With online synchronous lessons still the only option for many music teachers, myself included, I decided to adapt some of my favorite fall and Halloween music games for our new digital classroom. Below are some well-known Halloween games designed specifically for synchronous lessons, and tested with my own students!
Before I start this game, we practice turning our cameras off and on together. It helps to have a visual cue – I use a plushy pumpkin. Before singing, cameras and mics should be off. I sing the song, and at the end of the song, the students turn their cameras on and pretend they are a jack-o-lantern face. I tell the kids to pick a face they haven't done yet (silly, scary, sad, happy, etc) with each repetition.
Let's Hide the Pumpkin
Choose one student to be the "Finder," that student closes their eyes. Write the name of another student who will "have the pumpkin." Cameras remain on, but the only mics that are allowed on are the Finder and the student with the pumpkin. With the Finder's eyes still closed, sing the first part of the song, with the student who has the pumpkin singing the second part, then immediately muting their microphone. The Finder has 3 tries to figure out who has the pumpkin.
Skin and Bones
This is a fall favorite for just about every grade. Invite the students to turn off their lights if they would like, and you may turn yours off as well. All students' microphones should be muted, but invite the students to sing the Ooo part with you as you sing. They won't be able to hear the other students, but they love singing this song and will enjoy being a part of it!
El Reloj de la Calavera
This is a great game for upper grades – and it's in Spanish! With students' mics muted, invite the students to say the "Tumba ta-tumba, tumba tumba tumba" part with you and act out the motions. Bonus points if you play the rhythm on a drum with the lights off!
Step Skip Leap Repeat
Obligatory shameless plug... If you want an interactive game to play synchronously, in the classroom (no singing necessary!), or in centers on tablets, check out my Halloween Step Skip Leap Repeat game. I've played it with my students synchronously multiple times and they love it!
My name is Nick Dolan, and I'm an elementary music teacher and choir director. I'm here to talk about teaching music!