Are you in a panic when your school’s electricity goes out, the projector bulb goes pop, you need emergency sub plans, or your computer is on the fritz? Make this no-tech, low-cost Jeopardy board and you’ll be ready for any emergency! Say goodbye to technology and hello to an innovative, interactive, and budget and sub-friendly game that will make learning music (or ANY subject) an absolute blast!
What is a No-Tech Jeopardy Game?
A no-tech Jeopardy game provides an opportunity to combine music education with a thrilling game show format any time and in any situation. A music teacher or sub with no musical background, can walk in and without hitting a power button of any kind, have great learning K-5.
Modeled after the popular TV show, this interactive game allows students to answer questions, earn points, and engage in friendly competition. By transforming your music lessons into an exciting game, you can foster a love for music, encourage teamwork, and enhance student learning in a playful and memorable way.
Did I mention that it folds down to an easy-to-store rectangle?
Are you ready to add barred instruments to classic songs and games? This All Around the Buttercup resource includes an easy Orff arrangement that is taught with body percussion, speech, and great visuals. It includes the classic game and a new one or two with some fun twists. Buttercup is a wonderful song to teach quarter notes and rests and eighth note pairs, as well as so, mi, re, do patterns.
Looking for simple and fun ways for your music classes to be active and engaged outdoors? Check out these easy outdoor music and movement activities for kids! Why outdoors? To enjoy the weather, quiet time during testing, or just a change of scenery for a brain break.
Earth, Wind, and FIRE
Take any upbeat song such as Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “Let’s Groove Tonight” and create easy movement.
Intro (stand and bounce to the beat)
Verse (lots of words so keep it simple-WALK to the beat)
Chorus (easier lyrics so stop and do simple choreography)
arms up, arms out, arms down, arms out (repeat)
Walking and freestyle are a snap! Just something simple for the chorus and BAM, you’ve got it.
Breaking down a classroom activity by procedures will make your lesson more effective. When activities fail, many times it’s because a classroom routine or process is missing. I spent twice as much planning time on HOW to teach than WHAT to teach.
If you need an online option for your music class, Blooket is a perfect choice. Here are the basics of the game, assessment opportunities, safety reminders, SEL considerations, and then a list of games I’ve created.
Blooket was created to imitate video games that kids love. It is Kahoot with more game options and can be played solo and as a class.
Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights and is celebrated on different days every year. Based on the Hebrew lunar calendar, it usually falls in December.
In music, I like to take all celebrations, holidays, and observances and look at several factors that are common to all of them-food, colors, traditions, and music! I then love to teach about them using a book, game, dance, and music. Wish we could add FOOD!
October through December is a perfect time to talk about traditions including Diwali, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. I always asked, “Does everybody in the world celebrate everything?” It was a way to say that we can learn about it all, even if we don’t personally celebrate it.
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I love to use board books or ones with rhyming words. I want the learning to come from mainly the images.
I Have a Little Dreidel SONG
We always played the Dreidel game in class. I projected the meaning for each side of the dreidel so groups could refer to it. I played with K-5 and they always looked forward to this every year.
I found dreidels in bulk at Target (ages ago before Amazon) 🤣 and then bought pony beads for the “candy.”
Ukulele C & G7
Hanukkah Google Slides Presentation
This Google Slide presentation was shared by Ms. Stern from the Facebook Music Teachers Idea Bank group. It has lots of different activities to learn about Hanukkah. She says to feel free to change the bitmoji and make it your own!
These ideas are for passing a SINGLE object around the circle, not cup passing games and similar where EVERYONE has an object. Many elimination games are played using a single object.
Singing games that involve passing an object to the beat are favorites in the music classroom. No matter what object you use, there are some basic how-tos for teaching kids. Here are some tricks and a list of favorite games.
When I’m teaching the concept for the first time or going over reminders to students who’ve already learned, here is the sequence.
Identify, discuss, and demonstrate the qualities of a good pass. The word “pass” can be misleading. It’s not a toss, drop, or throw. It is PLACED directly and easily in the next person’s hand. In their hand, not dropped in front of them, to the side of them, or in the space created by their criss-cross applesauce legs.
There’s a responsibility on the receiver to have their hand ready. Also, the receiver RECEIVES the pass and does not grab the object from the giver.
Identify that the beat means not going faster or slower in different parts of the circle.
The class pats their legs to a steady beat as they count 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. The teacher points to each child driving home the idea that each child is ONE beat.
Repeat the process
Add a bean bag or ball reminding students that they should have the item in THEIR hand on THEIR number and only THEIR number. This process lets kids internalize the steadiness of a steady beat.
The object never STOPS. The object doesn’t speed up or down. (important if your song has rests or longer held notes so that students don’t try to match the rhythm)
Introduce the Song
If you haven’t learned the song, do it now with steady beat patting.
Play with your beat-passing object. Make sure the students are singing. The teacher should still walk around the outside of the circle pointing to who should have it.
Let them try it without your help and see where the problems are occurring.
If a student is not keeping the beat and you feel it is purposeful, address it. For example, if the object is especially tantalizing 😄 (a soft fuzzy ball, a cute pumpkin, etc) kids may want to hold on to it longer.
Many times though, students just get excited or nervous and go too fast.
Secret Magical Compliments & Fixes
Time to play “for real” as an out game or however the game is intended.
Become the COACH
Don’t sing with them.
Don’t help them restart the game after each “out.” Tell them they are in charge. Tell them to watch who has the ball at the end of the verse and when you see them ready to begin the first pass, that’s when they need to pat and sing.
