Name Games to Start Your Year In Music Class

On this page…

  • Name, Name! What’s the Name?
  • The Never-Ending Name Game
  • Four Corners
  • Blast Off Challenge

Name, Name! What’s the Name?

The Never-Ending Name Game

This lesson plan is best spread out over multiple days.

  • Sitting in a circle works best
  • K-2
    1. T speaks every student’s first name and students echo
    2. T speaks and claps student’s first name and students echo
    3. Ss clap and speak their own name and class echoes
    4. Ss clap and speak their own name and NO echoes, just right around the circle.
  • 3-5
    1. Same as K-2 above.
    2. Go around circle and Ss only clap their name, no speaking.
    3. Go around circle and class claps and speaks every student’s name.
    4. Go around circle and class claps, no speaking, everyone’s name.
    5. The class claps each student’s name going right around the circle (this is a fun challenge)

Rhythm & Accent

With 3-5, this is a great activity (if you choose) to talk about natural ways of speaking and rhythm. The name “Ellen.” Is it El-len with 2 quarter notes or with an eighth-dotted quarter pattern?
You can also talk about anacrusis. The name “Latasha.” Is it a two eighths/quarter pattern with the accent on “La” or two eighths/dotted quarter, with the accent on “ta?”

Transfer to Instruments

  • K-5 (Pick and choose from these ideas, although I tried to sequence them from easy to advanced)
    • Take any part of the above activities and transfer to UPP. Drums are wonderful but you could also use rhythm sticks.
    • Add a simple refrain to play after every 4 names. “Name game, name game. Let’s play a name game.”
    • Create a class ostinato using 4 student names. Discuss which order sounds best. See if the class can play it over and over without rushing. Did you use just bass or tone sounds? Maybe add taps to side of drum or other ideas to create some diversity to the tone color if the students are able to remember the patterns.

Group Work

  • Now…put students in groups of 4 and have them do the SAME activity and have them create a name ostinato. (It helps if you have the whole room practice several times with you keeping a stick or clave beat. I’d say, “Ok this may sound messy with all of us practicing at once, but concentrate on your group’s ostinato. 1-2-Ready-Go) You are walking around coaching and helping where needed.
    • Have them play AND speak the names the first time. Each group SHARES their ostinato with the class.
    • Tell them they can keep their previous ostinato or change it but this time just playing it and NO speaking.
    • Try layering in (and out) the group ostinati. FUN!!!

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4 Corners

Preparation

Sitting in a circle works the best.

  • Teacher claps and speaks each student’s first name and the class echoes
  • Students clap and speak their own name and the class echoes
  • Have a discussion about syllables and then ask who has a name with 1 syllable, 2, 3, etc.
  • As a class, go around the circle clapping and speaking each student’s name. (This is a fun challenge to keep it going with no stops)
  • As a class, go around the circle clapping (no speaking) each student’s name. (An even bigger challenge!)

The Game

  • The four corners are names with ONE syllable, TWO syllables, THREE syllables, and FOUR or more syllables.
  • Students choose a corner and T draws a name out of a bowl. (or any method of randomly choosing from the class list)
  • The number of syllables of that person’s name determines which corner is OUT.
  • So if the name is Marcus, everyone standing at the 2-syllable corner is out.
  • Play until there is one winner or you are out of names!

Blast Off Challenge

Sitting in a circle is best. The teacher can stand behind each student to facilitate the flow of the game/rhythms.

  • Pick a starting point in the circle and then students clap and speak each student’s name FOUR times. Try to get the kids to feel the beats in 4 and move seamlessly from one student to the next.
  • If they are successful, clap and speak each name THREE times. Their tendency is to pause after the third repeat to make it feel like 4 so that is a great time to talk about 3 vs. 4.
  • If they are successful, clap and speak each name TWO times.
  • Then, of course, ONE time and if successful, they earn a BLASTOFF! (see video below)

Variations

  • Don’t pause between rotations but go directly from 4X to 3X, 2X, 1X, and Blastoff!
  • If the class is quite proficient, try the entire process with clapping and only THINKING the names. Audiation!
  • Kindergarten and first-grade students usually don’t know everyone’s name or know them well enough to keep within a beat scheme. Put them in groups of four and have them try saying and clapping everyone’s name in their group 4x, then on different days, 3X, 2X, and 1x. Each group can take a turn and share to the class. Check out my Columns and Rows system for quickly making groups of 4!

