Category Archives: Games

RoboRama – A Fun Robot Board Game!

RoboRama

RoboRama

My husband made some robot figures on his 3D printer and gave them to me. Since I have a lot of students who like robots, I thought it would be fun to make a game and use them.

Keeping with my piano game philosophy of only playing fast games so we can spend most of our time learning artistry at the piano, (yes, that is my goal, after all!) I created a game called RoboRama. I tested it out on my K-5 students and both girls and boys liked it, so I decided it is worth sharing. This game can be played in less than 5 minutes if you play it the way we did.  It’s over so fast they were excited to have time to play it more than once.

This is a game to review theory terms, so I made the cards in different levels, starting with primer. I actually went through all the primer level books I’ve collected over the years to make sure I was using common primer level symbols.  So keep this game in mind when you start new students. If your student is really new, you can print out several pages of just the keyboard cards and play with those. Texas teachers, the key signatures for the 5th grade of the TMTA test are included.

To allow the different levels to be easy to use, I made 2 different ink-saving colored backs for the theory cards. This allows me to customize a game using cards from several levels, and to easily put the cards back in the correct order. You can do the same thing by using different colored card stock for each level, or even writing, drawing, or using stickers on the back to help you keep the levels straight. I don’t know about you, but I have different levels of students who come back to back and if I want to use the game with all of them I need to be able to separate the cards quickly. Check out my FAQ above if you don’t know how to keep from printing the entire document.

I used a business card template, because I have a large box of business cards that I bought on sale some years ago, and I have plenty left. If you don’t have business cards or you want to use colored card stock, there are cutting lines on the edges. Here is a link to Amazon if you want to order a large box of 1000 cards at a good price that will last you years and years. [Amazon pays me a few cents if you buy something I link. It helps support the growing cost of maintaining this site.]

When I was writing the directions for this game, it seemed so complicated, but it’s really not. Actually, it’s a fast and easy game, because that is all I can think of!

Students answer a question, roll a die, and move the number on the die. They move on the green dots on the outside oval. If they land on a big green dot next to a house, they start moving toward the center. If they draw a RoboRama card, they try to knock over an opponent’s token. That’s all there is to it!

Your students might be interested to know that robotics clubs often have contests with motorized robot vehicles that are programmed to move ping-pong balls. My husband and son have made these kinds of robots and I love to watch robot contests, so that is where I got the idea for this game.

 Objective

  • To review musical symbols, intervals, key signatures, a few notes in middle C position, and some music vocabulary words.

 Ages

  • Grades 1-5, using the appropriate cards for the concepts students have learned.

 Number of Players

  • Two to four players. The teacher can play with a student, or students can play in a group lesson.

Materials

  • Game board and symbol card printables.
  • One die.
  • A different, small token for each player that stands, so it can be knocked over.
  • One ping-pong ball or another small rolling ball.

Directions

  • Print the game board and cut out the cards.
  • Each player puts their token on a house on the game board. The first player draws a card and identifies the symbol. If students do not know the symbol, give them hints until they get it correct. No one loses a turn if they don’t know the answer in my games! We are not trying to teach life lessons about winning and losing, just learning a little music theory.
  • After drawing and answering the card, the student rolls the die and uses that number to move their token on the green dots of the large outside oval, not toward the center. Players take turns drawing cards, rolling the die, and moving their token on the green dots on the outside oval.
  • When a student lands on one of the large green dots next to a house, they turn and move toward the center, playing the same way as before.  The first player to reach the center is the winner.
  • If no player lands on a large green dot, the game is over when a player goes completely around the oval and passes or lands on his starting “home.”
  • However, if a player draws a RoboRama card, he rolls the ping-pong ball to try to knock over an opposing player’s token. If he is successful, he gets 2 more turns to draw and the opposing player starts over at “home”. If he is unsuccessful, you can adjust the rules to the age of the student. The older students let to set the rules before they start. There is a big difference in kindergarten and 5th grade. Really any way you play is fine, as long as the students are having fun and learning something.
  • Students always ask me if they need to roll the exact number as they head toward the winning center. That depends on the age of the student and how much time we have. In a piano lesson, if they roll a number over the required number to get to the center, they win. In a piano camp or a long group lesson, I might require the exact number to get to the center.

Why I Like This Game

  • It doesn’t take much lesson time.
  • When I play this game with students, I discover right away what they know and what they need work on. So it is like an achievement test, only a lot more fun!

