USES FOR SCARVES IN ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSES:
One common topic on the Music Teachers Chatboard is how to incorporate more movement into elementary Music class lessons.† Using scarves and ribbons is one way. Here are some ideas about how:
1) For younger kids, I would have them hold the scarf in one
corner and have them
wave the scarf around in time to a song. The song I started
them with was "The World is a Rainbow" (Greg & Steve). You
could also have them wave their scarf during opening in the
morning to an exercise song, for math-tell kids to move
their scarf in the shape of a circle, just give them free
style waving to a song to get them moving around, etc. For
a little older kids (2nd, 3rd, maybe 4th) have kids divide
into groups and have each group choose a song and make up
a "routine" using the scarves. (boys could do rap, rock, or
a marching song, or even a song from another country, etc if
they think using scarves is too "girlie.")
2) One of my favorite activities is to use scarves with Vivaldi's
"The Four Seasons", Spring, Allegro. I lead the movement, kids
follow. I use this with 1st and 2nd, as the boys don't think
scarves are sissy or girly at that age. (It might help that some
of my scarves are made of "cammie" patterned material and others
are slick grey or slick green - "boy colors".)
3) With my Pre-K's I started off with some of the
from the MoveIt! DVD from First Steps in Music. After I had
used a few of those I was able to start making up my own
expressive movements. Often we also show form with the
They also make excellent props for any kind of pretending.
4) Like many of you, I like to use scarves to spark my
imaginations. Using Saint-Saensí "Aquarium", they can pretend it
is a fish. I have several lessons that involve improvisation in
pentatonic on the xylophones. I'll have some play and some do
scarf movement. This activity can be varied during the school
year to pretend snowflakes, rain, leaves falling etc. Another
idea is to blow bubbles and they play and move until they see
the last one pop.
5) Okay wow! I'm getting so many good ideas from this thread. Well,
what I do is probably more "basic" -- teaching fast and slow --
using Braham's Hungarian Dance (from Share the Music 1st grade) --we
move the scarf fast and slow to the music.
I also use it to demonstrate and express melody line. In Musicplay
for K there is a great song called "Autumn Leaves" -- and there is a
"Falling Leaves" song in the 1st grade Silver Burdett. With both of
those, we listen to the song and show the melody line as our scarves
become the "leaves".
With the older kids, I have the "Kids Can Listen, Kids can Learn"
book and CD -- and there is the Carmina Burana song in there (can't
remember which movement) -- but Lynn Kleiner has some great ideas
for "choreography" with that song -- using scarves as well as other
And, I've done some "mirroring" with the scarves too. Just like
mirroring with a partner -- only the scarf becomes the "prop".
That's kind of fun -- and I"ll probably do it again!
Oh! And I saw a great use for "Nana, Thread Needle" -- where the
kids were in a line and held onto a scarf -- and then "wove"
themselves in and out like thread. It really looked neat! Plus,
then, they don't have to "hold hands" -- and that might make things
6) Adding to the use of scarves with "Aquarium"
from Carnival, we use
them first as fish all around the room, then as seaweed. My kids
stand in two lines and make a seaweed tunnel, then take turns
swimming through. It's worked with 2 year olds through 1st grade