My set of laminated rhythm cards is one of my most important resources. I use them in just about every kind of music lesson that I teach.
You can print them off here: http://www.kodaly.org.au/ Go to “Publications” and click on “Downloadable Resources”. I didn’t look at all their offerings but I’m definitely going back for further investigation as there seem to be some really useful ideas there.
Laminating the cards is a good idea to make them last for years and years.
This week, in my year 1 and 2 class, continuing with my theme of Pulse and Rhythm, I went through the basic cards again with the whole class, using the syllables “Doo” for crotchet, “Dooby” for a pair of quavers, and “Sh” for a crotchet rest. When that was secure, I chose several children to come up and play a card using a percussion instrument.
So far so good. I handed out instruments and cards to every child and they all practised their card. I’ve taken to using my samba whistle to give the signal for silence these days, so order was restored quickly, and we listened to each child in turn.
Then I called up two children. They played their cards one after each other in turn, as question and answer. I repeated this with several other pairs, until I could see that everyone seemed to have understood about taking turns like this. I paired off all the children, and scattered them round the hall to have their rhythmic conversations.
I am lucky enough to have several TAs working with me (it is a large class of over thirty children, including several with special needs and “issues”) so we were able to go round and listen to the groups. After we had been round once, I managed to galvanise the children to renewed interest and fresh excitement, by the simple suggestion that they could
swap the cards with their partner
turn the cards round, so they were upside down,
swap instruments with their partner
The message to me is that an activity will last much longer I expect, just by making very simple little changes. The children are fascinated by music and notation and are happy to explore the possibilities together, once they are given a little encouragement to experiment.
Next week we will be writing our own rhythms, ready to sticking into the “topic book” that goes home at the end of each term to show parents what the children have been doing in school. I know from past years that writing their own music will cause even more excitement among the children, especially if they can use coloured pencils!