Thursday, 28 February 2013

Games on the Floor Staff

Before I was willing to start recorders with my 5s and 6s I desperately wanted to make sure that they had a solid understanding of how to read notes on the staff. I keep telling them that I'm training them for Grade 7 Band...and I am!

The Grade 4 Music Play resource has a number of fun activities using the floor staff. I set up four of them in my room using painter's tape. I followed the tiles on the floor to make each staff super straight and dug up some foam circles I had bought from Michael's years ago. I used a permanent marker to write the line and space numbers on one side of each circle and the corresponding letter name on the back. 
Looking back on it now I probably shouldn't have matched up the lines and spaces with the letter name. Some students clued in right away and flipped the circle over to look at the line numbers and then placed their circle on the correct line. Oh well! 

The two games that the students really enjoyed were "Staff Jump" and "Staff Relay". We played these games using line and staff numbers for the first few days and then played the same games but used note names instead. 

Staff Jump - I had two of the four teams face each other at one time. Half of each team were lines and the other half were spaces (that way students wouldn't be too crowded on the staff) I would call out a line or space number and the students would jump to that line or space. The last person to make it was eliminated. (I know, I know everyone should be involved and I try to do that as much as possible but the kids wanted to play elimination and I can be competitive myself - but not with sports...only things I might actually be able to win at!) The other two teams would face off once everyone was eliminated. 

Staff Relay - For this game we used the foam circles. The students stood in line behind the staff and when I said, "Go!" each person had a turn to put the circle on the corresponding line or space. I made each student high-five the next one in line and only allowed them to put one circle on the staff at a time.

I found that playing games on the floor staff were a great alternative to the traditional pencil and paper technique of teaching note names. Maybe instead of "alternative" I should say "addition" as we did do a note naming worksheet later on along with some Mad Minutes (more info to come!).


  1. Ooo, I really like the relay idea!

    Since I'm stealing an idea, here is one right back. One activity the kids BEG me for in my school is note-name twister. As in, 'Right hand B!' "Left foot Space E!' If they touch the floor or go to the wrong position they are out. The kids get VERY competitive, but are very encouraging of each other!

  2. Thanks Siobhan! Not-name twister is a great idea. It's a good way to burn off some energy and make learning a whole-body experience.