Shhh! Don't tell. I might be a hoarder. A crazy, crafty, fun-loving, what-the-heck-is-she-gonna-do-with-that hoarder. Really, it is something I inherited from my mom. She saved all sorts of things and sometimes even used them. She must have got it from her mom too. One time I needed some empty milk jugs for a VBS project. I went to my Aunt Marsha. She had almost FIFTY. LOL. Handy!
For a while I collected bottle caps. Bottle caps from 2 liter bottles, water bottles and 20 ounce soda bottles work best. I was amazed at how many I had saved on my own and was overwhelmed when I put out a request to parents and the bottle caps started rolling in.
I tossed them in some soapy, hot water and let them dry on a towel. I knew that if I was interested in playing with the bottle caps (stacking them, sliding them, making patterns) that my students would be too.
Here's what I do with them:
Kindergarten: Distinguish between line notes and space notes. Notes that move up, down and stay the same.
1st Grade: Review what we've done in Kindergarten and experiment with step, skip and same. Towards the end of the year we learn C, D, E with Mr. Everybody and I hope to use the bottle cap staves to "compose" with those notes this year.
2nd Grade: Melodic dictation. Easy melodic dictation that moves by steps and repeats. We also use it as we learn CDEFG with Mr. Everybody.
3rd-4th Grades: During the end of 3rd grade and most all of 4th grade we learn the names of all the treble clef staff pitches including a few notes above and below the staff. We use them to review the names. I'll say "Everyone put a bottle cap on C." Walking through the room, I am able to see who knows it and who doesn't. In 4th grade we spell words with the pitches of the treble clef.
5th-6th Grades : Usually we just use this activity for review, but with some groups it FEELS a lot like starting over. We will play games that help students find pitch names, spell words, notate ostinatos for Orff instruments and more.
I would really like to do more with melodic dictation and hope to use the bottle cap staves when I introduce new solfege. Please share your ideas for bottle cap notation in the comments.
You can get the bottle cap staff set here.