 

6 Comments

Filed under Games, Group lesson ideas, Music Printables, Theory

Pot of Gold Music Game

Pot of GoldPot of Gold

I’ve been testing out my new elementary level St. Patrick’s Day game, Pot of Gold, and it is fast and fun! It is a board game, where students answer a music question, roll a die,  and move their pawn.

This is a big file so it might take some time to download.  There are 8 pages, including 6 pages of elementary level cards: keyboards, notes, vocabulary, intervals, and key signatures. If you like to print a colorful back to your game cards so they look more professional, I included that, too. Scroll through all the pages included in this file and only print what you want. If you don’t know how to print the back to the cards, check out the FAQ at the top of my blog.

However, there is a little secret to this game. It is very much like my Thanksgiving game, Chasing the Turkey.  So if you have already printed the cards to that game and you are in a hurry or want to save ink, you can use the Chasing the Turkey cards.  I made this set of cards because I like to keep the game boards and cards together so I can find them quickly.

I printed the game board on card stock and laminated it, but I did not laminate the cards. I separate the cards by level before we play. I store board games in folders with pockets that I buy on sale at the beginning of the school year. On the inside of the folder, I glue the rules of the game because I forget the rules!

One of my older students was watching his brother as we played. “Hey, you’re giving him the answers,” he said. Then he quickly said, “But I guess if you don’t, he won’t learn anything.”

“You’re exactly right,” I said. The purpose of this game is to learn, and if he doesn’t know the answer, I help him out so he will!”

Objective

  • To review previously learned musical symbols, intervals, key signatures, the notes of middle C position, and some music vocabulary words.
  • To enjoy a seasonal game.

Ages

  • Grades 1-4, using the appropriate cards for the concepts students have learned.

Materials

  • Game board.
  • Cards printed with various musical symbols and terms.
  • One die.
  • On pawn for each player.

Directions

  • The game can be played with two or more players.
  • Print the game board and cut out the cards. 
  • Each player puts his token on the game board. The first player draws a card and answers the question. If he doesn’t know the answer, give him hints until he gets it correct.
  • Then he rolls the die and moves the number of spaces on the die. If he lands on a circle with instructions, he follows the instructions, such as taking a short cut, or moving back to Start.
  • The game continues in the same way with the other players.
  • When playing with a pre-school child, let him win most of the games so he will want to play again.
  • The first player to reach the Pot of Gold  is the winner.

13 Comments

Filed under Games, Group lesson ideas, St. Patrick's Day, Texas State Theory Test, Theory

Are You a Line or Space? A Quick Valentine Activity!

 

Are You a Line or Space

 Are You a Line or Space

I am always looking for something different to do with my students, to shake things up a bit and add some fun to piano lessons.

I put a sign on my front door, “Are You a Line or Space?” This made them curious and got them interested. They all had no idea what I was planning on doing, but they have come to expect that piano lessons are not going to be the same-old thing.

I printed two staves with either line or space notes shaped like hearts. Since Valentine’s Day is coming up,  I used that as a theme.

I told them I was doing a musical experiment on lines and spaces. I explained there would be two teams, the Lines and the Spaces,  and I wanted to see which was the easiest for students. They could choose their team or pick a line or space card from a bowl to be assigned a team. I have some students who would take 10 minutes to decide, and I need to move fast in piano lessons, so picking from the bowl turned out to be a time saver for those indecisive or aprehensive students.  

 I sat them down in front of either a line or space card. While I timed them with my phone stopwatch, they placed a bingo chip on each note as they called out the name of the note. 

It didn’t take long, and students were allowed to try several times, so I could write down their fastest time on the printable I made to record the times. The more practice, the better, and everyone wanted to try it several times.  Even so, it took less than 5 minutes.

Many of the students decided to be on the “space” team, because they said spaces are the easiest. That was fine with me. What they don’t know yet is that next week I’m going to post the Are You Ready to Switch poster, and we are going to switch sides!

I hoped to have time to made ledger line cards, but I didn’t. However, you could use my mini-ledger line flash cards and accomplish the same thing. Spread them out of the table and play the same way.

Yesterday I shared this activity  with my Facebook Group, Piano Teacher FunMakers. I really wasn’t planning on blogging about it, because it’s kind of silly, the clip art is from other things I’ve made, and the printables were hastily made to get it done before my students arrived!

But, it has turned out to be fun and I wanted to share. I told teachers  I would get this posted in time for them to use it Monday, if they wish, so here it is. If you start Monday, you will have 2 weeks to play it before Valentines. Hope you have fun with it! I know we are!

