Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Melodic Stations

I tried out some more stations this morning and I think we're off to a pretty good start! I guess my 2nd graders are my guinea pigs this year for stations since they are (again) the grade level for this lesson.

Since we recently learned re and completed the pentatone of do-re-mi-so-la, I thought some melodic stations were in order. These were much more challenging to plan though, since melody is a lot more difficult to work on independently (if accuracy of pitch and contour is your goal!). I also wanted a variety of activities, of course, that highlighted reading, writing, listening and singing. Here's what I came up with:

Station #1: Step, Skip or Leap?
This was an interactive PowerPoint game that I made for the projector. The group had to work together to determine whether the notes were a step, skip or leap apart. The game told them whether their answers were correct or incorrect and they could try again if they were wrong. Edited to remove PPT....it had tons of mistakes that my 20th group found....hmmmm, makes me think the others weren't quite paying attention?!? Ugh. I will replace it soon once the mistakes are all found.

Station #2: What Does the Fox Box Say?

Okay, okay. Cheesy pun. (Hey, the kids loved it and my station sign!) This is my low-tech station. I recently ordered some Talk Blocks (or music boxes, as I call them) from School Specialty. I took a chance on them and while the sound quality is not great, they get the job done. My son helped me prep this station and we had fun doing it! What I really like about them is that you can insert directions or pictures into the top of them and then record 30 seconds of sound. (There are cheaper ones that have no picture inserts and about 10 seconds of recording time.) I have ten of them so I split them up into two different groups. Five of them were error detection. For example, one was a staff saying "m  r d" but I recorded me singing "d r m" and asked them to explain the difference. The other five were a mixed-up mystery song. I sang "Dinah" into the first one. The other four were me playing the four motives of "Dinah" separately on an instrument. The kids had to put them in order and sing along.

Station #3: Cookie Dough-Re-Mi
Since my new magnetic staves are actually cookie sheets, I came up with the idea of making some notes that look like cookies. I made mine out of little wooden craft circles and printed sticker paper, but you could easily do this by just printing on paper and cutting them out. I stuck magnet tape on the back, made some do clefs, made some solfa sentence strips and they were good to go. (This was something we had already been practicing in class, so writing on the staff was already familiar.)

Station #4: iCan Play Do-Re-Mi
This was the most coveted spot in the room! My coworker has a set of iPads for her classroom and was kind enough to let me borrow a few of them! We used the app Tap and Sing (Storybots) to play some do-re-mi melodies. I just printed out some melody cards and put them on the table, gave them a picture of which robots to tap, and let them practice. This was a bit more practical than using xylophones (which was my back-up plan if the iPads didn't work out) simply because we could plug in headphones and they wouldn't interrupt each other. Plus, the kids are quite motivated by using the technology!

Station #5: The Match Game
In this station, they simply got to work in teams or against each other. They had to turn over one card labeled stem and one labeled staff. If they had the same melody, they kept the match.

As you can tell, again, photography is not my strong suit. I will never understand how all these teacher blogs have such nice pictures! I look like a chicken with my head cut off trying to help kids, keep an eye on equipment (especially borrowed iPads!), making sure Talk Blocks aren't being recorded over, games are played correctly so learning is happening.....pictures obviously are the last thing to happen! :) But these stations went smoothly and we'll continue them for this week and into some of next week due to a (much-needed) holiday this Friday and a state-testing day next week.

What do you do for melodic centers? Leave me a note in the comments!


  1. Kelly, I love reading your blog!!! Great ideas which make me feel lazy! Have you made anything with the loot we bought at our last Dollar Tree excursion??? My sack is still in my car....


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  3. Most of it has been put to use or started on....I used the seed packets in a kinder lesson recently! I will have to blog about that one soon. I also started on the foam puzzles but got side-tracked. I found out that using black sharpie was the only way to cover the picture side! So I had to leave them to air out for quite a while!

  4. Kelly! I'm just looking at this and thinking that we must have been on the same wavelength this year. I made staff boards out of cookie sheets also! I put a single-line and a double-line staff on the back of the sheet and the five-line staff on the front so that I could use it when we first introduce so-mi! I call it "Level One", "Level Two", and "Level Three" with the kids so they know what part to use :)

  5. That is a great idea to have Level One, Two and Three for the magnetic staff! My next idea for stations (that I recently got from a preschool blog) is to pick a few more and make leave them blank for salt writing. They can write ta/ti-ti patterns in the salt. That'll have to wait until next year, of course!