Sometimes the best ideas come from students! This new twist on a couple of old games was born last week during an elementary student’s lesson. We were ready to take a mid-lesson break from the piano and I had materials for Boomwhacker flashcards handy (see previous post). My student had other ideas! She ran over to a bowl of alphabet cards I had on a shelf and told me that she wanted to do a game with the “blue cards” instead. I tend to be a pretty go-with-the-flow teacher when a student is excited about something in a lesson, so I stood and puzzled for a quick minute over how best to do some note drills incorporating those “blue cards.” What I came up with was a hybrid of a matching game and tic-tac-toe:
I grabbed 9 of my giant flash cards and laid them out in a 3 x 3 grid on the floor, then asked my student to find an alphabet card to match each note. We put the alphabet cards upside down in a stack on the floor. She went first, drawing a letter card and then laying it on top of the appropriate picture card. I followed, doing the same, but placed my alphabet card upside down so we could tell our cards apart. The object was to be the first to get 3 cards in a row (like tic-tac-toe).
I ended up liking the game so much, I used it as a note drill during most of my elementary students’ lessons last week. Going from a letter name to a picture (instead of looking at the picture first and identifying the letter like most flashcard games) was a different challenge for students that made them re-think old knowledge. I also noticed that many of them took advantage of the opportunity to compare several cards to find the right answer (i.e. “This is an F… I’m looking for A… that’s higher, it must be G, so A is…. that one!).
I also really like games that include an element of chance. That way if a student is playing against me, it puts us both at their level! It also evens the playing field in a group class.
I’ve dubbed this the 3-in-a-Row Match Game (simply because another student asked me what it was called), but am thinking it would be fun to try with a larger grid. Since it was a hit with students, I’m also planning to try it with different types of flash cards. Later this month in group classes, we’ll be working on intervals, so we may play with pictures of intervals and numbered cards. Just as long as the “grid” cards and the “deck” cards are a different color, it should really work with any flash cards. The giant cards I used, as well as the alphabet cards and a number of other card decks are available to download and print on my studio website.