There are endless songs and activities you can use to review rhythms in the elementary music classroom. It’s hard to make a decision when you have so many choices. In fact, that difficulty has a name; it’s called decision paralysis. You’ve probably experienced this when deciding what to order in the fast-food lane or which movie to watch at home. However, these decisions pale in comparison to the decisions you make in your classroom. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to avoid decision paralysis.
According to Behavioral Science in the 21st Century, one of these steps is to recognize that “perfection is not the key”. I alluded to this fact in a recent post. Trying to be the perfect music teacher is “an impossible goal that will only serve to make you feel horrible about yourself”.
Do your best to let go of that impossible goal. Then, use that leftover mental energy to choose one activity and start planning. Today, I’m going to share five resources that will help you avoid decision paralysis and help your students review rhythms in a fun and engaging way.
RHYTHM CHAIRS GAME
Chances are, you’ve heard me mention the rhythm chairs game before. That’s because kids love it, and it’s easy to customize for different grade levels. It’s a physically active game too, which gives students an outlet for their energy. The premise of the game is that students use their bodies to represent rhythms, while chairs represent the beat. You can read all my tips for playing this game with your own students HERE.
PASS THE PLATE RHYTHMS
I was inspired to create this game after reading an English-Language education blog. Consequently, this is also how I came up with the idea for singing phones. I find that English-Language lesson ideas can often be modified for the elementary music classroom. Pass the Plate Rhythms was originally a game designed to help students with sight words. You can use this same concept in music class to review rhythms. You can read all the details and and download the free accompanying worksheet HERE.
RHYTHMS WITH STICKERS
Using stickers is a great option If you’re looking to add a writing or composing element to your rhythm review. This idea was originally inspired by my Rhythm Monsters, but could be used with or without the Rhythm Monsters. Stickers provide a tactile way for students to review rhythms. Plus, what kid doesn’t love a good set of stickers? You can download free rhythm worksheets and read all the details HERE.
RHYTHMS WITH MANIPULATIVES
Target should thank elementary music teachers. We guarantee that that their dollar eraser packs will sell out every single time. These tiny erasers are great for melodic or rhythmic practice. Students simply arrange the erasers by the number of sounds on each beat. Then, they can speak or clap the rhythm they create. You could also work on dictation by having students “write out” the rhythm you clap. You can download a free worksheet and see more ideas for using manipulatives HERE.
THE BASICS OF RHYTHM
The Basics of Rhythm is the way to go if you’re looking for a no-prep way to review the concept of rhythm with your students. It’s an interactive PowerPoint presentation that has audio, video, and play-along recordings to help your students review rhythm. You can use it as part of whole-class instruction or as a station in your learning centers. It’s also perfect as a quick review at the beginning of the year. We all know how summer can wipe away students’ memories. The Basics of Rhythm helps keep students on track. You can read more about it HERE.