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Reading on the staff

These worksheets are really nice. I feature one of them in the video objectives.

I've made four, basic rhythms conscious and used a variety of materials for practice from Denise Gagne's flash cards to Lamar Roberts's First Grade Book to my own homemade posters and worksheets, many of which I've already featured in posts.

We've added solfa to the stick notation (in Third Grade we've added note names for recorder) and practiced this a lot. (2 months or more) I didn't want to move too quickly to reading on the staff. After a couple tries with the recorder kids, there was a lot of resistance. Attendance at recorder club almost vanished. Kids were overwhelmed by the idea of reading notes on the staff. It wasn't a fun game. It was just scary.

I needed to dial it back. 

No matter what, I needed to keep my students' love of singing and playing alive. I spent the last couple months teaching improvisation. Students make up music on given rhythms. They still resist the idea of making up an original melody that they can replicate, but we'll get there eventually. The important thing is that they love to play and are using all their recorder and solfa notes to do so.

So I'm making another try this week. Wish me luck!

Here's the plan.


  1. Push a couple so-mi and do-re-mi songs with great games
    1. Hot crossed buns
      1. This Denise Gagne game is so cool. All chant, "I went down to the bakery and what did I see? I saw a hot crossed bun just a-lookin' at me." 
      2. By "me" you are face to face with a partner. You then play Hot Crossed Buns on your recorder before...
      3. Trotting off, saying the chant again, and facing a new partner. 
    2. No Robbers
      1. Another Denise Gagne game which has been a real hit with my Third Graders this week. I should feature it as a song of the month, it's so good. 
    3. Snail
      1. A classic sml game song with a strong so-mi at the beginning
    4. Lemonade
      1. From Sail Away, a wonderful, call and response, so-mi song
    5. Quaker Quaker
      1. From Sail Away too. A progressive, double circle game. Loads of fun with antiquated language that children enjoy singing. 
  2. Translate that class's favorite song from stick to staff
  3. Stick to staff writing activity with lots of help from the teacher. How much can they do themselves? Do I have to do the whole thing with them? 
  4. Follow this up with a more complex improvisation game as a reward. My students are really enjoying playing nursery rhymes. 



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