A toolkit for music practitioners
working with deaf students
Take and pass, what will I find? is a fun, engaging musical game designed to work on many different skills such as: rhythm, melody, coordination, laterality, visual-spatial skills, cooperation and language.
The game can include different types of objects, depending on what the teacher is exploring in the classroom. In the Toolkit video, we have used animals because during Sounding Out sessions we were working on the pronunciation of animal names with Year 3 students. However, teachers may choose to opt for small instruments, percussion, numbers, musical figures, cards with words/syllables etc.
Take and pass, what will I find? can be used to enhance categorisation skills: a process of organising and association which begins to develop in earliest infancy alongside other cognitive functions. It is fundamental for learning, storing and processing information.
With deaf students it can be useful to work on the categorisation of instruments into their various families (percussion, brass, woodwind etc.). However, you can also use semantic categories (e.g. farm animals or sea life), or phonological categories (e.g. things that start with the letter “f”, words that
The activity can be played on the floor or on a table/desk.
Multimodal and intermodal musical game:
• Sign language
• Body percussion
Step 1. Learn the Basic Movements From Left to Right
Learn the basic movement from left to right.
Working in unison.
The teacher says one-two or signs the numbers to
describe the movement from left to right.
The teacher then substitutes the words one-two with take and pass (if you’re signing the numbers continue doing that)
ONE - put your hand on the space in front of you.
TWO - move your hand to the right, in front of the friend next to you.
One = Take and
Two = Pass
WHAT WE OBSERVED
This exercise involves organised movements from left to right and it might be difficult for deaf children who struggle with visual-spatial tasks.
To support the children with these movements you can use different kinds of visual cues or teaching tactics:
• Start by working in lines, not in a circle, and sit in front of the group so they can mirror your moves (the teacher moves from right to left).
• Initially, put paper sheets on the floor where the objects will be so the children can practice moving an object.
• Once in the circle, sit on the left of the children that need support so they can copy your movement.
Step 2. Introduce the Song and the First Object
The teacher hides a number of objects behind their back.
Then, the teacher starts singing and moving according to the lyrics (signing if necessary) and introduces the first object at the end of the song, when the lyrics are: What will I find?
All the participants move and sing/sign the song,
according to the lyrics. At the end of the song, the
teacher will show one object and will say/sign its
name out loud.
Then, the object will be passed to each student in turn, so they can pronounce or sign its name.
WHAT WE OBSERVED
Children really like to inspect each object. During Sounding Out sessions they showed great creativity by making unique names to describe the object in detail. For example, a simple parrot became the red parrot with a long beak.*
Remember to write down the lyrics and make sure that everyone understands the meaning of the song.
*During this time remind the children that, during the activity, they will have just a short time to say/sign the names of the object so they need to choose just one word each. This can demonstrate the kind of perception of rhythm/time your students have developed.
Step 3. Introduce New Objects
Introduce a new object whenever the lyrics state Take and pass, until each person has
an item in front of them.
Each time the teacher introduces a new object the whole group stops, observes and names/signs it.
Playing in unison.
During the activity, the teacher should indicate to each child when it’s their time to name/sign their object, using clear gestures.
WHAT WE OBSERVED
Some children might take a long time to name their object once it is their turn. This may be because they haven’t internalised or understood the importance of rhythm to the game yet.
Take this opportunity to explain the concept of rhythm/pulse when playing music. You can use the example of ticking clock hands, and their constant movement to demonstrate this concept.
Help the children to keep the tempo by conducting with clear gestures.
Sing the song again and at the end, everyone says/signs the name of their object at the same time.
Play the game faster and faster.
Playing in unison.
Before repeating the song, make sure that every child has an object in front of them.
The teacher sets a particular category/theme for the game (e.g. percussion). It is played as before, until step 3b.
At the end of the last repetition of the song, once everyone has said/signed the name of their instruments, the students arrange themselves into smaller groups according to the kind of instruments they are holding.
Eventually, the teacher asks the students to play their instruments to check if the children are in the right family/group.
The teacher introduces 4 kinds of percussion
instruments during the game:
- 2 wooden instruments with different shapes
- 2 maracas with different colours
- 2 different drums
- 2 different metal instruments