towards a level of trust within that community.  When placing students into small groups for Level 2 group building, I am more purposeful in choosing who belongs in each group.  I call them family groups and use those small family groups when participating all sorts of activities all year long.  I have the student group come up with their family name to use for the year.  Some small groups will click together right away while other groups have to work a little harder to become a “family”.  I will discuss how I go about selecting singers for Level 2 family groups in the next blog.

Placing your students into smaller groups can be done in various fashions.  Working at a Level 1 and mixing the kids up in random order is nothing more than just fun.  Here is a fun way to make that happen.

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! I will give you two examples of how to accomplish this grouping.

  1. This is an “oldie but a goodie”. The singers stand in a circle facing the middle.  You tell the singers that they are now going to line up in birth order by month and day only (not year).  The challenge – they must not verbalize/talk to each other or mouth the month or day.  Show them where the January birthdays will start in the circle.  If you need to give an example, ask the singers if they know an effective way to communicate without talking…no, that doesn’t mean using their cell phones, ha! J  The singers will usually be able to come up with ideas to non-verbalize their birthdate.  Don’t feel you have to give an example, just tell the students to “Go”!  Once the singers are all in place, check to see if they communicated effectively and are in the correct order.  Start with January and go around the circle with each singer saying his or her birthday.  It’s fun to see the singers discover someone has the same birthdate as they do.  Now you can combine birthday months to make small groups of about 8 – 10 singers.  I use this as a target number when making small groups.
  2. The singers will group themselves by birth month.  Explain that each month has a statement to go with the time of year and you will demonstrate each month’s statement.  It is their job to remember the statement for their birthday month.  When going through each month, add physical movement and verbalize each with enthusiasm (and drama).  I will attempt to explain to you what I’ve used for each month.  You are welcome to change any month’s statement or physical movement.

January – “Brrrrrrrr, it’s cold…” (wrapping arms around body and shivering)

February – “I Love You” (drawing a heart in the air in front of face)

March – “Top O the Morning” – (Touch the top of head as in a Leprechaun hat)

April – “Peep, Peep, Peep” – I usually explain, “There is nothing like a small little chick to signify the rebirth of spring.”  Then I put my thumbs in my armpits, squat, flap my wings and become a chicken – “peep, peep, peep,”etc.  You can make the chicken sound or say “Happy Easter”.

May – ♪ “School’s out for summer”… sing the Alice Cooper tune.

June – ♪ “Here Comes The Bride” …singing the tune that goes with this statement.

July – “Happy 4th of July” (Use both index fingers as “fireworks” shooting from body)

August – “Boy, it’s hot” (wipe the “sweat” from your forehead)

September – “Fall is coming, leaves are falling” (fingertip falling leaves)

October – “Boo”  (cover face with both hands and pop open your hands to say “Boo”

November – “Gobble, Gobble, Gobble” (mimic a turkey and same movement as April just standing tall…)

December – ♪ “O, Christmas Tree” (singing opening of song)

The singers now have to chant the statement that belongs to their birth     month and find fellow singers that are chanting the same. Encourage them to go “all out”, be loud and be crazy!  Have a video camera ready to go ‘cuz this is fun to watch.  After the groups have gathered, you can organize them into small groups for an activity any way you want.  Save the video for an end of rehearsal “blast from the past” to show your singers later in the year.  They will love it.

There are certainly many, many fun “getting to know you” activities out there so, by no means, is this the end of my sharing.  I plan to include many of these activities in the months to come.  YOU are invited to share as well on the CueWeb page.  What activity or activities do your singers enjoy participating in?