Kelly Parrish recently asked me to review her 4-Beat Rhythm Blocks (Connected) and she was so generous! She sent me a class set of these blocks with quarter note, quarter rest, beamed eighth notes, and sixteenth notes.
Now, I work at a 1:1 school where every classroom (including mine) has a class set of iPads. We have tech out the wazoo and are expected to use it so I was skeptical about introducing a learning tool that was zero tech but, you know what, the kids loved them! I forget, with all the technology available, the simple pleasures of hands-on activities.
I used them with Kindergarten and First Grade. We didn’t use the sixteenth note sides of the blocks because that is a skill for a higher grade.
Kindergarten is working on a unit including steady beat, beat vs. rhythm, identifying a quarter note as ta, and beamed eighth notes as ti-ti. The rhythm blocks were perfect for practicing with them. I projected a rhythm on the board (using the techy-ness) and students reproduced the rhythm using their blocks. Then, we said the rhythm together and students tracked the rhythm on the beat. While some students were finishing reproducing the rhythm, the ones that finished were encouraged to practice the rhythm using their inner hearing (fitting in another standard).
Kindergarten Standards (TEKS) for this activity:
K.1.A: Identify the differences between the five voices including inner voice
K.1.E: Identify beat, rhythm using iconic representation (we advance to the first grade standard of using the standard notation 1.2.A)
First grade started the same activity but then extended it to composing 4-beat rhythmic patterns. We used the quarter note, beamed eighth notes and quarter rest as a review activity. Students are currently within a unit of melodic patterns of Sol-La-Mi but we review the rhythms of the songs as well as the melodic notation for each lesson. This was an excellent hands-on activity.
After reproducing patterns, students paired up to, first, compose a rhythm by themselves and perform it using their inner voice. Then, students quizzed their partner on their created rhythm and performed their partner’s rhythm in return. Usually, in Quiz-Quiz-Trade, students then switch rhythms but, instead, students swapped partners and created another rhythm to quiz their new partner on. Does that make any sense?
First Grade Standards (TEKS) for this activity:
1.2.A Read, write, and reproduce rhythmic patterns including quarter notes, quarter rests and paired eighth notes.
1.4A Create short, rhythmic patterns using known rhythms
Again, the kids LOVED the hands-on activity! In fact, here are some kid quotes:
“I like the blocks because they are fun and really math-y.”
“I like the blocks because we can make different rhythms and they are really fun.”
“You can change the rhythm.”
“I liked putting the notes in order.”
“I like the quarter rest.”
They are 6-7 years old. That’s my disclaimer after the fact.
Thanks Kelly for being so awesome and allowing me the opportunity to use these blocks with my students. It was definitely a success.
Thank you, readers, for reading my review and checking out Kelly’s store!