Wednesday, January 30, 2013


In Kindergarten we sing solos during every music class and the fuzzy ball is one of my favorite tools for encouraging kids to sing.  After we sing our hello song, I sing the Question of the Day.  This rotation I am singing "Who is someone that you love?" using SM.  After singing the question I say think of one person and give me a thumbs up when you've got it.  (This step saves me from hearing a million answers shouted at me.)

I have these in several colors.  Oh My Gosh do they get 
excited when we use their favorite color fuzzy ball.

Once I see the majority of thumbs up, I randomly (well it's not completely random, I never start with a shy kid) toss the ball to a kid who sings their answer in a sentence.  I'm not specific about how the sentence is constructed because this gives the kids a chance to improvise.  When they are finished, they toss it back and I go on to the next kid.  The whole activity takes about 3-5 minutes.  I really love having them all sing a solo each time because I end up with more confident 1st, 2nd, ..... grade students.

I find that holding onto the ball is comforting to some kids.  They can squeeze it or stare at it to help give them a bit of extra courage.  I do have 2 little friends in Kindergarten that are Selective Mute and 3 in our school this year.  Here is a bit of the process I've gone through in working towards singing by themselves.

  • Our first solo is singing our name.  For kids who are shy or are unable to sing their name, the class will sing their name.
  • Usually our second solo is our favorite color.  I would have the child point to the color somewhere in the room.  Class sings the solo.
  • Once we get into favorite animal, candy, etc.  They can whisper in a friends ear.  The class sings the solo.
Next time, my friends are going to whisper in my ear (fingers crossed).  I have noticed it helps if I tell them ahead of time what I would like.  It seems to give them some time to process and prepare for the experience.  What I have noticed is now they are volunteering to lead in ways that don't use their voice, which is a big step.  The key is to be patient and take baby steps.


  1. Replies
    1. I ordered them from S and S Worldwide. Here is the link:

    2. I have students in Kindergarten - 2nd grade solo sing almost every day. (It becomes more improvisation as they get older, though.)

      Anyways, I like your ideas for the shy students. My only question is how long do you allow them in a picking stage and then the whispering to a friend stage, etc.

      I think the being patient and waiting for students to share on their own is the hardest part for me. Especially for students that just came to my district as 2nd graders. They don't have the experiences of Kindergarten and 1st grade to build their confidence. This is something that I'm really working on. Being patient...

      Another thing that works for me as far as solo singing is my echo phone. I have a big echo phone that I use for solo singing. Each student gets a turn to sing the echo part of a song or the response part of a song or a simple song for the class. When it is their turn they get to choose to sing with the microphone in front of the room, from their seat, or in the back of the room. If they choose the back of the room then all the kids have to continue to face forward while the child sings. I even allow them to sing with their back turned towards me if that helps them.

    3. I don't go through this process for my shy students, just for my Selective Mute children. (You can read more about this here: With my shy kids I give them about 30 seconds or so. If there is no response, I let them know that I am going to come back to them in a minute. That works 99% of the time because the child has time to hear more examples from other students. It can be a challenge to stay patient because we want to get to the rest of our lesson but it's worth the patience in Kindergarten to build confident singers.
      I find that I have a difficult time with kids coming from out of district. I often let them just listen during their first trip to my room and let them know that I want to hear their voice during our next class.

    4. Speaking of kids that just moved in from another district. Today I had 1st graders singing echo songs as solos. Each of the students get a turn like I described above. I had this new 1st grader (it was her first day in music class today!) and she seemed so shy. However, she volunteered to sing for the class, so I gave her a chance and she did a marvelous job.

      I also have a 1st grader that as a Kindergartener was super shy, but now as a 1st grader he sings solos in front of the class. I love that!

      I think it is easy for the Kindergarteners to kind of adjust to solo singing, but in my experience the 2nd grade is really a crucial time for solo singing. If they weren't built into it by 2nd grade they tend to not be open to it at all. Hence, when I have 2nd graders move into the district they have the hardest time with solo singing. Most will at least try it once they see all the other kids do it, but I do have a few stubborn ones.

    5. Don't you love those moments? I remember when one of my Kindergartners finally found his singing voice last year. He was so proud and the other kids even cheered and patted him on the back. I get a little teared up thinking about it.

      Those kids can be tough especially if they have come from a school with out a music program. I know I have been frustrated at times and I do agree with you it gets tougher the older the child is.


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