#1: Ghost Melodiesthis blog post, I wrote about how to do ghost melody composition on dry erase boards. This is a great precursor to having students listen for and begin writing specific pitches, like sol and mi.
#2: Staff writing
In this blog post, I wrote about how to introduce the staff to first graders. You could use chips (math counting chips work well because they are see-through, and students can see the line running through the note) or you could use cute seasonal erasers like I did in the blog post.
#3: Whole group stick to staffOnce students can sing from stick notation patterns (with only rhythm and solfa written underneath the rhythm) and staff notation patterns, they can begin to see the connection between the two. Here is a freebie I posted for help with transferring stick to staff for sol-mi (just click the picture to be taken to the download!)
#4: Small group stick to staffPenguin Stick-to-Staff set for low sol; students had to work with the small group to match up the stick notation patterns with the corresonding staff notation patterns. It was so cool to hear their conversations about why cards matched or didn't match!
#5: Dulcimershere, and see my set below.
#6: Recorder tic-tac-toe
#7: Sight readingTo have students sight read a melody, you could just have them try singing through it...but unless they have lots of experience, it might fall apart! I often go through this process for sight reading, whether from stick notation or from the staff:
- Read the rhythm with syllables
- Speak the solfa (I have heard that some people think that solfa should never be spoken, but speaking from experience, this is a good way to get students to understand how the solfa fits with the rhythm!)
- Inner sing the melody: Give students a starting pitch and have them do the hand signs, singing inside their heads
- Sing the melody aloud
Going through this process really seems to help break down the sight-reading into manageable steps and helps them be successful!
#8: Solfa manipulativesthis blog post, I wrote about using solfa manipulatives with my students. I LOVE to use these as a precursor to writing or reading on the staff, and to really target their inner hearing. They also work really well as an assessment during whole group or centers!
#9: Hand staffHaving students use their hands as a staff is a very helpful way for them to kinesthetically understand lines and spaces on the staff. To use the hand staff, I have students look at the inside of their hands, and point to their pinkies for the first line, ring finger for the second line, etc. The first space can be between their pinky and ring finger. You could have them sing solfa while pointing to the correct spots on their hand staff. You could also do the hand staff incorrectly and see if they can figure out the mistakes!
Which strategies do you like for melodic reading and writing? Comment below, and happy teaching!