One struggle that all elementary music teachers seem to have in common, is learning students’ names. And the first year of teaching is always the hardest, because you have to learn hundreds of names all at once. When I taught, I usually had around 500 students, and I know of other teachers who have 700 (or more). As the years pass, you get to the point where you only have to learn all of the pre-k or kindergarten student names. However, it’s still a good idea to start the year with some name games to both learn new students’ names, and review the names of older students.
This song is great for young students (K-1), particularly if you like starting students on pitches so and mi. It works perfectly with a stuffed bee toy or hand puppet. You can also add in variations with voice choice, instruments, or body percussion. See the notation and learn more about this game HERE.
I think this song would work well for 1st or 2nd grade students. It’s great for teaching melodic contour, strong/weak beat, and student names. It requires kickballs that students will easily be able to pass to each other. Or, you can modify the game and have students simply dribble the balls in front of them. Either way, it’s one of those songs that you can return to later in the year to teach additional concepts. Learn more about the game and song HERE.
This call and response song works well for students in 2nd through 6th grade, though this largely depends on your unique classroom situation. You can use it to help you and your students learn names. Then later on, you can review the song and use it to discuss call and response form. Read more lesson ideas for this song HERE.
If you’ve already cycled through all your favorite name game songs, try modifying a beat passing game to serve the same purpose. Let’s take the song Al Citron as an example. It’s an advanced beat passing game and is a traditional Mexican folk song and game.
To modify this and turn it into a name game, pass out objects (such as empty pop cans) to each student. However, give one student a rhythm stick instead. Then, at the end of the song, the student with the stick calls out their name. You can have that student sit out to create another circle for the game, or simply continue on until all students have been named.
You can use this same approach with any of your favorite beat passing games.