Archive for the ‘Dictation’ Category

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Dictation: Checking What Your Students Are Hearing

April 12, 2013

I am a huge fan of technology. HUGE! When I was hired at my new school I was in raptures over the fact that I would have a SmartBoard in my room. Well, really I was in raptures that I would finally have an actual classroom and not a desk shoved in the corner of some poor teacher’s classroom. But I digress. I love tech. I use the SmartBoard, I borrow the cart of iPads and laptops. The kids love it and it can make assessment a breeze.

That being said, there is absolutely nothing that can replace a good set of manipulatives.  Give the kids something to hold or move around with their hands and their level of engagement goes through the roof. I find this to be especially true with activities such as dictation. Paper and pencil works, but can challenge younger students or those with fine motor issues. Provide a pile of popsicle sticks or coffee stirrers and they can easily manipulate them into quarter notes and eighth notes.

During a recent visit to my local dollar store I found a few packs of foam hearts. They are about four inches across, so quite a good size. I knew immediately they were going to be perfect for my classroom.  I had created staff dictation sets a couple of years ago, but wanted something separate to give the kids for when I just want to work on rhythms. Over Spring Break I redistributed some of my classroom materials (because what else would I possibly want to do on vacation??!?!) Into each bag I included eight hearts, three pieces of yarn about six inches long, eight popsicle/craft sticks, twenty coffee stirrers, and four coffee stirrers that I had cut in half (eight halves in all.)

What to do with these new rhythmic goldmines?  Why not work on placing barlines between the appropriate beats for music in 2 meter?

Bar lines

Perform a pattern using rhythm syllables or by playing on an instrument. The students use the hearts to keep track of the beats and use the coffee stirrers to “write” the pattern they heard . The long stirrers are good for stems and the short “half sticks” are perfect for the beams connecting rhythms such as eighth notes or for making a quarter rest.

Dictation

The yarn is a new addition to my manipulative repertoire. In one of those “oh, duh!” moments, I heard a teacher mention using yarn or pipe cleaners so that students could create half notes during dictation. This has opened up a whole new world of dictation possibilities for 2nd grade!

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If you are working on a particular song your students can recreate an entire phrase of a song.  Here are my 2nd graders recreating the first phrase of Rocky Mountain with the correct number of beats, bar lines, and rhythms. They were so excited to get to “play” with the materials and show off how to create their new long rhythm.  I was thrilled to be able to look around the room and get an instant snapshot of how well my students are understanding the concepts. I now know for which students I need to provide a bigger challenge and which students need some more practice when next we do learning centers in class.

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If you have dictation materials such as these, how do you use them?  Do you have any different ideas you could share? Any unique materials you have used in the past?

 

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