Monday, November 5, 2012

Musical Monday: Using Handbells in the Classroom


As we have shared before there are many benefits of incorporating music and movement in quality instruction.  Music celebrates language and draws children into the natural rhythms found in language.  Have you considered using bells in your classroom.  They are a well suited choice for classroom musical instruction, appropriate for teaching even the youngest of students who can learn to read music using a color coded key.
Interested in reading more about the benefits of music in the classroom, one article I reviewed explained just how playing the handbells encourages reading.  
Consider setting up an extra curricular event, recess club, or after school program to teach bell playing to elementary students.  The participation will enhance their educational experience and develop their confidence in performance and team work.  There are many online sources for color coded handbell musical cards as well as curriculum appropriate for children who are not yet reading independently.
As part of your classroom management use bells to create transitional, and refocusing, signals using different tones to direct different responses.
While practicing rhyming words and word families choose different tones to tap along with the words.
Use bells to practice "count-bys."  Perhaps you will choose to use the C note for all the count by 2's playing the note for each number you recite, D for count by 3's, etc.
During center activities allow students to create tunes to accompany nursery rhymes, poems, and short stories they are able to read on their own.  
Include the bells in classroom readers' theatre productions to encourage participation from students who are strong in the musical/rhythmic intelligence. 
Use bells to create tunes for familiar nursery rhymes
How do you use music to enhance instruction? Do you have a set of bells in your classroom?
The  bells pictured here today are from B. Toys.  The Piccolo Carousel Bells are a particularly great option because they are made of real metal covered in attractive colors making their tone beautiful too.   Using the mallet students can produce accurate and clear notes.  The carousel spins in the table top base provided or can be taken out of the base for hand held play.  This bell set comes with 7 practice songs and an optional pdf link for more color coded music to try.   
The recommended age for the Piccolo Carousel Bells is 3 to 13, although I have found lesson plans and research for the value of using bells in instruction even with high school students. One lesson in particular, from Teacher Vision, uses hand bells to improve expression and accuracy in music education. 
Disclosure: I was given a sample of this B.Toys product for the purpose of personal reviews.  B. Toys are a favorite of our family and I appreciate the opportunity to be able to experiment with them with my own little ones before presenting them to you with suggestions for classroom and home school use.  All opinion are my own and I have not been paid to mention particular features or provide specific links.  I am looking forward to sharing a couple of other Battat toys with you in time for your holiday shopping!

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