Looking for an interactive, kinesthetic and creative way to teach the names of the notes on the music staff? Well look no further for I have discovered the footNOTES music rug by Wenger. My 3rd and 4th grade students use it to help with naming the notes on the music staff.
Here are a couple fun rug activities: Note Race & Bean Bag Toss. Note Race is one that the students ask for over and over again! The class is split into two equal teams. One student from each team races against the other to be the first one to stand on the note I say. For example, when learning the space notes, I may say “Find me an A, ready, go!”. When I say “go”, the students run forward and put two feet in the A space. If a student is incorrect, I work with them to find the correct answer. This educational game – perfect for individually assessing student’s knowledge in a fun way - can be played for points or just for fun.
Another rug game, less educational, is called Bean Bag Toss. Same concept - two teams, two students against each other, and I say the same thing: “note name, ready, go!”. This time, each student has a bean bag and on “go”, they toss the bean bag as close as they can to the note I named. This game is less educational because as a teacher, you don’t really know what they are aiming for… and you hope it is the correct note!
Here is what www.wengercorp.com has to say about the rug: “Kids love learning notation when it’s this much fun. Walk, jump or dance. Your kids will have a blast jumping and dancing on the colorful footNOTES® staff rug.”
The staff rug is 6′ x 8′ and the clefs are 2′ x 6′. This rug is easy to move by yourself! The rug itself is $399.oo and after tax and shipping, the total ended up around $450.00.
This activity (can be called numerous things – hula hoop conductor, guest conductor, let’s play conductor) involves hula hoops, instruments and a lot of laughs! Also, it gives students a chance to be the conductor and lead the class… and a chance for students to explore an instrument, or two, or three!
Step One: Introduce/reinforce the musical term composer. Instead of a baton to tell musicians when to play, the hula hoop will tell your students when to play! Practice with students clapping or singing.
Step Two: Introduce an instrument, pass them out…
Step Three: Hula hoop away!
The general idea is that when the teacher or a student is inside the hula hoop (laying on the floor), students are allowed to improvise and play on their instrument. If the conductor steps out of the hula hoop, all music stops. To increase the difficulty of the activity, multiple hula hoops can be used and each represents a different category, for example: one hoop represents wood instruments and one is metal. Students playing wood instruments can only play when a foot or two… or another body part… is in that hula hoop! This activity allows students to have some free play on the instruments to explore the sounds and requires them to watch and pay close attention to the conductor to determine when to play.
You also increase the difficulty by varying the energy level of the movements in and out of the hula hoop. The conductor can suggest how the sound should be created. For example: a big jump into the hula hoop would produce a loud, heavy sound and a light toe tap in the hoop would produce a soft, quiet sound. When the conductor jumps out of the hoop, the class is silent.
Froggy Gets Dressed is the perfect winter story. Forgetful Froggy is so excited to get out in the snow, he keeps forgetting to put on articles of winter clothing! By the time he finally gets it right, Froggy is too tired to go outside and play. Silly Froggy!
These books are cheap and many of the books in the Froggy series are perfect for sound stories. Instead of saying the numerous sound effect words with our teacher voices… it is more fun for our students to play instruments instead!
You can find my plan in the drop-down menu under lesson plans in the top right – in the kindergarten, 1st grade & 2nd grade links.