February 21, 2011

Music Notation Unit - Part I: Centers

I used this lesson last month as a 3-week unit to introduce my 2nd graders to notation in the treble clef.  They seemed to truly enjoy it and at the end of the unit, really knew their note names!  This could be used with grades 2-5 with great success!

Note: I have a PrometheanBoard in my classroom with a mounted projector.  This lesson is suited around using an activ or smartboard of some type; however, it can easily be adapted to using whatever visuals you have to teach notation.

  1. Introduce the notes in the treble clef staff according to the method you use.  I use "Every Good Boy Does Fine" and "FACE" and I actually use the BrainPOP Jr. video "Musical Alphabet" - if you or your school subscribes to BrainPOP, I highly recommend using this 6-minute video.  It's fun, entertaining, and even educational!!  
  2. Review with students by doing some online drill.  I like Ricci Adams' MusicTheory.net - see the exercises page to customize a drill for the note you are concentrating on.  
  3. Divide students into groups depending on the number of the following centers you will be using. 

Center choices...
  • Computers - spell words with note names using ClassicsForKids game "Note Names"
  • Flashcards - print, copy, and cut enough flashcards sets for the number of pairs of students you have in a group.  These flashcards are from MakingMusicFun.net (a great site!!!)
  • Worksheets - I used the Color That Note | Treble Clef | G Position worksheet from MakingMusicFun.net.  Make enough copies for all students so that they have one to take with them.  
  • Bingo Chip (or Candy) Staff - Print out and make enough copies for pairs in groups of the staff graphic.  Give each pair some round candies (Skittles, M&Ms, and Spree work great) or Bingo chips and have pairs quiz each other by placing the candy/chips on the staff for different notes. 
Rotate through each center for 8-12 minutes, depending on the amount of time you have.  This will more than likely take up more than 1 class period, if you have class times like I do.  

Here was my scenario:  3 groups of 9-10 kids each, 3 centers: computers, flashcards, worksheets, 5 computers with 2 kids at each computer, 10 minutes per center, spanned 2 50-minute class periods.  

Coming Soon: Culminating Activity for Notation to Follow Our Centers


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