Everyone talks about setting up stations in elementary music classes, but some of the materials I’ve perused don’t seem to further a Kodály curriculum. Since I basically see my students once a week for 50 minutes, I have to be choosy about how we spend our class time. That brings us to the topic of this post – Kindergarten stations.
My kindergarten classes can keep a steady beat and we’re beginning to prepare long and short, or “the way the words go.” This is a tricky time, because they must learn to differentiate between beat and rhythm. Just like any melodic or rhythmic concept in upper grades, kindergarten students must demonstrate prior knowledge before working on kinesthetic, aural, or visual preparation of a new element. This week we practiced beat using beat stations. Each station incorporated a known beat activity.
My four stations included: beat charts, toy hammers, hand drums, and cardboard guitars. I placed the supplies for each station inside a hula-hoop and assigned students to a station. The groups picked up their supplies, I named a song, gave the cue “one, two, ready sing,” and the class performed the beat while singing the selection. Next, I called out the hula-hoop station colors and asked them to point to their next station. They transitioned, performed a different sixteen-beat song, and moved through all four stations practicing beat. On average, this activity took fewer than five minutes for all four stations and the students loved it! Here’s a quick shot of one of my classes enjoying their stations.