Think~Pair~Share In the Music Room

Hi everyone - this is Karla from CMajorLearning. Wow - things are in full swing for me now and I thought I would share with you what I’ve been up to this past week in my classroom!

I will start out with the professional development day held in my district this week.  A bit of background info, the Canal Winchester Schools received one of 32 Straight A Grants from the state of Ohio.  The purpose of the grant was to create innovative teaching using technology.  We received over $850,000 to put into K-5 teaching initiatives, technology and professional development!  I am fortunate enough to be on the district committee as well as the core innovation team at Indian Trail Elementary!

Now - that money will make a HUGE difference in our schools in the long term, but in the short term, the district has decided to align with the grant initiative and focus all of our professional development on project based and inquiry based learning to support the innovative teaching from the Straight A Grant.  We had our first pd day this week and it was fantastic!   Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, I feel that as Kodáy inspired teachers, we are, for once, a little bit ahead of the curve!  As I sat through the training, I was super excited to see that a lot of the teaching strategies are partially or completely in place in my classroom just because of the Kodály approach! They may be called a different name and done in a slightly different format, but this active, hands on learning is happening on a daily basis!

As a result of this training, I decided to really look at my teaching this week and see what I was doing that was supporting our district professional development goals.

First, I have been working with my 2nd graders on ta and ti-ti review super heavy.  Two lessons ago we did a musical version of ‘Write the Room”.  
This activity is done a lot in the regular classrooms and I decided to try it in the music room albeit, with a twist.  In the activity, the students get a clipboard, pencil and recording sheet.  They search the room for what they are instructed to ‘write’ from the room.  In my case, I made it ta and ti-ti flashcards and they had to find them all over my room.  I was so pleased to see how the students were engaged and QUIET during the activity - the loved it!  You can check out the files I used at my TpT store by clicking the here

The students wrote the room and I collected the papers to review and grade.  Most students matched the correct rhythms with the correct boxes - yeah!  This week, I passed back those papers and the students were asked to “Think - Pair - Share”.  To make it work in the music classroom, I had the students get with a partner of their choosing (having talked about partner choosing before this was an easy task for my kids - it may not be for you if you have not done partner choosing before).  I then had the students ‘think’ through their rhythms by saying them inside their heads.  We then ‘paired’ and read the rhythms together one by one (there were 10 on the recording sheet).  Lastly, we ‘shared’.  Here is where I made a little bit of a change.  My kids LOVE mystery songs so I had them do mystery patterns with their partners; one student clapped a mystery pattern (one of the patterns on their recording sheet) and then the second student had to solve the mystery by identifying the pattern that was clapped; then they switched jobs. It was AWESOME to walk the room and watch the students go through this process and see so many levels of learning taking place!

I’m going to continue this idea next week by doing some rhythm squares activities as a whole class, where students are the leaders for the entire group and then relate the patterns to known songs!  A few of the kids already did this in their “Think - Pair - Share” time and they were super excited to share their discovery with me!!  You can check out the Rhythm Squares activity here
The other activity that I did relating directly to my professional development this week was with my first grade students.  Unfortunately, there was no sub for the PE teacher during the afternoon on Friday.  In my building the PE teacher and I work very hard at providing a related arts class for every kid every day.  So when there are no subs for any of the four of us (music, pe, art and social skills), we take each others classes.  Our daily schedules are the same, so this happens very easily as the classes just go to a different class when this happens.  I had 2 first grade classes at a time (around 50 kids) in my room.  Not being one to just put a movie in and call it a day, I decided to do something productive yet different with the classes.  We went on a listening walk!  

First, we read the book The Listening Walk by Paul Showers, illustrated by Aliki (click here to find it on Amazon). 
I only had a small paperback copy of the book and it would have been hard for everyone to see, so what to do?  Well Google it of course!!!  I found a very nice youtube version of the book to project onto the smart board and everyone could see it!  (click here for the link to youtube).   The kids LOVED it - they were listening, laughing and making sounds right along with the story.  At the end of the book, it asks the reader to just listen when they are done - so we did just that…..over 50 kids sitting in the music room absolutely still for almost a minute!!!  Just listening!  It was amazing!

Since it was such a nice day here in central Ohio, we then went on a listening walk around our school building - again over 50 kids walking in side by side lines around the school in silence!!!  It was amazing!  At the end of our walk we ended in a double circle under a shade tree.  We used the same “Think - Pair - Share” strategy listed above.  The students thought of 3 sounds they heard, turned to the person behind them (someone in a different class) and then shared their 3 sounds.   We had odd numbers in each class so I didn’t get to walk around and simply listen to the conversations but I could hear lots of great talk while I was listening to my partner.

What activities do you do that are problem based or inquiry based?  I’m only at the beginning of my learning with this but can foresee so many amazing and NEW stratigies happening in my classroom!!!  Please share your experiences through the comment section below - I would LOVE to know other ideas!  We can do our own “Think - Pair - Share” activity!!!


  1. I've also done the listening walk activity - amazing how quiet even the little ones can get!

    1. I know - they were totally into it! I loved what they heard - somethings even I didn't pick up on!

  2. Thanks for the wonderful ideas, Karla. Hoping for some more beautiful Ohio days to give this a try.

  3. We are all about inquiry as well! I love this idea...our PD isn't as helpful because it focuses on the general classroom. I would love to read more of your inquiry ideas! Thank you :)

    1. As I learn more I will post more! The PD is for everyone but my district is super good about letting the Related Arts folks run with the ideas and make them our cool to get to work through it with my Kodály training!!! It seems to really go together!


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