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Monday Music Manipulatives

Welcome to another Monday Music Manipulatives Link Up! This time I am so excited that my friend, Mia, is going to be my guest blogger to share some of the great manipulatives that she uses in her music room. Mia went through all three Kodaly Levels with me at Wichita State University, and we are both working on our Masters together. She is so passionate about teaching music and inspiring her students! I just know they adore her! If you want to link up and share some of your music manipulatives, feel free to join at the bottom of this post and please be sure to give Miss Nightingale a warm welcome to the blogging world! :)

Hello! My name is Mia Nightingale and I teach K-5 music in Wichita, Kansas. This month begins my 4th year teaching. I am blessed to have been hired right after student teaching at the school where I student taught. I completed my Kodaly certification just this last summer from Wichita State University along with Lindsay. My Kodaly teachers (Mrs. Jo, Lisa Simmelink, Susan and Royce Tevis, Gabor Viragh, and Shawn Chastain) are my biggest inspiration and I can undoubtedly say I am pretty much obsessed with each of them.

I am so excited and honored that Lindsay asked me to be her guest blogger! When she asked me to do my blog about some manipulatives I use in my classroom, my response was, “What if nearly all my manipulatives are your creations I bought on your TPT?!” Ha!! Even the ones I am going to talk about today are not my original ideas – I steal all my ideas from other fabulous Kodaly teachers! J

Today I am blogging about a couple manipulatives I used last week for 1st/2nd grade rhythmic and melodic dictation.
For rhythmic dictation: Each student had a plastic baggie with 12 colorful Popsicle sticks. I played 4 beat patterns with rhythm sticks this week using the rhythms ta titi and ta rest.  The students form the rhythms with the sticks.

The first time I ever do this, I do have them “figure out with me” how we can make the ta titi and ta rest (trickiest) with the sticks. It is important for me to mention that when I play the pattern, I say “beat, beat, ready here I go” or simply “beat, beat, beat, beat” and move my sticks from their left to right with each beat as I play for visual aid. By the way, you don’t have to just use popsicle sticks. I have also made a set of cut up colorful straws that I used this week, too, that work almost better than popsicle sticks because they are smaller and take up less room. 

( As you can see in the pictures, my students have assigned seats on the floor. My honor choir is the only group I ever use chairs with.)

For melodic dictation: I have laminated staff paper (lined on one side – blank on the back) and use small colorful “chips” that the students place on the staff. (I got these chips from the Instructional Support Center downtown).  I start with 4 chips each, and eventually will use up to 8 each. 

What I do not have pictured here is my smartboard where I have projected my own staff paper. I always do the first couple with them. Also on my staff paper that is being projected, I draw the do clef and sometimes change where do will be this time. I sing or play the melody being dictated. The first time we ever do melodic dictation, I sing in solfege the first couple of times. Then I use a glockenspiel to give them a visual aid. When I know they’re ready, I sing melody on “loo” or play at piano. Also, after a couple weeks of doing dictation with the colorful “chips”, I pass out dry erase markers and they can use those instead to draw their own noteheads and add stems. After everyone has marked their answer, they help me do mine that is being projected on the smartboard.

Trying to understand a young child’s handwriting / music notation writing skills can be quite the challenge.  I have found that using these manipulatives can give a clearer assessment of what the student understands and hears before having them write it down.  Feel free to comment below with any questions or suggestions you might have for me!

Mia Nightingale

"Teach music and singing at school in such a way that it is not a torture but a joy for the pupil; instill a thirst for finer music in him, a thirst which will last for a lifetime." --Zoltan Kodaly

How to link up
1. Write a blog post on your blog titled Monday Music Manipulatives. Include my Link Up picture with a link back to my blog
2. Add your link below so that other music teachers can find you!
3. Don't forget to pin to pinterest so people find it!


  1. Great post Mia & Lindsay! So, Mia, when are you starting your own blog? ;)

    1. Aw thanks Amy!! :) I've been wanting to for awhile.....I don't know how you and Lindsay have time to create all your awesome tpt items and blogs! One of these days I will at least blog too :)

  2. We are human being, so we are involved in social activates .In every part of world. The life of the man is full of emotion. So if we want to express our real emotion we have to love Music. Streaming of the music in every corner in the world has increased day by day. It does not be ignored that there is no man in the world who do not sing a song.