“Children will be drawn to their recorder in a way that will give the word ‘practicing’ a new meaning.”
Fun Activities in Class: PM/PT
In previous posts I’ve offered a few JoyTunes’ activities in class (see “JoyTunes in the Classroom”). Introducing staff lines in class is also possible with JoyTunes – see my previous post. In this post I want to share some fun activities that can enrich the teaching process and make it more enjoyable and dynamic. I want to thank the teachers that have shared their ideas with me.
- Choose 5 volunteers and have them stand in front of the class, each representing a note (B, A, G, etc. They can hold the poster-board squares, if available).
- Each time a volunteer raises his/her hand, the chosen student (or the whole class) should play that note with their recorders. For example, when the ‘G’ kid raises his hand, the class plays the note ‘G’, and so forth.
- Practice a little with the class, randomly. The kids will figure out the game in no time.
- After several tries, ask the group of volunteers if they can play a song with their hands. It should be an easy song, such as “Jingle Bells”, “Mary had a little lamb” or any other song from the song book. “Playing with hands” means that the volunteers need to figure out when to raise their hands (timing) and for how long (rhythm). The class should ‘listen’ to their hand-music, and the teacher can comment and correct if necessary.
- The next step would be to have the player/s follow the hand movement of the volunteers and play with the recorders accordingly.
To finish this activity, you can ask the volunteers to improvise (depending on the skill-level of the class) and ask them to practice a specific song from the song book, or a specific world from the map of worlds. In some cases, it would be appropriate to ask the students to learn a song by heart by the next lesson or be ready to play from the sheet-music (available for free download at the teachers’ version).
This game is fun, fast and physical. Thus, it can cause commotion in class, but also release tension, serve as a great activity between serious projects, and also be very handy with tough classes. What’s nice about this activity is that the students get to practice their timing, rhythm, hearing, patience and their ability to follow instructions.
Enough said about PM. The next fun activity is all about ‘PT’ – Playing Together. The purpose of this activity is to improve the students’ ability to play as a group, listen to each other and work as a team. Of course they need also to improve their timing, rhythm, hearing etc.
The PT activity is very similar to activity no. 1. You will need a projector, screen and access to the JoyTunes game. You put the game on screen in front of the class, and then:
- Choose a song from the song book or a practice level of your choice.
- Divide the class into groups of 2-4 (depends on how many notes you want to practice).
- Each group is summoned to the ‘stage’ to play the game in front of the whole class. However, each player suppose to play only one note. For example, in a group of 3, there is one who plays only Bs, one only As and one only Gs.
- The group needs to perform the game (or practice level) together; each player needs to look and listen very carefully and play his/her note in the right sequence and timing.
- For example, to play ‘Mary had a little lamb’ you will need a group of 3 students, each plays one note from the song, and together they create the whole melody.
This activity is a great way to teach the basics of chamber music. The students must listen, pay attention to the visuals of the game (that later transform to visuals of sheet-music or visuals of their colleagues), cue their playing and be sensitive and tolerant of mistakes.
I’m very curious to hear about your experience with this activity – so please share your thoughts and feedback – thanks!
More activities? how about sending your ideas?!
A splendid idea I received from a colleague not long ago: making the game available on school computers and using it for fun during recess and on special occasions. Seeing kids play recorders during recess is exciting. If you want to divide the class in small groups and pay attention to one specific group, you can use the game as an activity for the other groups (the game is self explanatory and will get the attention of the kids for a whole lesson and more). Please – post your feedback, comments, ideas and experience either here or at the facebook page (so more teachers can read and learn).