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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Bickle Bockle Social Distanced Modification

One of the songs I use to practice mi, sol, la and half notes with my 2nd graders is Bickle Bockle (also known as Ickle Ockle). My students always love it because of the game, and I love that they get a lot of practice repeating the song as they play, so they can internalize the rhythmic and pitch concepts. But this year with social distancing protocols in place at school, I realized I wouldn't be able to use it the same way. Here's my adaptation of the game so I can still use it!

I'm sure there are many versions of games you can play with this song, but the one I have used for years has players stand within a defined space, then walk around within the space on the steady beat while they sing the song. At the end of the song when they sing, "Just choose me", they face one other person. Whoever does not find a partner is out, and takes one other person out with them. As the number of players decrease, I usually make the space they can use smaller and smaller so they have less and less space to move in. If they touch someone else they're out!

This year with covid restrictions we can't get within 6ft of each other, and I can't have students move around the room freely. I also have students participating virtually through zoom, so they wouldn't be able to join in the original game either! So instead, I'm having the students walk in place while they sing the song. At the end of the song after they sing the last word "me", they hold up their choice of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 fingers on one hand. If at least one other person chooses the same number they did, they're in. If they are the only one with their number, they're out. It's fun because sometimes nobody gets out, and sometimes multiple people are out. And as the game goes on and there are fewer players, it becomes less and less likely that you'll choose the same number!

Of course the other modification I've had to make is to do it as a chant instead of a song, since we aren't allowed to sing in person. I can still practice half notes this way, but it doesn't allow student to practice solfege. So after we've played the game a few times, I'm having them walk on the beat and clap the rhythm of the words while they listen to a recording like this one, then I ask them to listen for the notes they hear on the line, "fishes in the sea" and identify the solfege that they hear.

It's not ideal but it's still fun and still gives students practice with both the rhythm and pitch concepts I want them to learn! One pro tip after playing it with my classes: it helps to tell them they have to choose a different number each time- they're not allowed to use the same number twice in a row. I found some students who matched numbers the first round quickly figured out they could keep doing the same number so they would keep matching! Making them switch prevented those silent alliances :) 

As we all adapt to this new way of teaching, I'm collecting my ideas related to covid teaching on this page- click the image below to see all my other lesson ideas and tips for teaching in these new conditions:


5 comments :

  1. Thank you!!! I am doing this today and had a different (and less fun) idea of how to adapt the game - love it!!!

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    1. Yay! Hope your classes enjoyed it, we've had a lot of fun with it in my classes :)

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  2. Also... any modifications you've tried with "Tideo?" I'm thinking just chanting it in place, doing the hands in the air, and then skipping around their desks? Thanks for all the updates and ideas you've shared!

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    1. I don't use this one until later in the year so I haven't thought about it yet, but I normally introduce the song with stationary motions anyway so I will probably just do those- I gradually add more and more motions to different words in the song and gradually speed up so it gets harder and harder to keep up :)

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  3. Loved your modification ideas for this song. My school is requiring that all music, technology, and library classes be virtual, to reduce the possibility of spreading the virus. The thought is that not having "special" teachers going into each classroom, keeps us all safer. Do you have any suggestions for this situation?
    We can't sing or play recorders. The delay caused by the internet makes clapping or chanting in rhythm next to impossible. I could surely use advice from anyone in this situation. Some of the classes also have distant learners at home, separated from their classmates.

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