Wednesday, November 7, 2012

People Rhythms

People Rhythms are one of my favorite ways to help kids with visualizing rhythm.  What I have found is kids have a really hard time understanding that eighth notes are 2 sounds on one beat and this, plus repeating the definition, really helps.

I have a stack of carpet squares that I picked up from a design center that was closing.  They were completely free and I use them all the time; sometimes for a friend who needs a defined space to stay within, other times for bass xylophone players to sit back on between songs.  There are many options but I always have a set of four at the front of the room for rhythm activities.

Recently, we used them to discover two sounds on a beat.  I play the rhythm of the words in a song that we are working on (this time Big Black Cats from First Grade Game Plan) and lead the kids in discovering the rhythm.  I allow students to come up and gently rearrange the rhythm until we have matched it to the song.  The kids love being a part of the people rhythm and reading people rhythms.

I have also used these carpet squares for carpet rhythms.


  1. What a wonderful visual representation of eighth notes!! My students have struggled a little with understanding how quarter and eighth notes.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Love this! I think this is a great visual representation for students, as well as an active learning strategy. We play rhythm chairs as well, so this would be a great pre-reading exercise and quick assessment!

    1. Thanks! My kiddos love doing this, they will sit so still to be chosen to be part of the rhythm. I was just thinking another spin on this would be to give them a rhythm card and have them write the rhythm on the beats. Would be great for discussion.


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