Like most teachers I am such a fan of dollar stores. I can shop there to organize my classroom, create new workstations and add a little flair to my bulletin boards. I'd like to share with you just a few of my favorite finds!
My kids are always a little in awe when they see my collection of flyswatters. (This pictures shows most of my collection.) I sometimes use them as pointers when projecting things on my white board, but most often these are used for Swat the Staff or Swat the Rhythm games. With Swat the Staff, I use masking tape to create a large staff on my board. Two students (from two different teams) stand at the board. I call a pitch name and the first person to correctly swat where that pitch should be gets a point for their team! Fun! You can check out some of my Swat the Rhythm games in my store.
Plastic Fruit, Veggies and Food
I try to do all of my singing assessments with my primary students in a game like setting. "Doggie, Doggie, Where's Your Bone" and other singing games help them relax and I can assess their ability to match pitch, sing in head voice or whatever we are assessing that day. The plastic fruits, veggies and food are great for this kind of thing.
The teacher sings "Who has the lemon?" (sol mi la sol mi)
The student with the lemon sings back "I have the lemon!" (sol mi la sol mi)
At one time I'm pretty sure I had a thousand of these little cars in every nook and cranny of my house! It wasn't quite that many, but it certainly seemed like they were constantly multiplying. Now, they are a music workstation! I added stickers to them and used the Music Town Parking Center file to create an interactive activity that my kiddos really enjoy. I've used this fabulously with 2nd and 3rd graders. At some dollar stores you can get 3 little cars for $1. Score!
I love using clothespins for assessment. Yep. Assessment. I painted some wooden clothespins, drew rhythms in various meters and had students pin them to a piece of paper that I had drawn a 2, 3 and 4 on. If the pattern had four beats, they pinned it to the side of the paper with the 4 and so on.
Another GREAT activity for assessment is Clip It. I have several of these sets that you might be interested in: Animals, Camping, Careers, Christmas, Presidents, Thanksgiving and Instruments.
Students match the syllables of each picture with one of the rhythms by clipping them.
I like to use balls to bounce to the beat and for workstations like Note Toss (click to learn more) and Snowball Scoop (click for more details).
These inexpensive alphabet puzzles are great manipulatives for Kindergarten and First Grade. We sing the alphabet song while touching each letter. Then I'll pick a letter and we will all remove that piece. Next we sing through the alphabet song again but when we get to the missing letter we say "shh". Later this knowledge translates to a quarter rest.
In first grade, the students can handle this activity on their own in small groups and I set it up as a workstation.
Craft sticks are handy for many reasons. Two of my favorite uses are creating groups and rhythmic dictation. To learn more about how to create classroom groups with craft sticks read THIS post.
For rhythmic dictation, I show students how to create quarter notes and barred eighth notes with the sticks. I clap patterns and the students "notate" them with the craft sticks. When they have mastered that we figure out how to create a quarter rest with the craft sticks. I've found that students are really creative with this!
My pal, Kristin Lukow, introduced me to this idea and I LOVE it! The kids do too! We listen to some soothing music while fashioning pipe cleaners into different notes. For some notes or symbols students really have to use their problem solving skills to create them with only a pipe cleaner. This activity gives students a chance to identify notes and symbols in a new way.
I have just started to experiment with using flashlights as manipulatives for listening activities and movement. I've used them in performance before (see THIS rendition of "Fireflies") and I've been in workshops with the aaahhhmaaazing Artie Almeida who used them during listening activities. Artie calls if flashlight painting and it is an amazing way to keep 100% of your students engaged. Here's a video that might explain a little more.
There is just something about play dough that makes me smile. The kids love to have the opportunity to use it in music class. I use THESE play dough mats as a workstation. The mats name each symbol or note and contain and brief definition.
Weird, right? These little coolers are PERFECT for creating the Snowball Scoop workstation I've described in a previous post.
They are also great for decorating a winter/snow themed concert. At a buck each you can by dozens and create a wide variety of "snow" structures.
Dip and Veggie Trays
Once I started creating workstations with these dip and veggie trays it was pretty hard to stop! Check out:Dip and Chip Workstations
Dip Tray Workstations: Instrument Families and Note Values (freebie here!)
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am a big fan of using pool noodles in creative ways. Noodle ponies, steady beat swords and unique bulletin board displays are just some of the ways that I have used them. You might like to check out these pool noodle posts for more information: