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!!! :)