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In this “delightfully fun” but challenging lesson, students “Step-Clap-Kick” quarter note/rest rhythms


Music, P.E. & Health  


3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  

Title – Step Clap Kick
By – Susie
Primary Subject – Music
Secondary Subjects – Health / Physical Education
Grade Level – 3rd-8th

Concept / Topic To Teach: Quarter note/rest rhythms

Standards Addressed: Reading/notating music

General Goal: Have students better understand quarter note/rest rhythms.

Specific Objectives: Students perform rhythms correctly.

Required Materials: Visual representation of quarter note/quarter rest rhythms.

Step-By-Step Procedures:

      1. Show students a simple 4-measure rhythm made up of quarter notes and quarter rests. (I use 4/4 time to start). Do NOT put the notes on the staff, but have some notes high with the stems down and some notes low with the stems up. (I put several on PowerPoint — if you want a copy, email me and I will send it to you.)

      2. To review, have the students simply clap the rhythm using silent hands apart for the rests.

      3. The next step is to have them clap high for high notes, clap low for the low notes, and still use silent hands apart for the rests. I vary the method of performing the rhythms and you can get student suggestions. One of the methods I use is say low or high for the notes and nod for the rests. After that, I have them sing a G for the high note and C for the low note (this interval makes it easy vocally), and nod for the rests.

    4. Explain that for each q-note with the stem going up, they will stomp (a low sound and visually low). For each q-note with the stem going down they will clap (a higher sound and visually higher than the stomp). For each q-rest they will kick (the kick is silent). They can actually practice this from a seated position, and I have them say what they are going to do before actually trying it. After students practice on their own, we try it together. The results are delightfully fun! It is quite challenging to get the coordination down and the students’ focus is incredible.

Extension: Students can create their own rhythms to perform for each other.

Assessment Based On Objectives: Observe the students. You can test knowledge with a worksheet of similar rhythms or have students clap/perform individually for you.

This activity can be done with other note values. Try a step/drag for a low half note and a 2-count hiss for the high half note. Snapping high or low for eighth notes, (or patting cheeks or legs for high and low). Some of my students paired up facing each other and slapped hands (high) and tapped shoes (for the rests) and stomped (for low notes). Let me know what your students (or you) come up with.

E-Mail Susie !

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