A My Name is Alice – Popular Books, Activities, and Music

Blank Booklets to Create Your Own Verses

This TpT resource includes

  • a presentation with mp3s to learn the song
  • a simple Orff arrangement for xylophone, glockenspiel, and guiro
  • a booklet template for students to create their own verses
Lyric Writing Booklet for A My Name Is Alice Jump Rope Chant and Song

A My Name is ALICE

A, My Name is Alice by Jane E. Bayer, illustrated by Steven Kellogg. Kellogg is one of my favorite illustrators with his content-rich drawings and humor.

First verse: A, my name is Alice, and my husband’s name is Alex…

A My Name Is …

A My Name Is … by Alice Lyne, illustrated by Lynne Cravath. This version doesn’t always begin each verse with a girl’s name and replaces “husband” with “best friend.”

First verse: A my name is Alex, my best friend’s name is Angie…
Second verse: B my name is Becca, my best friend’s name is Billy…

Valentine Themed Music Resources

The BEST Valentine Game for K-2

To the tune of This Old Man
Valentine, valentine.
Won’t you be my valentine?
Number 1, number 2, number 3 it must be you.
Take my heart along with you.

Sitting in a scattered formation or columns and rows is the most fun, although a circle will work, too. The first child is the leader and has a valentine in their hand and walks around the room as the song is sung. On each of the three numbers, the leader taps the head (or back) of the nearest 3 children. The third child is given the heart, stands up, and holds hands with the leader. The leader continues to slowly walk around the room, meandering in any direction, and when the song gets to the numbers, the child on the end who has the valentine taps 3 heads and gives the valentine to the third child. That child stands up, holds hands with the person who gave them the valentine, and now the group of three walks around the room. The game continues until there is only one child left. When that child gets the valentine, there is only one person left, YOU the teacher. So the end child gets to give the valentine to you.

Roses Are Red

This is a wonderful 6/8 Valentine activity for grades 3-5.

Using the old poem “Roses are Red”, echo speak with body percussion until everyone knows it.

1.  Individuals improvise the poem on pitched percussion/recorders.  When we do this, we start with someone and just proceed all around the room.  I keep a little bass beat on the BX and play a little interlude between each child.  It is so much fun and the 6/8 of course is lilting and beautiful!

2.  Finish the melody activity-On xylophones have students learn DRMS, DRMS for the first two lines of the poem and then they create the melody for the last two lines.  We vote on our favorite and that becomes their class melody.  I usually do it in C pentatonic.  It would work well on recorders in G major.  OR, you could do LDRM in E minor on recorders for a fun and accessible way to finish a melody using the notes EGAB.

3.  Building bricks with 6/8-students brainstorm.  Three eighth note examples are valentine and chocolate.  Dotted quarter examples are love, heart, red, candy.  Put combos together in groups to create B, C, D, E, F, etc. sections in rondo form with the song above as your A section.  Or pick favorite group creation as the B section for a more simple binary form.  These can be transferred to non-pitched percussion.

4.  If you’d like to explore writing poems in the style of “Roses are Red”, try changing the colors and then the rhyming words.

Roses are blue.
Violets are red.
If you agree,
You’ve got rocks in your head.

