Monday, April 20, 2015

Mystery Pattern of the Day

If you're like me, there is so much to cover in such little time!  I try to maximize and utilize every second of my instructional time with my students.  I always felt like we were wasting time as students transitioned into the room.  I saw how classroom teachers used "morning work" in their classrooms and tried applying the same idea in mine.  I started putting up a "Pattern of the Day" on my interactive white board.  One week it was a rhythm pattern, another week, it was a tonal pattern.  As the students came in, they were instructed to try to read the pattern using solfege.  They were also tasked with identifying the meter or tonality.  Lastly, after reading the pattern, they had to improvise a new pattern in the same style as the pattern they were reading.

As I finished whatever business that needed my attention at the door, I walked to my interactive white board and invited students to read and answer questions about the pattern and lastly to improvise.  The entire activity took less than 2 minutes but it gave me and my students so much more!  It gave them a focus as they walked into the room.  It gave them the opportunity to practice their reading skills every day (whether reading notation was part of the lesson or not).   And it gave them an opportunity to improvise every day!  Those are musical muscles I want to exercise and strengthen and this simple idea of "morning work" allowed us the opportunity to do it every day.

But as time went on, the activity got stale and I needed to spice it up a bit.  This is where our "Mystery Pattern of the Day" came in.   It still gives my students the much needed opportunity to read and improvise each day, but it is kicked up a notch!  The Mystery Pattern became a pattern to listen to and identify in music class.  It could be in a song or chant.  It could be sung or chanted by another student.  It could become a forbidden pattern in class.  It became a focus point for students to actively listen and think about what they were hearing - not just listen and echo everything back to me.  

We've had so much fun playing with the Mystery Pattern of the Day in my music classroom!  I hope you will too.  Let me know how you're using the Mystery Pattern of the Day in your classroom!


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