The Element of Surprise or "Awww man..."

In order to shake things up a little in class and make things a bit more interesting I tried something new this past week.  I had each student make up their own "step" which had to consist of 7 sounds with the counts 1 & 2 & 3 & 4.  Furthermore, it had to start on the right and end on the left and be repeatable.  Other than that they could do whatever they wanted with it and many did some really cool and creative things (after teaching over 20 years it's nice to see other people's creativity, especially students).  I gave them some time to work on it and get it down and helped a few kids that were stuck.  For those kids I simply tell them to make a sound, any sound.  If they stamp their feet (for instance), then I tell them to give me a number between 1-4.  If they pick 2, then I say "there's your first two sounds, stamp stamp, now make another sound and pick another number."  That usually gives them a start.

So once they get their "step" down I give them the bad news.  "Students, the "step" you've just created is actually a turn!"  Cue the "Aww man..." comments and the bulging eyes as they contemplate how in the world they are going to turn their "step."  Many need help with the mechanics of when to spot but they eventually figure it out and end up with their very own turn.

It's a fun exercise (at least for me) that throws a little element of surprise in there to keep them on their toes.  If any of my fellow tap teachers have cool surprises they spring on their students I'd love to know about them.

Rod Howell @


  1. Love it. I'm going to give that a try today in my classes!Your suggestions are always magnificent!
    Darcy in Phx, AZ


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Kids Love Games or Water is Wet

Prepping the Kids or Preventing Mutiny

25 Years of Doing it Wrong or I'm Still Learning