Fun New Manipulatives!

Has anyone else discovered Wikki Stix???  I ran across these at my local teacher supply store last week and had to get a pack!   These are bendable sticks made of a special wax-dipped yarn.   They’ll stick to themselves, or other smooth surfaces, and then come off cleanly.    They come in lots of bright colors:

I’m always looking for creative tools to help students who have difficulty with visual discrimination and reading.   For some students, the amount of ink on a typical page of music is a lot to deal with!  One thing I often do to help students who are struggling is use markers or crayons to “connect the dots” of the music notes.   With the color on the page, it’s easier for them to see notes moving up, down and repeating.   I was really excited to discover that we could press the Wikki Stix into our books to do the same thing (without damaging the book)!

In order to bend and stick these, students must identify the movement of the notes.  Once they’re stuck, students can trace over the stick with their finger while saying “up, down, repeat.”    It adds a fun tactile element to what can be a frustrating task.  You’ll notice that I had this student place the sticks over the stems of the notes.  Stems can be a especially problematic for students with coordination issues. The colored stick guides the eyes to concentrate on just the pattern of the note-heads.

I’m sure with a little imagination these have TONS of potential uses in a music studio.  You could diagram form or phrasing, add creative dynamic “ups and downs” to a score, show the “shape” of a simple melodic dictation…  If anyone has used these in their studio, or has ideas for how else to use them, please share!!


Fun New Manipulatives! — 5 Comments

  1. Hi Jen……just recently discovered your site and I love all of your creative ideas.

    I love your idea of using the stix to trace the melodic contour – I’ve been using markers (we call it the mountain center in my studio).

    We use the wikki stix on the staff to highlight landmark notes (red for treble g, green for bass f). I also use it similar to your silly putty idea – with the stix cut for various rhythms. Students also love using it to answer large flashcards – they answer by molding the stix into the letters.

    As a practice tool, I’ll use it to highlight measures that need extra attention. Different colors mean different ways of practicing (clap 3x before playing, point and name notes, ghost play, etc.) Even my older students like that!

  2. Linda – Thanks for sharing all of these great ways to use the Wikki Stix! I especially love the idea of highlighting landmark lines. I may have to go pick up another package now…. 🙂

  3. Love this idea! I think I’m am going to get some for myself. It think it would be good to also use to mark melodic idea’s and theme’s.

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