Tic-tac-toe as a teaching game
Found in: Arrangements & Variations
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
As I was just responding to a post about shared lessons and talking about tic-tac-toe, I had another idea for getting more out of that game to solidify playing-based tools.
If you are not familiar with how I’ve used the game: I use it sometimes after teaching a new section, usually arrangements or something else that students are challenged by. Draw a tic-tac-toe board and have students round robin the new section. Tell them you are looking for 100% accuracy (except rhythm) so they will need to think before playing. If they play 100% correct, they get to place an X. Any mistakes, you place an O. Watch ‘controlling the events’ magically happen. Ba careful about very sensitive students.
Since the students are working as a team, it would be great to allow them to ‘coach’ the playing student but ONLY with words – no touching or pointing to fingers/keys. That would help them process the clues and learn how to be succinct in doing so with your coaching (kids tend to be extremely verbose in explanations). And they would be using a strategy while doing it (speaking instructions aloud).
Here’s a simple example using Night Storm #1 (accompaniment arrangement) –
* Student A plays the first chord perfectly, then incorrectly moves thumb down to next white note
* B says “No, your thumb doesn’t go that far, it just only goes down to the black note in the middle”
* You say, “anyone remember how I described that in 2 words?’
* Someone says “thumb zigzags!”
Then reinforce it with every student who sits down to play. After each one plays the first chord, you say “What do we do here?” and they all say, every time, “thumb zigzags!”. It really helps to give students something to ‘take home’ for arrangements – short phrases they can remember and repeat.