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Make It / Take It for Music Teachers

Last Winter I organized a Make It / Take It for the Kodaly Music Educators of Kansas.

I thought I would share with you what we did at this make it/ take it in case other districts, chapters, or groups of music teacher friends are interested in putting together their own "Make It / Take It".

We decided that we would make the following manipulatives/games at our workshop:

1) Solfege texting sticks
For this manipulative, each teacher got a set of Popsicle sticks and a pentatonic page of the texting tone ladders to cut out. We stuck them to the Popsicle sticks with rubber cement. It was a little sticky. Hot glue might work better, but glue along the top edges of the paper will help keep students from picking the paper off the sticks. Download a FREE template here.

(Photo credit: Jennifer Patterson)

A few ideas for using them:
-        Sing a known song on solfege and have students use finger to “text” the solfege as they sing
-        Sing a known song on words and have the students “text” the solfege
-        Sing do pentatonic melodic patterns and have students echo as they “text” the pattern
-        Sing melodic patterns on neutral syllable and have students respond with the solfege as they text. 

2) Foam rhythm cubes

Teachers got a set of 16 cubes. You can order them in bulk here. They could chose what rhythms to put on the sides. I really wanted a set for just ta, titi, ta rest, and takadimi (tika-tika, etc.), so I left two sides blank. Leaving those sides blank opens up the opportunity for student composing or improv if they can fill in their own rhythm on those empty beats. 

Ideas for use:
-        Students use the cubes in centers or small groups to find the rhythms of known songs (8 or 16 beats)
-        Compose new rhythm
-        Dictate 4 beat rhythm patterns
-     Compose or improvise new patterns on the blank cubes.

3) Sorted bags of colored transparent bingo chips to use on student high low charts or staves

There wasn't anything to make at this station, but a lot of teachers wanted these bingo chips to use on their high/low charts and staves. I have a high low chart, a staff without the clef, and a staff with the clef that is laminated for each student in my class. These chips are cool because although they are colored, they are transparent, so students can see the line going through the middle of them if it is supposed to be on a line and they fit between the lines perfectly for space notes. Each teacher got 250 chips and they could put however many they wanted in bags depending on their class sizes. You can order these chips in bulk here.

Ideas for use:
-        Use the chips to notate, dictate, or compose melodic patterns on student staff paper

4) Four Beat Heartbeat Charts

Teachers got 120 heart die cuts and 30 strips of paper that were cut/punched out ahead of time. They glued down the hearts four to a strip to create 4 beat heartbeat charts. 

Ideas for use:
-        Students may tap the beat to known folk songs or recorded music
-        Students use Popsicle sticks to dictate patterns on top of the heartbeats
-        Students use erasers, beads, etc. to show how many sounds they hear on each beat

5) I Have, Who Has game cards

I had a class set of "I Have, Who Has - Tika-tika" cards printed for KMEK members. If you want a ready to print set of cards, you can find them in my TpT store here (lots of different concepts are available), or you could create a rhythm list and create your own cards by handwriting them. If using my set with a big group of teachers, email me at for special pricing on additional licenses. The teachers who attended the workshop just had to cut them out and laminate them! 

Prep Work Before the Workshop

To prep for the make it / take it workshop, I spent a lot of time looking for ideas on Pinterest. I put together a Pinterest board with some ideas and let KMEK members comment in our Facebook group to say which manipulatives they would like for us to make. You can see the idea board here.
Once we decided what we were going to make, I ordered all of the materials. Some KMEK members helped in advance cutting out all of the heart die cuts cutting strips for the heart beat charts. Once we had enough materials for all of the participants, we sorted everything into bags for each teacher and I printed up a contents sheet with instructions and ideas for use for everything in the bag. Download the instructions page we used here and feel free to edit it for your own personal use!

Participants had to pre-register for the workshop so that we could anticipate how many sets of materials we would need to order. There was a lot of prep work that went into this workshop to make it a success, but it was a lot of fun, and our students got to have lots of new hands on manipulatives and games to use in music class as a result! It is always so much more fun to make these things with a group of friends than on your own, and you can benefit from buying in bulk if you are splitting the costs between several teachers.

Here are a few more photos of our make it / take it workshop:

If you have any questions about our make it/take it workshop or organizing your own, please do not hesitate to email me at


  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful idea! I hope I can gather a few friends and do something like this!

  2. Thank you very much for this wonderful idea! I hope I can collect a few friends and do something like this!
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  3. Your class of take it and make it is super amazing. A must to attend for all the music teachers. some of the tips you mentioned in your blog can probably cv specialists, so thank you.

  4. I love all the new creative ideas you brought to improve your class, goes on to show how great of a teacher are you. I hope your students learn a great deal from all these techniques.

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