Saturday, October 3, 2015

Around the World - Treble Staff Game

My fourth graders traveled around the world this week. Okay, it's not what it sounds like. We didn't leave home, but we did have a passport to an entertaining way to practice identifying treble note letter names! Around the World is a game many teachers use to review, practice, and assess various skills, and I thought it would be a great way to make identifying notes exciting for the students.

I created a game using PowerPoint and tried out two versions of play with my students this week. They had a blast and begged for more when it was time to go.

Game Play

Version 1 - Basic Play

  • Class sits in a semi-circle.
  • Student 1 stands behind Student 2.
  • Teacher counts down 5-4-3-2-1 and changes slides to reveal a new pitch.
  • Student 1 and 2 compete to identify the letter name of the pitch displayed on the screen.
  •  The first person to call out the correct pitch name is the winner. If the first answer given is not correct, the other student wins the round.
  • Teacher changes slide to reveal the correct answer.
  • The winner moves on and stands behind Student 3.
  •  The other student sits in spot 2.
  •  Play continues with the winner moving forward and the other student sitting in the spot.
  • The winner of the game is the first person to make it around the world and back to his/her “home.”

Version 2 - All Play

  •  Class sits in a semi-circle, grouped in pairs. Each pair needs 1 set of A-B-C-D-E-F-G game pieces.
  • Students must work silently.
  • Students must place both hands on their knees as the teacher counts down 5-4-3-2-1 and changes the slide to display a new note.
  • Pairs of students compete to identify the letter name of the pitch displayed on the screen and pick up the correct letter piece. (Both students can pick up a piece if they select different answers.)
  • Students hold their pieces in the air to signal they are done.  (They should not let others see their choice.)
  • When each group is ready, the teacher changes slide to reveal the answer.
  • The winner moves left to the next set of pieces, while the other student remains in place.
  • If neither player selects the correct answer, they remain in place and the person moving toward their group gets to skip over to the next set.
  • The winner of the game is the first person to make it around the world and back “home.”
  • Gameplay may continue.

"All Play" Tips

During the "All Play" version, I put a chime tree in the center and let the students quickly step forward and play it to signal when they had made it around the circle.

The "All Play" version requires a set of game pieces for each pair of students. I wanted to use different colors for each letter, so I could sort sets easily if they got mixed up. The pieces can be made out of anything that is durable and can withstand students grabbing. I considered several options and decided to use poker chips that I found online in a rainbow of colors. I used a permanent marker to label them. They are heavy and the perfect size for students to pick up and hold in their fists without others seeing the color. Bottle caps would also work as durable game pieces.

I gave specific instructions about playing safely and fairly. An important rule for them to remember is to keep their hands on their knees until the note is displayed and it is time to pick up a piece.
There were a couple of instances when I had to have a play-off for one set of students for different reasons. Overall, students played nicely and enjoyed the competition. I have to absent next week, and I know what my 4th graders will be doing while I'm gone!


You can play this game by simply drawing notes on the board, but I loved the ease of having the PowerPoint presentation. The graphics also make it more festive. If you would like to purchase a PowerPoint version of the game, you can head over to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store that I just opened. Two versions are available: one with basic treble notes from line 1 to line 5 and another with extended treble notes ranging from middle C to G above the staff. There is a discount for a bundled set of both version available, as well. You can access the items below.

Happy travels!


  1. love the idea - why not color code the chips with the colors of bells/boomwackers - c=red, d=orange, e=yellow, f=green, g=teal, a=blue, b=purple - just a thought!

    1. Great idea! I don't use boomwhackers a lot, so I didn't even think about it. If you do use them, it makes perfect sense!

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