Monday, February 24, 2014

Second Grade Rhythmic Centers

Is anyone else a bit afraid of centers for the music room like I am? :) With only 25 minutes, so much could go wrong....

I've never given centers a serious try in the music room before, but there are too many good ideas floating around the internet not to try them and give my kids more small group interactions. I started off slow with my second graders and the half note. Now that they're done, I can definitely say that some of it was successful and some of it can be improved for next time. (Also, please note that I tried to take action pictures, but I'm not the greatest iPad photographer.)

Since I can tell this is going to be ridiculously long, I'll just list and describe my five centers (I see my kids twice a week for 25 minutes each, so I knew that was about all we could reasonably handle in two lessons) and I'll reflect on the process in another day or so.

Center 1: Bad Apple
This was my technology center. In my district, we have projectors that work with a wireless BenQ pen (or wireless mouse, which is my preference). Throughout the year, I make interactive PowerPoints that often utilize hyperlinking. This particular one involved a screen full of apples to click on. Some apples reveal a "juicy" rhythm to read...some apples reveal a worm that eats your turn! The kids love this one and were happy that they didn't have to wait so long for a turn being in small groups.

Center 2: Musical Marble Composing
I went to the dollar store and purchased a million of those large flat clear gems from the craft aisle. I then cut vinyl stickers with a craft die-cut machine (more on that someday) and stuck them on the back. The kids then composed their own 4, 8 or 16 beat rhythms using quarter, eighth, quarter rest and half notes.

Center 3: Recycle It!
Again, a major score at the dollar store. My husband and I spotted some great miniature trash bins, just like the ones you put out on the curb. I stuck labels over them to change them to recycling bins, printed some water bottle clipart and put some 8 beat rhythms on the back. The kids took turns picking up bottles to read them and put them in their trash can. HOWEVER....if they picked one up that said, "Recycling Day - Empty your Bin," they lost all their bottles. They were excited at the game aspect of this one!

Center 4: "I have....Who has...?"
This is a pretty standard activity in the Kodaly classroom. I like this one a lot because it is a reading and listening challenge in one. I did have to sit down and play with the kids and model quite a bit though. (We had not played this one as a whole group in class.) That gave me a chance to hear them reading a bit closer though, of course!

Center 5: Oh Fiddlesticks!
This idea came from the internet somewhere, though I can't remember where! Kids take turns drawing sticks from the cup and reading their stick. If they get the tricky Fiddlestick though, they lose all their sticks! (Did you know you can dye plain popsicle sticks with food coloring? Guess who has popsicle sticks of every shade all over her house now? It helps with sorting sets of different rhythmic categories and I can see possibly mixing them to easily differentiate between my higher and lower level rhythmic readers. Ex: Student A picks only pink sticks and Student B picks only green sticks.)

Does anyone use these games or activities in their classroom? If so, do you have ideas to extend them further?


  1. I am so proud of you for stepping out and highlighting what is working in your classroom. This is a great first post and I know a lot of music teachers will gain a great deal from your insight and sharing. Way to go, Kelly!!!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and reply. It means a lot to me! :)

  2. Yay!! I'm glad you finally did it! Awesome ideas! I'm going to share this blog with my fellow music teachers! :)