Friday, April 26, 2013

In The Doghouse!

Going along with the Doggie songs from my last post, I created a matching game called, "In the Doghouse!"  I like to use matching games as short (about 15-20 minute) assessment and review activities for the students after they've already learned a new concept and have had multiple chances to use that knowledge.

I've played similar matching games (there are lots at my TPT store) with all grade levels.  They have been very successful and fun, and great for me when I'm assessing progress.  Solfa or rhythm matching games are really fun because we get to explore the listening and performing elements that go with them (not just simply matching).

These activities are also easy to use with a sub, even if they have no music experience.  You can also get many activities out of one set of cards: listening, singing, reading, composing.  If you're looking to get the most bang for your buck our of you matching games, this post is worth the read.

  I follow these steps when playing games such as this one:

1. Sit in a circle of pairs.  Each pair of students gets once complete set of game cards in a ziplock bag.  Pairs are instructed to share with each other and work quietly to arrive at the answer.  3/4 of my classes can do this well, with little reminders from me, but for the other 1/4 that don't get along so well, I take extra time to model working with a partner, discuss situations that might arise and how to handle them successfully, and set more clear expectations and consequences if their sharing doesn't go the way I'm asking for.  I also insist on correct posture (criss cross applesauce) and quiet game play (during the listening examples) so that everyone can focus and be successful.

2.  I usually assign one of the students in the pair to be in charge of the materials (cleaning up the cards, turning in the materials, putting the plastic bag in their lap so it doesn't get mixed up during game play).  I ask that student to find all the dog houses (12) and then I have both of them put the houses into two rows of six.

3. Then, I play a singing listening game.  I sing an example and the students echo.  I repeat this two more times while they find the correct dog house.  Then, I reveal the answer.  They get really excited, so I allow them to do a "silent cheer" if the answer is correct.  We continue until all patterns have been sung.  I even select some students to perform the patterns alone.  For many students, they can recognize a solfa pattern on the staff and label it correctly, but they may lack the confidence to correctly sing it.  This gives students more opportunities to hear the pitches sung correctly (by either you or successful classmates) and truly develop the aural recognition of the relationships between the pitches that they need to sight sing - not just sight read. 

4.  I extend the listening game to include an instrument (or you could sing on a neutral syllable).  Students will have to listen to level of the pitches carefully to find each answer.  They are even MORE excited when they get these right.  If you have a sub, they often won't feel confident enough to do step 3, but they can easily do step four if you equip them with an instrument (I use a metallophone with only the bars F#, A, and B on it) and this print out:
 5. Next, I let the students match the dogs to the correct dog house.  With older students, I let them do this totally on their own time.  If they finish early, I instruct them to sing each example and evaluate their partner's voice and use of hand signs (they really don't mind doing this because everyone else in the class is talking and singing too).  With the little ones (kinder and first), however, we match them one by one.  I'll say, "Find the dog that matches the Mi So La So doghouse" - then I walk around and check that everyone has the correct answer before we move on.  The advantage to doing it this way is, well, go on to step six ;)

6. After all patterns have been matched, I ask the students to put away the doghouses and leave the dogs out.  Then, I repeat steps 3 and 4 (only about 4 patterns for each step this time) so the students get more listening and singing practice.

7. Students can also create compositions by stringing two or more dogs together.  Students can sing their composition for the class and have the class create that composition with their cards.   Some students can sing one composition while another.  They can even play their compositions on an instrument.

If time allows, the students can play this as a matching memory game (turn cards over - pick up two cards - if they match keep and go again, if not, other player's turn).

You can download In The Doghouse from my TPT store by downloading the preview for Doggie Doggie and Red Rover lessons.  If you've already purchased my updated Mi So La lesson bundle you'll find it there also (in the D Major folder).

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