Monday, March 13, 2017

Sixteenth Notes

I am part of a Facebook Group called "Music Ed Blogs".  We are a group of dedicated music teachers who blog regularly and love to share ideas and learn! 

As part of Music in Our Schools month, we are taking turns posting each day on one aspect of rhythm.  Today is my turn and I am so excited.
I teach Junior Kindergarten through Fourth Grade at an independent (private) school. Therefore, my upper grades are third and fourth. I am going to share some ways to teach sixteenth notes today!


So many ideas! 

The Orange or the Pizza?

Say what?  Yes, as sixteenth notes (and eighths, and triplets, etc.) are divisions of ONE, and subdivisions of the measure, which has already been divided into duple or triple meter.  With me so far?  Good.  Bring in an orange and a knife, or a pizza.. trust me, orange is easier and smells better; you want kids walking in saying "what a nice smell" instead of "ewww.. smells like stale pizza".
 Why an orange?  It is a beautiful sphere, almost a perfect circle, unlike apples or potatoes which can be weirdly shaped.  You want something round to represent a beat.  Once your class has learned a song with sixteenth notes and experienced it (in the Orff Approach, experience first, label later), seat your class and dramatically bring out your orange.  I slice mine on a music stand with paper towels underneath it.. very fancy.  I do this without talking- it's hysterical. Whip out the orange, dramatically approach it with the knife (as in ceremonial sacrifice) and plunge the knife in.. the kids love the drama. Then cut the orange in half.  Show each half, then put the orange back together and put pointer finger in the air to show "one".  Break it apart and find a visual in your room that shows eighth notes, run over and dramatically point to each note and then to each 1/2 of orange.  AHA! Eureka!  Connections are being made. Cut each half of orange in half again and voila! Sixteenth notes. Hopefully you have a visual somewhere in your classroom or have written/displayed it on whiteboard. Look around the room and shrug your shoulders. Show each quarter of orange and look around again.. they'll get it and someone will make the connection and woop, woop, what is that note called? 
This is where you quietly ask  if anyone knows the name of that note?  This is where I have the students turn and talk about what they just saw me do. Often their "kidspeak" during turn and talk is much better than my instructions and chatter. 
Following this, we will read the rhythms of a song experienced in class and quickly discover the notes we were singing in (example) "Chicken on a Fencepost" had three sets of sixteenth notes!  Then we sing more songs and experience playing and moving with sixteenth notes and then we are ready to create.  This sequence should not happen all in one lesson; it takes time.
One of my FAVORITE games to play with this is from another blogger, take a look at Tika Tika Tic Tac Toe!
And just in time for St. Patty's Day this Friday, remember, too, a four leaf clover is ONE weed/clover with FOUR leaves!


For more ideas, here is another post I recently wrote on sixteenth notes.
Happy Spring (Almost... almost... almost.. can't wait!)!

If you are looking for a (wonderful) list of songs with sixteenth notes, with links to free music, Beth's Notes has it all! Click Here!!


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