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Let’s face it– if you want elementary music students to be able to read and write music, then you need to have them read and write rhythms and melodies. It can feel boring to have them read and write notes on the staff, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking for an easy way to make this tedious task much more fun, then I suggest Write the Room. Write the room is a simple way to turn writing rhythms or reading and writing notes on the staff into an active, exciting activity…. While still having students read and write music.
Write the room is not only fun and active, but you can use it to test students’ ability to read and write notes on the staff… or have them practice writing rhythms.
In fact, write the room can be used with pretty much anything– rhythms, melodies, treble clef, vocabulary words, instruments of the orchestra, and more. If you have questions the students need to answer, then you can use them to write the room.
You can also use this as a center station. If you’re looking for come centers activities, then you can sign up here to get my FREE centers ideas PDF. It is multiple pages and gives you tons of ideas of activities sorted into categories like rhythm centers, solfege centers, treble clef centers, etc.
Benefits to Write the Room
First of all, why should we use write the room?
From the kids’ perspectives, write the room is great because it is fun and active. One of the most important things in my music room is to ensure that students are up and moving. Movement makes tasks more engaging, breaks up the class period, and it helps students to get their wiggles out (so that they will behave better!).
For the teachers’ perspectives, write the room is great because it makes reading and writing notes or answering questions much more exciting. Students are instantly more engaged, and it’s more fun. You can use this as an assessment, a practice, or an exit ticket. It helps you know what the students know. It can be used with literally any concept– rhythm, melody, vocabulary, treble clef, instruments of the orchestra, etc.
Plus, write the room is so easy to set up, so you don’t have to stress about doing a ton of upfront work on your end.
What is write the room?
Write the room is an active writing or question answering activity. You put flashcards or questions around the room with numbers. The students answer the questions or copy the flashcards onto a recording sheet matching the number of the question to the number on the recording sheet.
This allows students to get up and move around the room as they are answering questions, and makes it like a scavenger hunt.
How to set up write the room
Write the room has just a little bit of set up. You’ll need two things:
- Cards or questions
- Recording sheets
The cards or questions will vary depending on how you use write the room in your elementary music classroom. You can print out flashcards or questions. You will need to write numbers on the cards or print out the numbers and put them next to the cards.
For recording sheets, this is just a piece of paper with numbers on it so that they students know where to write. If you are using this for solfege or treble clef, you’ll also want staves on the paper.
In my Teachers Pay Teachers shop, I have many ready made sets (including this one for FREE!) with rhythm, melody, or instrument options. These include the flashcards and recording sheets. These are a little different, because they include pictures on the cards. This helps students have one more way to ensure they are writing the answer in the correct space– they can match the picture instead of the number.
How to do Write the Room
When we write the room, we always start with some sort of review of the concept first. Before we start, we will read the rhythms or melodies that we are going to practice. Sometimes this is inside of a song, sometimes with flashcards. If we are working with the staff in particular, I like to point out the common mistakes that I see so that students will remember them as they are going about the room.
Then it’s time to start writing:
- Put the cards around the room with numbers on them.
- Students get recording sheets (and clipboards!).
- Students walk around the room answering the questions on the cards while matching the numbers on the cards to the numbers on the recording sheets.
Yup, it’s that easy.
Also read: Best Games and Lessons to Teach Solfege
Different ways to write the room
As I mentioned, you can use write the room with anything, including:
- Rhythm: Have students copy rhythms
- Rhythm challenges: Have students figure out the rhythm of words, add up how many beats are on the card, make up their own rhythm, etc.
- Treble clef or solfege: Put notes on the staff up. Students can copy the notes or identify the notes. Or you can put the letters on the cards and have students put them onto the staff.
- Mystery songs: Put the notation for songs you’ve learned and have students guess what it is.
- Instruments: Have pictures of instruments and have students identify them or identify the instrument family that they are a part of.
- Vocabulary: Put the symbol and have students identify it. Or have students write the definition. Or put the definition and have students identify the vocabulary word.
Write the Room with Solfege
I like to use write the room with solfege patterns in particular. There are three different ways to write the room with solfege:
- Put the notes on the staff on the cards and have students copy them onto the recording sheet.
- Put the notes on the staff on the cards and have students identify the notes by writing sol, mi, la, etc. on their recording sheets.
- Put the solfa on the cards (sol la sol mi) and have students write the notes on the staff on their recording sheets.
This last version is my favorite, although all three versions are options with my solfege write the room activities. They include the cards and recording sheets to work with any of these options. And they are available for different seasons.
Having multiple classes
Since music teachers have multiple classes, it can get complicated to have too much stuff. It is even more complicated if you have more that one class writing the room each day.
When I only have one group writing the room in a week, I will tape the cards to the wall.
If I have more than one set of classes writing the room in a week, then I put the cards onto clip boards. Then, I put the clipboards around the room. At the end of the class, I’ll have a student pick up the clipboards and store them on the bookshelf. I can then put out the next set that I need (also on clip boards) while I explain how to do it. This is especially helpful, because the kids see where I am putting them.
Also read: How to Teach Rhythm
Make Your Own Write the Room
To make your own write the room set, you only need a few things.
First, you need the cards to put around the room. You can use flashcards, or you can print out questions from your computer. Make sure you put the numbers on the cards or you print out a set of number to put next to the cards.
Then you need the recording sheets. This can just be a page with boxes and numbers on it. You could also have students write the numbers on their paper, but I find it’s easier to have it already set up for them.
If you are using this for melody, then you’ll want to include staves on the recording sheets.
If you don’t want to make your own….
If you want this to be very simple, then you can purchase ready made sets from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I have sets for rhythm, melody, and instruments of the orchestra with more to come soon.
I also have a few different seasons, so you can use whatever’s applicable to you.
Plus, I made sure to pick different cards for the different seasons, so you can use the Spring and the Summer ones with the same students to practice different questions each time!
Have I convinced you yet? Write the room is such an easy way to make your elementary music lessons more fun– especially when reading and writing music.
If you use write the room, I’d love to hear about it! Send me a message on Instagram @beccasmusicroom or tag me in a picture so I can see your write the room in action!