Have you ever gotten into a teaching rut? Maybe your lessons are stale and want to try something new. That’s what I decided to do and when I read about musical games for secondary classrooms. I was sold on giving it a try in my English Language Arts classes. After reading about “Musical Math With Google Slides,” I decided I wanted to bring educational games to my classroom and see if it would excite my students, get them moving, and have some fun while learning.
I love playing fun review games in my classroom but never thought to add music. Through these experiences, I learned that musical games for secondary classrooms
I have been teaching for a while (around 8 years) and over the years I have developed many games and borrowed a few: (TM) Wheel of Fortune,
(TM) Jeopardy, White Board Race, Trashketball, Swatter, Vocabulary Bingo. The list could go on and on. So, with all of these games why did I decide to mix it up? To be honest, I was bored I wanted my kids to have fun in my room and learn. When I read the post about “Musical Math” and got to the bottom of the blog where it said this could work in a variety of ways for a variety of classes, I thought to myself, challenge accepted!
How did I use this?
Before I tell you how I did this, let me set some background first. Currently, I am the only English teacher in my school district. Ok, let me rephrase that. I’m the only full time English teacher in my school district. Therefore, I teach 8-12 English and a supplementary 8th grade reading class. I wanted to use this activity in a variety of ways to see what my students thought. So, I decided to give musical games for secondary classrooms a shot. Here were my ideas and my results.
Vocab Mash-Up Match Up
First, I decided what I wanted to try this activity with and I settled on one of the “struggle” areas in my classroom: vocabulary. This musical game was really simple and fun to do. What do you need?
- Vocabulary words
- A computer
- Zip Lock baggies (as many bags as groups)
To begin I took the vocabulary words we had for To Kill A Mockingbird and put them into a table format. Then I printed the words and cut them out. Cutting
Next, I put students into groups and explained the rules.
- They had to be kind to each other and no touchy dancing that’s just gross.
- When the music played they moved around.
- When music stopped they found a table or work space and started putting the vocabulary words and their definitions together.
- Students must initial the words they put together.
- Then when the music started they would move again.
- When the table is “done” get a sticky note from up front and put it on the table.
- If the table they were at is “done,” they were check the work and make changes as needed.
They were good with it but were even better with it when DJ Khaled came out of the speakers. (They thought I was going to play some “lame” music).
Amazing! The slugs that walked into my classroom were DANCING and they were SMILING and they were having FUN playing a fun secondary musical game. They thought it was going to be dumb! They had the audacity to roll their eyes at me (imagine a teenager rolling their eyes, I know I’m still in shock!).
Better than loving it, they learned their vocabulary and started helping each other out. One table got “accidently” bumped and everything was messed up. When that was the only table left and everything had been checked, I had students ask me if they could go and help. Now, this game automatically had collaboration in it but they were asking to help their friends out more. Be still my beating heart I was so excited and this was just one game! It seemed like musical games in a secondary classroom was actually a good thing!
Since this vocabulary deal worked out, I decided let’s try this secondary music game deal a few more times and I did. For musical editing you need the following items:
- A paper that needs to be edited.
- A seat for each student.
The rules are similar as those above, but with different content. Students were to:
- Move when the music was on.
- Sit when the music was off (at a spot with a paper)
- Then start editing the person’s paper initialing changes you made (in case there were questions)
Eventually I added put a star where you stopped because it was getting confusing where people had already edited.
When I corrected those 15 papers I found a total of…and you might want to sit down for this…7 errors in 15 papers! Can you believe it! Not only did the errors diminish, the students were helping each other out by asking questions. One of my favorite dialogues was this:
Student A: “Is this a subordinate clause? It needs a comma after it right?”
Student B: “Only if it’s at the beginning of the sentence.”
Student A: “Dang it I have a lot of commas to fix, will you check it to make sure I don’t miss any?”
Student B: “Yeah where do you sit; I’ll try to end up there on the next round.”
It melted my heart.
Are you ready for musical magic?
These are just two of the games I have played and my students have love it! I have so many more ideas to use music to reign my students in and to spruce them up a little bit. The conversations and collaboration has made my students thrive in the classroom.
After reading this if you’re not convinced that musical games for secondary classrooms can really be magical give it a try in your room. The worst that can happen is you stop the game but I don’t think you’ll want to. Jamming with your students is a great way to make the room fun while you’re learning.