Solfa and Absolute Pitch Blocks

 Well, I "think" I have an original idea with this, but who knows.  Since school has started I feel stretched pretty thin between teaching, having a kindergartner (that attends my school), spending time with my two year old, planning a birthday party for my kindergartner and trying to get my extra-curricular choir, drum ensemble and two tone-chime choirs up and running, so it's been a little while since I last posted.  Well, without further adieu, here's my "original" idea:

Solfa & Absolute Pitch Blocks:  I bought wood math manipulative blocks from our local teacher store (Banks School Supply).  It was about $8 for a pack of 96 blocks.  I really like the wood blocks: they fit perfectly in the staves that you can pick up at your state music conferences and you can write on them easily with a Sharpie.  I decided to make do pentatonic blocks: there are two sides that have do, and one side of each of the following- re, mi, so & la.  I made enough for each student to have a set of 8 blocks.  From this, independently they can write a simple 4 beat dictation (if eighth notes are the most complex rhythmic element) or working in pairs or groups, they can do more complex patterns that contain more then 8 pitches).


After I bought the 98 wood blocks for $8 at the teacher store, I found foam blocks at the Dollar Tree.  I loaded up on these: there are four colors.  With the blue bocks, I made Absolute Pitch Blocks.  For these I used a do hexachord (that is do, re, mi, fa, so la), with G=do.  From this, the student can use them to write in both G-do and C-do and they can write the first 6 pitches that they learn to read on the recorder (I teach B-A-G first; then add high C & D and low E & D).  Here's what they look like compared to the Solfa blocks:


Now, I used a metallic Sharpie marker to write on the Absolute Pitch Blocks.  This was a PAIN! The blocks absorbed the ink and it took me more then 5 markers to complete all the blocks.  I also tried foam markers.  These were even worse.  I couldn't even finish 20 blocks with these (I did not try the Elmer's brand.  I can't remember the brand I used as I quickly returned them to the store.).  I did create some ta, ti-ti and ta rest blocks with the remaining blue blocks.  For these I used a black Sharpie.  This worked better, but the blocks still absorbed the ink.  Any hints for writing on foam are greatly appreciated!!! :)


4 comments:

  1. Did you try a Sharpie Paint Pen in silver? Those work great on everything! These blocks would also be great for duck and dive...

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    1. That's what I used, I tried both the silver sharpies and the metallic sharpies. And art teacher friend of mine said it's the foam, they suck the ink out of the pens. The black sharpies do show up, but I thought the silver showed up better and once I started I flet committed to finishing them in silver. And the foam pens I used were even worse, ahh!! :).

      I LOVE the idea of duck and dive with this!!! Thanks for the idea!!!

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  2. What size are these wooden blocks, Amy?

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    Replies
    1. I "think" that they're 3/4 of an inch. They fit perfectly in the staff, I found them at Banks school supply. Also, keep an eye out at the Dollar tree in August for the foam blocks, those are super cheap!

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