Valentine's Day Fun!

Hi, everyone! This is Liza. I'm excited to write my first post for the blog. My husband will be at TMEA on Valentine's Day again this year (Sigh!), so I've decided to celebrate in another way...with Valentine's activities galore with my students at school. I hope you find at least one new gem you've never heard of before, or a new twist on some of the old standards you already use. If you go to my personal blog there are some more Valentine's activities from this year and last year if you're interested. I'm the slow child in the class who hasn't yet figured out how to display a button for my blog on this page, but I'll keep trying. Until then, here's a link:

Valentine Message Match

I made up a bunch of the Valentine message hearts and made sure there were at least two of each one. You could use any rhythm set if you wanted to. There's an easy and a hard version of this game. In the easy version each student gets a message, finds their partner, and they decode the message and write the correct rhythm on the paper (I used tas and titis in these examples). In the hard version, students do not see their own message because I tape them onto their backs. Then they must find their partner without any talking, helping each other with non-verbal cues to pair up. When all have found their partners each pair must say their words for the class and say the rhythm that goes with those words. Students love playing this game repeatedly. To make it even harder I set a time limit for finding your partner and those who are still partner-less when time is up or students who talk are eliminated.

You can use a similar game for many things. I've done a game in which students have to match a card with a picture of an instrument on it with a card that has the correct name of that instrument, again with the cards taped to students' backs and no talking allowed. Students who don't match name and picture correctly or who talk are out. I've also done 4 leaders who represent the instrument families and the rest of the class has instrument pics on their backs. The first instrument family leader to find all of the instruments that belong to their family wins.

 Solo Singing Games

There are two Valentine's themed solo singing games I have used with my students recently, one which is more appropriate for slightly older students because of the octave range, and one that I use with younger students because it has a more limited range and I can have students sing their responses using any tone set we happen to be working on.

I changed the words to the Who Has My Penny, Button, Key game to fit the Valentine's theme. I use a piece of hard, wrapped candy (chocolate melts and gets squishy in the wrapper), a small heart I cut out of craft foam, and a bear finger puppet. The objects need to be small enough for students to cover easily with their hands. The guesser sits in a chair and is blindfolded and then I hand the objects to 3 students who then sing the responses solo. Afterwards I take the blindfold off of the guesser and all students pretend to hold an object. The guesser names who they think sang, and then I ask them to pick the next guesser who is blind folded. The 3 students who ended the last round with the objects then get to give their objects away so we can play the next round of the game. 

In this more simple solo singing game, the class sings all but the last phrase of the song. The first day we play, I am the leader and students only sing responses.The singer secretly picks someone in the room and sings one characteristic of the person, such as "She is wearing red," or "He has glasses." Several students are called to sing answers. If no one guesses correctly, then I give another clue, etc. On later days when the song is more familiar, students may take over singing the teacher part. As I said, I often change what solfa pattern the response is sung in based on what we've been working on in class.

Will You Be My Valentine Dance

This is a partner circle game very similar to Bow Wow Wow. All students stand in a single circle facing a partner. On the first phrase students touch right "heel" and "toe" to the floor, then 3 stomps on "down the line." On the second phrase students grab their partner's hands and switch places with them. On the 3rd phrase, motions from the 1st phrase repeat but with the left foot. On the last phrase students put hands on hips and nod for "ja" and cross arms and shake head no on "nein" and then turn their back to their old partner. They will now have a new partner to repeat the song with. Continue until all have worked their way around the circle and back to their first partner.I use this song for ta, titi and labeling rhythmic form with younger grades, and for re practice.

Flipchart practicing ta, titi and rhythmic form

Flipchart practicing drm sl melody

Tony Chestnut Tempos

I use this song to practice tempo markings among other things. First I demonstrate the motions and sing the song and ask the class what they notice (that the words match the part of the body I touch). I then usually teach the song with motions by phrase. Movements are as follows: "To-ny"= touch toe then knee, "Chest-nut"= fist taps chest (think Tarzan), then taps head, "knows I love you"= touch nose and eyes, cross arms for love, point out for you. Once they have it, we repeat getting faster each time. For more practice on other days I have a flipchart with an odometer showing the tempos. A student comes up and picks a tempo for us to perform, or they can make us change tempo in the middle of the song.

For a different way to practice, I use the flipchart above. Students come to the board and touch the parts of the body on the swanky Valentine's man as we sing (or the heart or you word) as fast as they can and the class decides what tempo they were able to lead the class to sing. Students who don't know the song well often go largo. Very few students can lead us to sing presto, but they have fun trying.

I hope you found at least one helpful idea. Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

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