You’ll find your leaders. Compliment them. “I loved the way Tyrese started singing to get the game going again.” “I loved the way Shari moved back right away when she was out so that the game could continue.”
Ideas for the Kids Who Are OUT
Simply scoot back out of the circle, not changing your basic position in the circle, watch the game, and continue to sing and pat.
Go get rhythm sticks, sit in your “out” circle spot, sing, and PLAY the steady beat.
Get a scarf and move around the room to the beat as the game continues. (this is for classes that have lots of self-control and leadership)
The END of the Game CAUTIONS
Kids get excited when it’s down to the last 4, 3, 2 and so I stop the game and remind them of a couple of safety and sportsmanship items.
What do you say at the end of the game? “Congratulations” to the winner and “Good game” to the one who did not win. (or whatever sportsmanship ideas you want to impart) Many times when I ask the question, kids automatically recite what they’ve learned from their after-school sports)
While we want to be excited at the end of the game, we will use our words so no jumping, touching, slapping on the back, etc.
Pass the Pumpkin
Here’s the link to this wonderful game that can be used ALL year. Of course it’s great for Halloween. If your school doesn’t celebrate Halloween, change the words. Instead of “Halloween is here” sing “Pumpkin time is here.”
Check out my lyrics writing activity for the spring where I asked kids what you would pass that is spring related.
In and Out
This is a perfect game for first and second graders, even third.
The challenge is to get them to keep passing on the rests.
This rhyme is great for teaching or reinforcing quarter notes and rests!
You want your beginning-of-the-year music activities to be that perfect combination of fun and learning. Here you’ll find some name games and activities that will have your students interacting on the very first day in music class.
On this page…
Beginning of the year music activities should let the teacher and students hear and interact with student names. Here are some fun lessons for all grade levels.
Name Name, What’s the Name?
The Never-Ending Name Game
This lesson plan is best spread out over multiple days.
Lesson 1: Introduction
Sitting in a circle works best
T speaks every student’s first name and students echo
T speaks and claps student’s first name and all students echo
Ss clap and speak their own name and class echoes
Ss clap and speak their own name and NO echoes, just right around the circle.
Same as K-2 above.
Go around circle and Ss only clap their name, no speaking.
Go around circle and class claps and speaks every student’s name.
Go around circle and class claps, no speaking, everyone’s name.
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?”
Lesson 2: 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.
Lesson 3: 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.
Now 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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Sitting in a circle works 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 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)
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!
Beginning of the Year Music Activities
I saw this great beginning-of-the-year activity from an art teacher that was a great way for kids to work together to create something unique. It was called Exquisite Corpse and began with a long piece of paper folded 4 times. The first child would draw something on the first folded area.
The next child would continue the drawing on the adjacent fold, then two more students adding on. When unfolded, it was a tall figure with 4 unique areas that looked kind of zany and very cool.
How to play
I thought, “Why not do it with a descriptive sentence that creates a rhythm?” Using the below columns, run off the words in each column, each on a different color of paper.
Here’s a PDF with the four pages! Just copy and cut out the strips.
The mixed-up sentences will delight your students and get them working together to perform their Madcap Rap!
There are enough for a class of 32 but if you have fewer students, just make sure you hand out equal numbers of each color. If you have a number that isn’t divisible by 4, the teacher may have to step in to help out.
Have the students get in groups of four and say their sentences in your color order. For my example, the order would be red-orange-blue-green. The goal would be to try to say it with a good beat.
You might get “A spoon and fork were hiking in the mountains in the pouring rain. That’s so fire!”
Each group would get a turn “rapping” their sentence. The next step would be to ask all of the reds and blues to find a new group and repeat the above process. Ask the oranges and greens to find a new group for more madcap raps.
Add a fun mp3 loop for the performances!
Body Shapes Movement
Start your year with this best-selling resource that will set a standard for calm and focused beginnings in your music classes. SEL is achieved through music and movement. See and hear a PDF and video preview on TPT.
This game, and version of the familiar musical chairs game, is so much fun and easy to set up. I only play it with classes that can follow rules.
What You Need
One textbook (or book) for every student
Music (I made you some Spotify playlists at the bottom of the page)
Students who are willing to play by the rules
How to Play
Start with a circle of chairs with the seats facing OUT.
The example class has 30 kids, so 29 chairs in a circle, right? Get a stack of textbooks or 29 books of any kind and after the first person is out, you put one book on any chair. I originally used textbooks because they are sturdy, were readily available in my classroom, and if a chair gets bumped, won’t fall off.
There is now one person out and they are in charge of putting the books on the chairs after each elimination. They get in the middle of the circle with the books. You start the music again. I tell the person in the middle to put ONE book on any chair AFTER the music begins again. As soon as they’ve put a book on a chair, you can stop the music whenever because the number of available chairs will fit how many are still in the game, minus one. Unlike the original, there is NO moving of chairs and a student is in charge of the books which allows you to keep your eyes on the game more consistently.
I put a playlist together and just let it roll and only use my mute button to turn the music “off and on” so that my eyes are constantly on the gameplay. Of course, you can stop and start the song, too.
It is SO fun. It is safe as long as you are firm on the rules and if it doesn’t work or you fear someone will get hurt, end the game and move on to something else.
If you touch anyone you are out.
If you stop moving or run you are out.
If you touch a CHAIR you are out. (this prevents pinched fingers and general cheating)
You may NOT sit in a chair with a book in it.
I (the teacher) am the official. I have to catch people who break the rules and whatever I say RULES.