 

15 Comments

Filed under Games, Note Identification, Valentine's Day

Celebrate! – a Birthday Game

CelebrateNoteNaming copy

Celebrate Note Naming Game

Celebrate! Note Game all started when I decided to update my New Year’s game. Then I started thinking that it would be a lot more useful if I changed it into a birthday game! What is more fun than celebrating birthdays! I’ve always wanted a game I could pull out the week of a student’s birthday. But I tested this game with my students when it wasn’t their birthday, so now I realize you can play this game anytime! Everyone likes to think about birthdays. My students helped me with the reward/penalty cards, and I hope your students enjoy them as much as mine did.

To make it easier on all my dear teacher friends, and, I have to admit, myself,  I color coded the note levels. The yellow stars are for beginners who are learning the notes in middle C position and the blue cards contain the rest of the notes on the grand staff. The green cards have the difficult ledger line notes that always cause students to stumble. So you can even use the ledger line version of this game at group lessons with your older students. Let’s face it, high school students don’t really want to play games with the teacher, but with a group it’s different.

There are so many ways you can play this. Every time we tested it out here in my studio, we changed around the rules.  I am going to list a few ways to play, and please feel free to take it from there. And if you come up with a version your students enjoyed, leave a comment here to share with other teachers. Email me if you don’t understand the directions.

MATERIALS

  • Celebrate! game board.
  • Star cards cut into circles, including the levels you wish to use and the reward/penalty star cards.

DIRECTIONS FOR STUDENT/TEACHER: SHORT VERSION

  • Print only one copy of the game board. You and your student will use the same game board.
  • Place the note cards and the reward/penality cards in a container. Use the level of cards that are appropriate for your student.
  • Each player will chose a color of star to cover. For example, the student will cover the yellow stars on the board, and the teacher will cover the blue stars.
  • Players take turns closing their eyes and drawing a card from the container.
  • After drawing a card, the player identifies the note and places the card on his color star on the game board.
  • If young beginners do not get the note correct, help them out. The idea is to learn notes, not win. This depends on the age of the student, of course.
  • The object of the game is to cover all of one color of stars on the game board.

DIRECTIONS FOR STUDENT/TEACHER OR GOUP: LONGER VERSION

  • Print one game board for each player.
  • Print note cards with the ratio of one page per player. The cards can be all the same color (such as all yellow or all green) or a mixture of levels.
  • Play the game as above, but the object is to cover all the stars (both colors) on the game board.

OBJECTIVE

To review the names of notes on the staff.

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Filed under Games, Group lesson ideas, Note Identification

Christmas Lights

Musical Christmas Lights Musical Christmas Lights

Musical Christmas Lights is an update of my old Christmas game. This is a bingo-type game for students who can identify notes up to sixteenth notes. The remainder of the symbols are from beginning to about level 2.

I remade it using a lot less ink. I also remade all the graphics so they looked fresher, and added a fermata to the game! For teachers who have to use black ink only printers, I made a black and white version.

Before you print, be aware that you don’t need to print both the color and black and white versions. If you don’t know how to select individual pages to print, please check out my FAQ.

Materials

  • Musical Christmas Lights printable
  • Calling cards for the teacher
  • 20 bingo chips for each Christmas tree printable used (I use the Magnetic Wand and Bingo Chips from Amazon).
  • Crayons or colored pencils for the black and white version

Directions for color version

  • Print only the colored Christmas trees. Use as many individual cards as you need. If you have more than 6 students, group some on the same card.
  • Print and cut out the teacher calling cards.
  • Optional: Do not cut out the calling cards. Simply print and call out the symbols and put a check by the ones you have called.
  • To help children find the symbols quickly, call the color and the symbol, such as “Red, quarter note.”
  • The student covers the symbol on his card.
  • The first student who covers all the symbols wins.

Directions for black and white version

  • Print the black and white cards and the teacher calling card page.
  • With the printable open on your computer monitor to the teacher calling card page, use it as a guide to label the color of each symbol on your black and white version of the teacher calling cards.
  • Color the lights on the cards using the teacher calling cards as the guide to the colors.
  • For a classroom, make a copy for each student. Tell the students or write on your whiteboard the color each symbol should be colored.
  • Play the game using the directions for the color version, or create your own rules.

Objective

To review basic music vocabulary and symbols.

3 Comments

Filed under Christmas, Games, Group lesson ideas, Holiday Activities and Worksheets