I am always trying to incorporate movement and games into my classroom. It’s difficult for me to come up with games that fit our learning targets, so I reached out to a colleague for some help. Many of you may know Patty Fox, who is the Director of Vocal Music at Logan Fontenelle Middle School, in the Bellevue School District. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Patty on several occasions, and am always amazed at her ability to create fun games that students love, practically out of thin air. I asked Patty to share a few games that she uses in her own classroom.
King or Queen of the Choir: This is a 10-question review game that can be used at any time with little to no preparation. Patty uses a blank powerpoint with clipart and just enters her questions–this is not necessary, however. Patty suggests that you start with easier questions and progress to the more difficult ones at the end of the game. Materials needed are ten review questions covering whatever topic you need to review with students, and a giant crown drawn on a whiteboard, large poster paper, or something similar. This game takes between 5-10 minutes, depending on the speed of delivery. Patty says that students get really involved in the game, and it is a great way to keep older content at the surface of their learning.
Here are the steps for playing:
- Students have a paper numbered 1-10.
- Students write the answer to the 10 questions.
- After all 10 answers are written down, everyone stands.
- Read the answers out loud. Students with incorrect answers have to sit down and are ‘out’.
- The last person standing or any student with all 10 correct is the “king” or “queen” of the choir and they get to sign their name in the crown.
There are several variations that can be used for this game. Patty likes to keep track of who wins, accumulating their victories throughout the semester with an acknowledgement at the end of the term.You can make a different crown for each game, or leave up the original crown and add stars to names for additional wins.
Rhythm Groups Game: This is a game that helps reinforce beats per measure and time signature. Materials needed are cards with a one beat note or rest symbol on the front, such as two eighth notes, a quarter rest, etc. Each student gets a card. This is an easy and high-energy game.
Here are the steps for playing:
- Students walk around the room holding their ards.
- Teacher calls out a number of beats or a time signature.
- Students have 15 seconds to make a group with that many beats and sit down.
- Any group with too many or too few beats is out. Students who don’t find a group within 15 seconds are out.
Patty says that she usually plays this game for about 5 minutes, although it can be played for any length of time.
Variation: If you don’t want students to sit out, they can keep track of their score by writing on a whiteboard or piece of paper. Another variation of this game is to dictate specific rhythms to students and have them create that rhythm in their group.
I have used the Rhythm Group Game with my students, and it has really helped their rhythm reading and listening skills. If I have a specific set of rhythms in mind, I will assign certain notes/rests to students to make sure that each group can create the dictated rhythm.