The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Notes Review by Jennifer Harrison

Nana-Pie, LLC
P.O. Box 42007
Baltimore, MD 21284

My boys are hands-on kind of guys. They each follow directions well enough, but the times they have walked away from a subject truly "owning" what they learned, were times that involved an activity or game that let them put their knowledge to work. Notes by Nana-pie does this for music.

Notes is a deck of cards that can be played like any other deck of cards; there are no special rules to learn for a new game. The faces of the cards differ from a regular deck in that players must count the beats represented on each card to find out what number the card is. And it is not just a matter of a whole note representing the "4" card. The cards also involve mathematical order of operations! Players must work out the math for "a quarter note plus two eighth notes plus two eighth notes times a half note (with the last two in parenthesis)" to find out that their card is the "4" card. Suits such as hearts, spades, etc. are represented by Strings, Brass, Woodwinds, and Percussion. These extra steps do require slowing down the game to think a bit, but not to the point of becoming tiring.

My boys knew their order of operations beforehand, but this was a good tool for reinforcement. My boys also knew how to count music before playing with Notes, but I noticed a marked improvement in their ability to count beats within just one game of I Declare War.

Definitely more fun than flashcards, these quality playing cards are a fun way to learn and reinforce math and music skills for students that have mastered basic addition and multiplication.

Product review by Jennifer Harrison, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2010