It’s the beginning of another school year and time to review, review, review! All those previous concepts must be reinforced before preparing new ones. I put a new spin on a game Lamar Robertson taught in Kodály training called Post Office. There are three free sets for download: quarter and eighth notes; quarter, eighth, and quarter rests; sixteenth notes, quarter, eighth, and quarter rest. The patterns in these sets come from familiar folk songs, so they should tie into your curriculum easily.
I prepare students for the activity by telling them there’s a secret code or message in each rhythm pattern and I’ll share it with them when they find the correct one.
Every child receives an identical envelope of 4-beat rhythms. They’re instructed to lay them on the floor in front of them with the meter/time signature on the left and stand when they’re done.
Here’s my sequence. I clap the pattern and they clap it back. Repeat. The third time I clap the pattern, they clap it and say the rhythm syllables to match. If the class is correct, I ask them to find the pattern and hold it at their foreheads. A quick visual check lets me know if they need help. When the class is correct, I tell them the secret and they put the rhythm in the envelope. After two-three patterns, ask the students to find the pattern on their own without saying the rhythm syllables aloud.
Examples of secret messages or codes: Count the number of quarter notes in this pattern. That’s how many dogs I have at home. Which beat has eighth notes? That’s how many people are absent today. How many beats are in this pattern? That’s how many games we’ll play today, etc.
I copied my post office rhythm sets on card stock and didn’t need to laminate them. Feel free to change the game to suit your situation, and have fun!
What are your favorite ways to practice rhythm?