Snowball Fight in the Music Room!!!

New Year's Resolution: starting blogging more like I did last year. Um.. . . . that's not going so well for me!!!  I can give you excuses but I'm not going to.  But I will tell you one: I'm presenting at the Colorado State Music Educators conferences this week so if any of you Colorado friends are going I have two sessions: one on Thursday at 11:30 and one on Friday at 3:00.  I hope you can make it!!!

Around Christmas I purchased some plush snowballs from Oriental Trading.  Unfortunately, like a lot of Oriental Trading's products, it must have been seasonal as I can't find them on their site anymore.  

I've used them a lot in the music room with almost every grade.  With the younger grades and with choir we used them for vocal exploration and warming up our voices.  I toss the ball up and as the ball rises and falls they make their voices follow the snow ball.  I've also tossed it to students and they follow it with their voices.

Before winter break, with first grade, I used them as solo singing incentives.  Once they echoed me in an echo song they got a snowball out of the bin.  They hung onto it as they went back to their seats on the rises.  Then, we got out the rhythm blocks that I made for tika-tika, but I used only the rhythms they know: ta & ti-ti.  I wrote a mystery song from the fall ("Miss White") with the blocks.  They read it a few times from the blocks:

Then some individual students who were at the "top of the chart" (from my Behavior Charts File) got to throw snowballs at the blocks.  They students had to remember and perform the rhythm that was written on the blocks before another snowball could be thrown.

After a few repetitions, they all threw their snowballs that they had earned at the wall and said the who chant on rhythm from memory. They loved it!

I've been using the balls with 4th and 5th grade since Winter Vacation for melodic decoding.  Working in sets of 4, they receive a stack of 14 cards.  I sing a pattern (we started out with me singing the patterns on solfége, then we moved to me singing it on "loo" and finally, now I'm playing the patterns on the piano).  Every group must work cooperatively to find the card that matches the performed pattern.  I give each group ONE chance to answer and we go over that this is a group effort so please check with all your teammates before you raise a card because the first card I see counts as their answer.  If their group is correct, the earn a snowball.  

My fourth graders came up with the idea to put the snowballs on the cards that they have earned so they remember which patterns have been sung already:

Here's an example of a student showing me her group's card.  I do challenge them to have different students show me the answer each time.

I allot an amount of time for this activity: usually 6-7 minutes.  Once I see that every group has enough cards for everyone in their group to have at least one snow ball, or when there are no snowballs left, I collect all the teams' cards and they get 15 seconds to have a snowball fight.  Bonus points go to the team that helps clean up snowballs and are back in their seats first.  They really love it, even though, for me, there's nothing musical about throwing snowball!!! They do work really hard to earn those snowball!

I also use these cards for a relay race!  If you're interest in the cards, I sell them, along with flashcards and 6 other game directions for how the relay and flashcards can be used at my Teachers Pay Teachers store for the following melodic elements:

  1. so-mi
  2. la
  3. do
  4. re (mi-re-do patterns only)
  5. re (pentatonic)
  6. low la
  7. low so
  8. high do
  9. fa 
  10. ti 
  11. BUNDLE
Speaking of my TpT store, I'm currently running a give away!  If you follow me on Facebook you know that my team, the Broncos, are going to the Super Bowl!!!  So, for every $7 you spend in my store between now and tomorrow night, you're entered in the drawing for $24 of FREE product from my store!  All you have to do is email me, once you've made your purchase, with your TpT user name!

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  1. I absolutely love this idea! Where did you get your blocks?

    1. Oops! I found the original post with the info on how you made the boxes. Such a great idea! I sent out an email to the families at my school and the boxes are slowly trickling in. I have 10, at the moment. Hopefully more soon!



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