Thursday, April 19, 2012

GAME PLAN- an Orff Curriculum

GAME PLAN, published by KID SOUNDS in Las Vegas is an Orff Curriculum written by Delellis and Kriske.  Two Orff guys known all over the country for their fun ideas.  The have tons of Orff-centered ideas and publications out there and I use many of them.  Check out the link to their website at the bottom of the post.

When I was first teaching, the Game Plan books were a lifesaver.  They have a full year planned out for every grade K-5 for an hour a week.   Each grade has concepts to cover, activities, and the best part- Visuals and worksheets.  While I never just taught a lesson straight from the book, I did get A LOT of great ideas.

As I continued to teach, and start my Masters in Music Education with a Kodaly Emphasis, I realized that the books- as written- weren't quite as good as I thought they were.  Are they are GREAT resource still?- yes! I have listed the pros and cons for myself below.  I use these books all the time and have used the visuals in new ways as well.

*Many Folk songs with great orffestrations
*Great Dances that link up to the Rhythmically Moving Series
*Timed activities
*WONDERFUL visuals (posters, flashcards, etc) - printed as a HUGE book, or smaller ones sorted in a box
*Year Plans in the front of every book
*Worksheets in the back
*A list of Children's books and CDs that are used in the back
*Great listening activities for form, dynamics, etc. using
*Activities and songs kids LOVE
*Themed lessons for different times of the year with new game ideas for favorite old songs

*There is no 6th grade book- this is the grade I struggle with most! A book would be a big help!
*4th and 5th Grade focus on recorder.
         We do not teach recorder in my district (I wish we would) so a lot of the 4th and 5th grade books aren't as useful to me as they could be.  If your district teaches recorder, they would be awesome!
*Not too many great Transitions
         I did get a few ideas that I still use today, like So-La-Mi and stepping to different pulses, but often in their planned lessons, it doesn't feel like there is a flow.
*Sequencing feels a little off- they do not prepare concepts for very long and do not practice them much either.
         I end up picking and choosing songs and not necessarily using them for the grade intended
*Too much composed music
        Yes, there are Awesome folk songs and dances in these books, but there is also a lot of silly composed music by the authors that feels like they wrote it because they couldn't find a song for the concept.
*Most listening activities focus on the form, or timbre, and there are not too many that highlight a music literacy component. They are also mostly "Newer" Music.  (1950s and later)

Here is a link to the Kid Sounds website


  1. Emily, I totally agree with your pros and cons on the Game Plan series. It has been a lifesaver - but as you use it, you find what you love and hate and pick and choose. :)

    I think we should start teaching recorder. Honestly, it might be kind of cool to start it in the last grading period of 3rd grade (even though it's traditionally 4th) since so many of the kids are joining orchestra in fourth and needing to read notes on the treble staff. I traditionally teach the note names in fourth grade, but I could see bumping that up and introducing recorder as a great music reading tool. I know Julie S. is on board for recorder, too!

  2. Thanks for the review! My school is currently looking for a new music curriculum. We've been using an outdated curriculum and DEFINITELY need an upgrade. Is there a curriculum you could recommend? Or could you direct me to a site that has reviewed a bunch of them? Any help would be awesome!

    -Andrew Dongon

  3. I find your review very accurate as well. I have a Dalcroze emphasis in my Masters degree, and find some of the rhythmically moving sections underwhelming. It is extremely Orff based, though so I would expect a slight difference in the use of movement. You are spot on in your description of the silly songs that were placed in the book. I have replaced all of those songs with Kodaly songs (I am also Kodaly certified) in order have songs with higher musical quality. The visuals are amazing, but I find that Kinder and 1st materials aren't as challenging as I would prefer. So, I just end up using all of my Kodaly materials to supplement. Thanks for the input on this curriculum!

    1. Yes! I do the same thing. I use a lot of the visuals and actually have ended up supplementing my Kodaly Materials with a few songs, games, dances, and ideas from Game Plan. There are some gems in the books and I make sure to do those each year but I mostly just stick to the curriculum and year plans I made in my Kodaly Levels now updating them every year. Thanks for reading!