Grade 1, Music Literacy Lesson 3

In the last lesson we worked on steady beat by having the students practice keeping the steady beat to Yankee Doodle, while I sang it, and then while they sang it while clapping the beat at the same time.

In this lesson we will continue practicing our steady beat with “Hickory Dickory Dock.” As with “Yankee Doodle” I use some kind if visual that I can point to in order to help them stay with the beat, whether it’s pictures of clocks in rows, or just beat lines.

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I have the students say the syllable “doo” each time I touch one of the beat lines. Next they say “doo” and clap each time I touch the beat lines. The third time, I tell them that they are in charge of the “doos” and claps while I sing Hickory Dickory Dock. Virtually all of them know the song,so the 4th time around they sing and clap at the same time. So far it’s the same thing we did with Yankee Doodle.

At this point I show them how to hold rhythm sticks at their shoulders when they are not playing. When I pass out the rhythm sticks they are expected to put them in the “sticks at rest” position against their shoulders and keep them that way until I tell them what to do next. Anyone who cannot do this will lose their sticks. It seems harsh, but it only takes one kid losing their sticks for them to understand that if they want to play, they have to follow directions. It makes things easier for the entire rest of the year.

On “The clock struck one” we tap our sticks one time. “The clock struck 2” – tap 2 times, using steady beat. “The clock struck 3” – tap 3 times. “The clock struck 4” tap 4 times, etc. We also count the taps as we play them, as this helps them to stay on the steady beat.

More steady beat practice, once I’ve collected the rhythm sticks: With students out of their seats and spread out around the  room,I ask them to copy whatever I do, keeping my steady beat as their own.   Using at least 4 beats at a time, sometimes 8 to 16, depending upon how well the kids are doing with it, we tap feet, nod heads up and down, shake heads back and forth, rock from one hip to the other, bend knees, move elbows up and down, knock knees together, clap with 2 fingers, touch our noses, stick tongues in and out, wave arms back and forth in the air, strum air guitar, jump up and down, (hard for them to stay with the beat), do the twist, shoulders up and down, eyebrows up and down, and anything else we can think of. Then we set it to music. “Bo-wo-wones” by Jim Valley is well worth the .99 you’ll spend for it on iTunes. (Remember that iTunes card I told you would come in handy? They’ll send you an email receipt for every piece of music you buy….keep it for tax purposes.) Put the song on, have the kids copy you, and let the steady beat motions rip. He tells you what to do on many of the verses motion wise, and you’ll easily figure out what to do on the rest.

There you have it….literacy lesson #3 for grade 1. Additional ideas anyone? Please feel free to comment!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Week 3 Sequence of Lessons « Tuesday Music
  2. CMCG
    Aug 10, 2012 @ 14:16:35

    You really are quite spectacular! Thanks for sharing these incredible lessons. I homeschool and can’t wait to start these lessons with my sons in the fall!


  3. Judy
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 23:52:34

    Thanks, Jane, for taking the time to continue to post here regularly!


  4. Paige W
    Sep 10, 2013 @ 01:35:24

    This is excellent! I just found your blog today. : ) -Paige


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