. Slide Whistle: Students echo what you do on the slide whistle. They can pretend they have a slide whistle of their own while they echo.
2. Pipe cleaners: Teacher can use the pipe cleaner as a pretend slide whistle and students echo. Also, the teacher can make different shapes (like the letter “M”… cross curriculum!) and students say that shape with their voices. Also, students can have their own pipe cleaner to pretend it’s a slide whistle and make shapes to follow the pathways with their voice.
3. Yarn: Students make their own squiggle on the ground and follow the pathway with their voice. Travel to other student’s pathways.
4. Whales: Students make whale noises. Two students can have a whale conversation with each other.
At a recently attended workshop, I purchased a great book called The Book of Movement Exploration by John M. Feierabend & Jane Kahan. Here is what Amazon says about this book: “This book is for ages 3 to 9 years. These activities bring out the strong movement impulses in children, who love to burn off energy by spontaneously dancing around the living room or running from place to place. Children will develop an awareness for their bodies, time, space, weight, locomotion, flow, and shape. Performed quickly or slowly, with music or without, solo or in a group, these activities make for fun, engaging educational experiences for children.”
I have been going through all the activities in the book and love them! Great way to incorporate movement into every music class. Or if you notice you’re losing your student’s attention… or if you’re needing to give your students a wiggle break? Perfect activities! I am very excited about incorporating these movement activities into my music classes!
There are many Toss ‘N Talk Balls for all different subjects. They a great for social skills, ice breakers, and a way for students to use their imagination and reading skills. Here are the two I have for my music class:
The Toss ‘N Talk Movement Ball is a great way to add movement to your music class! It is a blow-up beach ball, with tons of movements for students to perform. Students use their imagination and creativity to act out the movements. There are several ways to incorporate this ball into your class room. My favorite is passing the ball around the circle with music, and when the music stops, the action under the student’s left thumb is the action they should perform. Great for a brain break! Here is what Amazon says about the Toss ‘N Talk Movement Ball: Illustrated with over 80 imaginative range-of-motion, stretching and simple movement activities, such as “Sway like a tree in the wind,” “Dance hilariously” and “Reach up and pick 5 apples from a tree.” Players simply toss, catch, read and react! Includes activity idea sheet. 24″.
The Toss ‘N Talk About Music Ball is geared towards older students, and can be modified for younger ones. I will use this with my 4th graders with a couple modifications. It combines music and physical activity, along with reading. Here is what Amazon says about the Toss ‘N Talk About Music Ball: “Add some physical fitness and a whole lot of fun to your reminiscing sessions. When players catch the ball and their thumb is touching a red category, they must name a song title; if it’s touching a black category, they must sing or hum a verse. 24″ with game and activity ideas.”
I just love half.com! It is a great place to get cheap, used books, and the shipping prices drop if you purchase 2 or more books from the same seller. Here are some great deals on books I got yesterday! (All of these books are available at West Music as well, which is where I would’ve written a PO to get them from, if the deals weren’t so great on Half!)
There’s dreadful news from the symphony hall – the composer is dead! In this perplexing murder mystery, everyone seems to have a motive, everyone has an alibi and nearly everyone is a musical instrument. But the composer is still dead. Perhaps you can solve the crime yourself. Join the Inspector as he interrogates all the unusual suspects. Then listen to the accompanying audio recording featuring Lemony Snicket and the music of Nathaniel Stookey performed by the San Francisco Symphony. Hear for yourself exactly what took place on that fateful, well-orchestrated evening. Very Good Condition, $7.24 after shipping. $14.50 from Amazon. $17.99 BEFORE shipping on West Music.
In this book, students are introduced to great music through great works of art. From “The Flight of the Bumblee” to “The Four Seasons” to “Night on Bald Mountain,” music is illustrated by great works of art, and the text and accompanying CD urge students to listen for certain instruments. Can you hear the car horns honking, played by clarinets? Can you hear the horses’ hooves, played by castanets? When each CD track is played, students will stop, look, and listen as never before.
Classical music is filled with unforgettable images. In this book, great examples of pictorial music are matched to masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for an introduction to both music and art appreciation for young listeners. Included is a CD featuring 12 short works and an introduction to the orchestra and the instruments. Very Good Condition, $9.82 after shipping. $12.89 on Amazon. $18.95 from West Music BEFORE shipping.
This is a simple way to combine music and math, with instruments and counting. This book offers an introduction to beginning multiplication. Students learn to count by twos, threes, and fours as they follow a group of monkeys parading down the street. The monkeys are playing instruments! The rhythmic text adds to the parade theme, while the animals’ shenanigans make counting fun. A note to adults gives suggested activities to reinforce the ideas presented in the book. Good Condition, ex-library hardback book, $4.74 after shipping on Half. Paperback only available on Amazon.
Great for Kinders and young students at the beginning of the year. In this story, Howard gets into a lot of trouble for not listening. When he becomes a better listener, his life improves dramatically. Teacher and counselor endorsed. For more reviews, the Listen Up song and other free, fun resources that support the book, visit wedolisten.org.
A picture-book version of the nursery rhyme/song about a boy tending to all the animals that live on his farm. Color illustrations accompany the text., An old English rhyme names all the animals a farm boy feeds on his daily rounds.
Perfect for supplementing Lynn Kleiner’s “Bought Me a Cat” lesson from Farm Songs and the Sound of Moooosic!
Paperback only available on Amazon. Hardback from Half: Good condition, ex-library book, $3.24 after shipping.
Another great bargain I got my hands on from a teacher transferring to a higher grade, is a Pizza Fraction Fun Jr Game. When teaching rhythms and helping students understand the fractions behind the rhythms, I always refer to pizza. Not only is it delicious, but it’s something the kids can all relate to.
Now, for a buck, I have 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 and 1/8 pizza fraction pieces! No more drawing unrealistic pizzas on the board to explain fractions and rhythms! In order to use these to easily teach, I put magnets on the back of each piece, so they will stick to the whiteboard. The junior set unfortunately does not contain 1/16 pizza slices; however, the regular version does!
Interested in more food/fraction resources? Check out the book Eating Fractions by Bruce McMillan.
I am always looking for ways to incorporate the core curriculum into my classroom. One way is through literature. Here is my find of the day!
A third grade teacher at my school is having a “garage sale” in her classroom after school this week. Me, being a bargain shopper that loves to get first pick and good deals, went digging early today and immediately after school before the other teachers migrated down the hall. I purchased several things that I’m thrilled about, especially the two “guided reading beach balls”. One ball has six open-ended phrases, and one ball has six questions to reinforce comprehension skills. Using these beach balls will be helpful in reviewing the many stories read in my music room. Students can toss the colorful beach balls around the classroom for a fun, hands-on guided reading lesson!
These beach balls are available for purchase here for $6.95.