Have you tried using STATIONS in your music classroom? I’ve been playing around with them for a couple of years. November music class stations are becoming more popular with music teachers as a way to keep students engaged. I’ve found that the activities need to be simple and something students have already done in class. I like to use them during the months with big holidays because music class stations offer diverse opportunities to learn a musical concept. They also provide social interaction and are a way for teachers to assess smaller groups of students.
How do they work?
Today I’m exploring some ideas on how to make Thanksgiving Stations an effective teaching tool in the music classroom. Let’s face it—students today need hands-on activities that they can do in a shorter amount of time using multiple skills. I like to use them once we are in the second quarter and have established our classroom community and music skills. I use one or two songs that we are working on while students experience a station as a whole group. Later, students can sing the song and do the activity alone. The idea is to teach everyone how to do the activity first before dividing the class into groups and having them rotate through the stations. I like to start small and slow—let’s see how it goes!
Here are some ideas that I’m using in November Music Class.
After teaching each music skill as a whole class activity, I then organize each part of the lesson into different learning activities. This way I’m reaching all learners in one class time. I have used this easy to learn song with my first and second graders called “Five Fat Turkeys.” Check out the Five Fat Turkeys Music Lesson on my YouTube Channel.
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I place all of the station cards and materials where I want the students to go. I either project or write the different stations on the board.
MUSIC CLASS STATION #1: STEADY BEAT
This is a favorite of Kindergartners. After they learn to sing a song, it is the perfect way to assess their ability to stay on the beat. Sometimes I will sit and sing with them and guide them. Later in the year, they can do this station without me.
This card is for me:
This card is for the students:
I made some thematic beat charts that my kindergartners absolutely love to use to tap the beat as they sing turkey songs, like “Five Fat Turkeys.” I like using these cards with my kindergartners to give them visual practice for playing the beat. Sometimes I let them use mallets to tap the turkeys, which makes it more fun and prepares them for xylophones.
If you like these kinds of rhythm printables, you’ll want to subscribe to the FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY because this month’s freebie includes some of these activities and more ideas on games to play to practice rhythms. Just sign up or subscribe and you’ll gain access to all of the free resources I’ve uploaded so far this year.
MUSIC CLASS STATION #2: CREATE AND WRITE
At this station, I’ll have clipboards or a table with pencils and crayons ready for students to write rhythms or melodies.
I use my own music class Thanksgiving worksheets for this activity. You can use any type of writing activities that your students know how to do.
I like to use stations throughout the year, so I have several different types of worksheets for my students to use.
This is an easily adaptable beat chart that I can pull out and use with any grade for a center activity:
MUSIC CLASS STATION #4: CREATE AND PLAY
At this station, I’ll put some instruments and flash cards out for students to use to create and to play rhythms. This tends to be the favorite station as students really want to play instruments. I wait to use this station until after we’ve learned how to play and take care of the instruments.
Here are some sample cards I’m using. They all fit on one page so that students can put them on a template. There is also a free printout of another template just like this one in the resource library!
Whenever I give my primary students a card or manipulative, they get sooooo excited! My students really like these little cards. They are easy to use and give each student an opportunity to say and play rhythms. Using manipulatives and activities where students are saying and playing notes and rhythms is a great way to help them make literacy connections too.
It’s easy! Grab a card and combine it to make 4 beats. Say and play your rhythm pattern. Share with your group.
You can pair these ideas with this blog post: “How to Get Students to Gobble Up the Beat”
MUSIC CLASS STATION #5: CLAP-PAT-SNAP IT!
At this station, I’ll use body percussion pictures to help students to choose an action. I may or may not have them write it down.
Here students will create a pattern using body percussion cards.
These are for sale in the Sing Play Create Shop.
November music class is the perfect time to reinforce skills by having students practice and experience their skills as much as possible. Find more lesson ideas and a FREE PLANNER in “November Music Lessons: It’s Not Just About Turkeys”.
The video below is an earlier version of the “Five Fat Turkeys” lesson.
What are your favorite ways to use stations? Do you have some tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them.
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