Super (RONDO) Bowl

Google Slide Presentation ⬇️

Click to Begin or Enter Full Screen & Begin

At the bottom of the slide, click on the 3 dots to find the ENTER FULL-SCREEN link. I’ve never tried embedding a Google slide, so please let me know if you have any problems with it. Comment below or send an email to oodlesofmusic21@gmail.com

Who Has Seen the Wind? Song & Lesson Rhythmic REMIX

The classic song, “Who Has Seen the Wind?” has been REMIXED and is ready for winter, spring, summer, and fall windy weather!

Perfect for teaching half notes, low la, and minor tonality, the teaching process includes Orff and Kodaly approaches along with recorder and movement sections.

The One-Beat Diner for Remarkable Rhythms


The One-Beat Diner is a 2-page resource that features a menu full of one-beat yummy foods that can be turned into a delicious 4-beat take-out order. Page 1 is a place to create your one-beat foods and page 2 is where you put them into 4-beat patterns.

How about the #1 special with


Diner 1-Beat Food

What other foods do you want at YOUR diner?

Cephalopod Squid Game


What’s here!

  • The parts are a just a framework. Let the kids explore how to create the sounds in measures 4-6.
  • The second note “A” in the melody sounds bent to me so not quite A and not quite Ab.
  • I used the games they play in the show, but wouldn’t it be fun to let your classes create their own B section with their favorite games.
  • This is not the original key so you could play around with other tonalities.
  • The vocal part can easily be played on the recorder. Mmm…
  • The melody is really popular on TikTok right now but might not work at some schools. Discretion advised.

If you are subscribed to my blog you can receive a PDF copy of Cephalopod Games! Just drop me a comment below and let me know if you’d like one.

Pass the Pumpkin

Game * Orff Arrangement * Student-Created Springtime Version


This is a great beat passing game! Whoever has the pumpkin on the last beat of the song is OUT! Continue playing until there is a final winner. As students get out, they can go get sticks and play to the beat as the game progresses.


Pass the Pumpkin Orff Arrangement

Pass the Pumpkin beat passing song and game w/Orff arrangement

Other ideas

I LOVE teaching about minor keys and this has such a great descending line with the last 5 notes-mi, re, do, ti, la. It’s so fun to play in D minor with a simple D bordun on BX and other instruments playing the last five notes on A, G, F, E, and D.

Take a fun poem for a B section and you’ve got a performance piece!

There have been schools where I didn’t talk about Halloween and so my new lyrics were: Pass the pumpkin all around, listen to that pumpkin sound. Ooo, ooo, ooo, ooo, pumpkin time is here!

Written in 2/4

Springtime Version

My mystery song (only the rhythm to go on) today was Pass the Pumpkin. When they figured out that it was Pass the Pumpkin, they were challenged with creating a spring version of this fall song. “Pass the twister all around. Listen to that whirling sound. Oo, oo, oo, oo. Tornado season is here.” Then I drew the tornado on the tennis ball and we played the game.

Monkeys Spinning Monkeys

A bubbly, bouncy instrumental piece that is perfect for movement activities. This instrumental piece posted on Youtube in 2014 and became a TikTok sensation, reaching over 1 million plays in 2021.

 

Here you will find the piece analysis, links, and teaching ideas!

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay 


Links

Composer, Kevin MacLeod’s YouTube channel with a visual representation of the song very similar to Chrome Song Maker.

Examples of how Monkeys Spinning Monkeys has been used on TikTok.

Song Download Site & Info about the song with downloadable wav files and sheetmusic.

Teaching Ideas

I’ve outlined ideas for the A, B, and C sections for movement, drums, and parachutes. A great idea for exploration and creation is to let the students create the movement, drum part, or parachute moves.

  • Divide the class in thirds and put each in charge of one of the sections. Perform the piece with each group performing on their section(s).
  • You can teach the A and B section then let small groups come up with their ideas for the C section. Share each group’s idea. Perform the entire piece with the whole group performing the same A and B and then the C will sparkle with all of the unique ideas happening at once.
  • Extend the learning by going to Chrome Music Lab’s Song Maker and have students compose an A B A C A song.


If you use any of these ideas, please comment below and let me know!