The Sight Reading Dragon

Sight reading is an important skill, but practicing it is inherently boring for most students. Anything to make it more interesting is a welcome relief. In Chinese culture, seeing a dragon is a sign of good luck, something that is definitely helpful when you are trying to sightread. So to celebrate Chinese New Year this week, we present the Sight Reading Dragon.

What You Need:

  • A paper Chinese dragon head.
  • Strips of different colored paper
  • Stapler
  • A selection of sight reading material.
    • I find that picking music that is two levels behind their current level usually works. For the students in the first level, I just use a different series, go back as far as I can in the book to the easier pieces and, if necessary, break it up into one measure at a time.

Setup:

  • Loop one strip of paper, staple it closed and staple, tape, or glue or glue it to the back of the dragon’s head. This is necessary to get the paper chain started.

How to Play:

  • This is a studio-wide game, it will not be complete until all students have had their lesson for the week.
  • For every measure or section the students correctly sight read, they earn one strip of paper to add to the paper chain.
  • The goal is to make our brightly colored dragon as long as possible. I’ll be leaving mine up for a week so that everyone can see how long it grew.

Variations

  • For some students, I made it more competitive. I told them what the highest number of strips earned was and challenged them to beat that number. I didn’t do this with everyone, for the obvious reason that as a competition it’s totally unfair. They didn’t all get the same amount of time, some of them are beginning readers, some of them had longer sight reading selections, etc. But for some kids, the desire to win kept them going.
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The Sight Reading Dragon for Chinese New Year

 

Christmas Gift (How to Drill Anything)

‘Tis the season. I used this for sight reading, but it could be used for pretty much anything.

What you need:

  • Cards for whatever you want to drill
  • A game piece (I used Christmas ornaments)
  • Dice
  • A box or basket filled with a Christmas gift
    • I used leftover Halloween candy because I’m desperate to get rid of it.
    • I typically don’t like giving out food. You could also use party favors, erasers, printable Christmas jokes, whatever.

Setup:

  • Put your flashcards face down in a circle around the box.

How to Play:

  • Place the game piece on any random flashcard. The student rolls the dice and moves the piece that many flashcards ahead.
  • Remove the flashcard the student lands on. They should play (or answer) that flashcard.
  • Roll again and repeat. Since you are steadily removing flashcards, the circle will get smaller and smaller.
  • The game ends when all the flashcards have been removed. The student can choose one gift out of the box as a reward.

 

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