Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

Snail, Snail Melodic Reading

Subject Area

Arts Education




Students will read iconic and traditional notation for So, Mi, and La melodies. Students will transfer iconic notation into traditional notation on a modified music staff.

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

    Arts Education (2017) Grade(s): 2 - Music


    Read and perform rhythmic and melodic patterns using iconic or standard notation.

    Unpacked Content



    • Eighth note, eighth rest, half note, half rest, whole note, whole rest
    • Strong/ weak beat — 2/4; 3/4 meter
    • Accelerando/ ritardando
    • Pitch Set: Do , Re, Mi, So, La
    • Five-line staff
    • Treble clef
    • Names of lines/ spaces (treble staff)
    • Melodic ostinati
    • Partner songs
    • AAB, AABA, Rondo
    • Verse/ Refrain
    • Orchestral instrument families
    • Piano (p), forte (f)
    • Crescendo/ decrescendo
    • Orchestral Music: programmatic
    • Indigenous music: Native American
    • American music: slave songs, colonial folk songs
    • Age-appropriate pitch matching (B3-D5)1
    • Mallet/ drumming technique: alternating hands

    Essential Questions

    EU: Analyzing creators' context and how they manipulate elements of music provides insight into their intent and informs performance.
    EQ: How does understanding the structure and context of musical works inform performance?

    Skills Examples

    • Perform age-appropriate music with attention to expressive markings indicated in the printed music.
    • Perform an improvised interlude to a known song, matching expression and rhythmic/melodic themes.
    Reading/ Writing
    • Identify expressive markings in printed music.
    • Identify meter marking in printed music.
    Responding/ Evaluating
    • Notate from dictation 8-beat rhythm patterns using standard notation.
    • Perform short melodic patterns from standard or iconic notation.

    Anchor Standards

    Anchor Standard 4: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    Students will:

    1.  read iconic melodic patterns using So, Mi, and La.

    2.  read traditional notation melodic patterns using So, Mi, and La.

    3.  perform melodic patterns while reading from a modified staff

    Activity Details

    1.  Echo sing melodic patterns using So, Mi, and La Curwen hand signs.

    2.  Review iconic melodic patterns using So, Mi, and La.

    3.  Echo sing "Snail, Snail" from PowerPoint.

    4.  Start with the "Melody" section of the PowerPoint.

    5.  Point to each snail as the class sings the song.

    6.  Identify which note is low - Mi, middle - So, and high - La.

    7.  Sing "Snail, Snail" on solfege syllables - Mi, So, and La using Curwen hand signs.

    8.  Transfer iconic notation to the staff.

    9.  Identify each melodic note on the correct line or space.

    10.  Sing the words while pointing to the notes on the staff.

    11.  Sing the solfege syllables and use hand signs while pointing to the notes on the staff.

    12.  Change the iconic notation to traditional notation.

    13.  Sing the solfege syllables and use hand signs while following along with traditional notation.

    14.  Sing the lyrics of "Snail, Snail".

    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    The teacher will use informal observation to listen for pitch accuracy while singing So, Mi, and La.

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    1.  Download PowerPoint https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Snail-Snail-Ta-TiTi-La-2458328.

    2.  Determine which slides you will use.

    • I skipped the rhythm part for this lesson but it can be included or used in a separate lesson.  I also skipped the new note slides because my students already know "la."  If yours do not, feel free to use the slides to identify "la."

    3.  Learn Curwen Hand Signs for Solfege if you are not familiar with them.

    4. The teacher will need a projector and computer.

    Digital Tools / Resources