April 1, 2011

Friday Fave - Homemade Rhythm Chart

In the manner of many other bloggers, I will be posting a favorite of mine on Fridays. It could be tech, music, or education related or even something "out-of-left-field" related.
Today I would like to share the rhythm chart I use almost daily in my classroom.

Homemade Rhythm Chart

This lovely, homemade rhythm chart has survived over 5 years of use in my classroom. The white board is simply a cardboard whiteboard/magnetic board you can buy from any school supply store.  I bought mine at The School Box store for around $35 (I have listed a more affordable option you can buy from Amazon.com at the end of this post).

Anyway, I then made a stencil and traced a Quarter Rest onto wide-width black electrical tape.  I cut them out and stuck them to the board in a 4x4 grid.  I chose 4x4 grid because so many poems, songs, and rhythm examples follow this common 4 measure, 4/4 meter form.

Next I bought sheets of white foam sheets for crafting, like Foamies Foam Sheets 12" X 18" - WHITE (Pack of 5) for $1.19 for a pack of 5.  You will probably need at least 2 packs, to make all the rhythms you want.  I cut the sheets into rectangles to cover up the number of rests I need for each rhythm: quarter note - 1, half note - 2, dotted half note - 3, whole note - 4.  Then I drew the rhythm symbol on one side using a black, permanent marker.

 On the back, I affixed magnet dots - you can buy these with the sticky adhesive on the back (like a sticker) at any office supply or craft store (you can even use old magnets you have laying around and hot glue them to the back).

Once you have all your rhythms cut, drawn, and magnetized, you're set for rhythm fun!
Ideas of how to use your board....
- introduce rhythms: it is very clear to see how many beats each rhythm is because students can visualize time spatially (a half note card is twice as long as a quarter note card)
- isolate certain rhythms: start with quarter notes and quarter rests, add rhythms as students are able
- create rhythm patterns for practice: give each student a card and have them choose where to place it
- notate rhythms from songs/poems/chants: our favorite is "Mama Caught a Flea" (I'll share the words and rhythm in a future post), but any simple chant/poem/simple song will use for rhythmic dictation
- write instrument patterns/ostinatos: assign each line of the chart an instrument and create a 4-part percussion ostinato to accompany a song/poem
- rhythmic dictation: teacher claps or plays a rhythm on recorder (I like recorder because you can sustain the longer note values, eg. whole note) and students dictate the rhythm on the chart

I am sure there are thousands more possibilities.  What can you think of?  How do you teach rhythm in your classroom?

Products for Completing this Project:


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