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Singing Rocks

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!
Introducing Singing Rocks!  You may have seen these around the teaching world called "story stones".  Essentially these are rocks that you can use to teach storytelling, practice opera singing or explore improvisation.  In this post I'll walk you through how to make them even if you have ZERO artistic skills and we'll explore some ways that you can use them in your classroom or at home with your children.

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!
 This is the collection that my daughter and I made.  It contains enough characters, animals, places and icons for many known stories and a limitless number of improvised stories and songs.

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!
You'll need some smooth rocks (any color) that are an 1-3 inches big on at least one side.  I purchased smooth tiger rocks from the craft section at Wal-Mart.  They also had some great river rocks, but at my local store they only came in a very large bag.  You could also collect your own rocks from the river or maybe even your own yard.  Make sure they are clean and dry.

For this project I chose to use Mod Podge.  I love Mod Podge almost as much as I love my laminator and you know I LOVE my laminator.  Anyway...where was I?  Oh! Yeah...Mod Podge.  Awesome.  Get some.  You'll also need a small foam brush or two.

If you are not a fan of Mod Podge, you can use Elmer's School Glue and just water it down a little bit.  You'll need to allow a bit of extra drying time with the glue.

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!

Next, decide what pictures you'd like to have on your rocks.  I would love to tell you that I measured each rock and then sized my clipart to fit it perfectly, but...uhm...no.   I chose to walk on the wild side and just sized them small and then found a rock that would match them later. 

I don't have downloadable sheets for the characters as they are essentially just clipart in a document and that would violate the terms of use of any clipart artist.  Instead, let me refer you to the amazing Educlips store to purchase some of her AMAZING clipart!  Most of the images you see above are from her creative mind.

If you are artistic you could use paint pens and/or permanent markers to create your Singing Rocks.

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!

Now it's time to get busy!  Cut out each of the images.  I chose to leave a thin white border on most of them, but you can trim them as close as you have the patience to do so.

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!
After you have selected a rock to match your cut out image, liberally apply the Mod Podge.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  You'll smooth it out later.  The rocks are usually not perfectly smooth so some adhesive may pool up here and there a bit.  No worries.  It will dry clear.

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!
Next, lay your character on the rock and smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles with your brush.  I used my fingers, but remember?  I was totally walking on the wild side.  I was also working with a 4 year old and her standards are much lower than professional crafters.  

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!

Next, cover the cut out with more Mod Podge or your glue mixture.  Smooth out any additional bubbles or wrinkles and them set it aside to dry.  After it dries, if you notice any edges that stick up or might be easy for a bored child to peel up, add another layer of Mod Podge and let it dry again.

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!

What to Do with Your New Singing Rocks

My daughter is a singer.  She sings constantly.  She wakes up singing.  She implores us to let her spend the night at grandma's house in song.  She sings when she's hungry or bored or happy and she even sings when she's sad.  *cue Daniel Tiger's "It's Okay to Feel Sad"*  She also loves to make up stories  to pass the time in the car or a rainy afternoon.  So what do we use these rocks for?  OPERA!

Don't panic at the mention of the word "opera".  I can promise you that this kind of opera is easy to love!  When most adults think of the word "opera" they picture something like this:

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!

An opera is just a play that is sung instead of spoken.  It is ridiculously fun to make an ordinary story into an opera by singing it!  It doesn't have to rhyme.  It doesn't have to have a memorable melody (although most kids tend to find one they like).  Just sing!

With students I use a book like Chalk or Tuba Lessons.  These books have no words or very few words.  Students sing what they think is happening on each page.  I usually sing the story for a few pages and then ask students to sing about what happens next.  Even my grumpy 6th graders have loved this activity.

With Singing Rocks, the idea is the same.  Put the rocks in a bag or box that isn't easy to see into.  I've found that an empty tissue box works great for this!  Pull out a rock and start singing something about what you see on the rock.  Then, the next person pulls out a rock and continues the story by singing about what is on their rock.  Once your students have done this activity with you leading it, they can easily use Singing Rocks at a workstation.

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!

In my collection, I've included several places that our characters could visit:  pond/lake, school, home, a tower, a castle, etc..  I've also included some icons like a moon, sun, heart and rainbow that could be used to represent emotions or actual events in a story.

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!

Do you recognize these characters?  These are the characters from Peter and the Wolf.  I think a set of these rocks in little plastic bags would be so much fun to use when listening to the story of Peter and Wolf.  Use them to have students identify the characters that they hear.  For practical purposes, I would probably make a set for my classroom for about half of the group and then have them share.  

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!

Who is this grand old lady?  Well she could be the grandmother from Little Red Riding Hood, or my aunt who came back from Timbuktu in "My Aunt Came Back" or quite possibly the little old lady who swallowed a fly.

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!
I know this is going to sound crazy, but instead of singing stories, students could actually just tell stories.  I know.  Crazy, right?  Why talk when you could just sing?  Imagine the countless number of adventures that these characters could go on!  With a couple of additions, this set could be used for Carnival of the Animals.

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!
Retell the story of Little Red Riding Hood with these stones.

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!
Create a new adventure for this poor princess that has been trapped in a tower all of her life.  Explore the mysterious ocean with the Singing Rocks below.

How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!

So what can you do with Singing Rocks?

Improvise a story with the whole class by having one student start and then passing the Singing Rock bag to the next student and so on.
Reinforce the idea of opera by having students sing whatever comes to mind when they see the songs.
Practice syllable identification or note values by having students chart which pictures have 1, 2 or 3 syllables.  In music class have them chart which rocks match a quarter note, barred eighths or another pattern.
Tell a story and then have your kids write their story down using the Singing Rocks to guide them.  If you are working with a pre-reader (like my daughter) be their scribe and write it down for them.  Afterwards, have them illustrate their story.


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How to Make and Use Singing Rocks (also known as story stones) by Tracy King  An easy DIY tutorial for making singing rocks or story stones to teach storytelling, sequencing, improvisation and even OPERA!  Great for many themes including: fairy tales, Bible stories, camping, outer space, ocean, Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals and more.  No paint pens or Sharpies are needed for this great teacher craft!

What kind of projects are you working on this summer?  Link them up below!


Last year I spent my summer posting crafty projects that you may enjoy for your classroom.  You can see those posts HERE.   Join me this summer!
1.  Grab the Summer Project Sundays picture above.
2.  Link to this blog post.  
3.  Add your link below.  
I can't wait to see your projects!





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5 comments:

  1. This is a great idea! One question (at least, the only one I have right now): did you just use regular copy paper to print your clip art, or did you use cardstock?

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    1. Thanks Pam! I used regular copy paper. It is much easier to mold to the rocks than card stock would be.

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    2. OK! Now to find some great river rocks!

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  2. Do the kids make up their own melody (like recitative) or do they use sol-mi, or a known melody? This is where I see the pitfall for my kids. "Sing it? Sing it how?" they will ask.

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  3. It depends. When using it with PK-1st I would just let them sing whatever they wanted. I model this (sometimes in goofy ways!) so they no that there is no wrong way to improvise. I have said "Sometimes it might match a tune we already know and other times it might not."

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