Wednesday, May 1, 2013

12th Street Rag

As I have said before, I LOVE GamePlan.  While I don't use it exclusively to teach my kids, I do enjoy many of the lessons and games.  One I have used this year was from the 3rd Grade Book.  The lesson is playing rhythms along to 12th Street Rag (Rhythmically Moving 5).  My kids have always loved this and it was a great way to reinforce rhythm patterns, especially the whole rest.

This year when I taught the lesson, I added my own twist.

  • Review known notes and rests using people rhythms
  • Look at the form (Randy and Jeff have a nice visual for this in their curriculum.)
  • Review Intro, Interlude, Coda
  • Have a student perform the A section rhythm pattern.
  • Class echoes
  • Repeat with B, C, and D.
  • Perform along with recording of 12th Street Rag (clap patterns)                                              (After performing the first time through, I add my twist.)
  • Divide students up into 4 groups.
  • Assign each group a section of the piece.
  • Groups have 5-7 minutes to create a movement that can be performed using the rhythm from their section.
  • Have each group demonstrate movement.
  • Play music, each group performs during their section.
I have found that this twist on the lesson really helps the kids with playing the rhythms accurately.  They can create and discuss among themselves what works and why.  I find these more independent moments are when the light bulbs go off.  I wish I had video of the lesson in action!  It's interesting to see how the kids discuss and play with the idea of how to interpret a whole note with movement.  I hear them saying things like "What if we bounced our hand four times like this!"  "No, that's more like quarter notes."

Another addition I have made to this lesson is playing instruments.  I didn't include them this time but rhythm sticks are nice.  I like this instrument choice because it isn't a heavy sound, so you can still actually hear the recording and playing whole and half notes are accessible.  When students have one smooth and one bumpy stick, they can scrape the sound of the half/whole notes.  This gives them a feeling of how long the notes last.


  1. Thanks for this post! My district just bought this for all the schools, grades K-5. Very exciting!

    I am interested to hear what you like/don't like about the books. We are going to use them as our base curricular materials.

    Thanks, again!

    1. Hooray for an awesome district! Our district doesn't purchase resources in mass for special areas. I think it may have something to do with the fact that we have over 100 elementary schools!

      I love the lesson/game ideas, assessment pieces, and arrangements. I would say that the K stuff is my least favorite out of the books. Without having it in front of me I'm having a hard time pin pointing exactly what it is. I'll look at it next week and let you know. I think the hardest part for me was picking and choosing ideas because there was no way to do it all in the limited amount of time I have with my students. I only see them once every 7 days for 45 minutes, so time is limited.

      Is your district purchasing the gameboards and manipulatives package to go with each grade level book? My principal at the time could only purchase the books for me out of our school curriculum budget, so that meant I had to make anything I wanted to use with my students. While the first year was rough, I'm glad things turned out this way. I spent a lot of nights making last minute files, rhythm cards, etc. but now I have them and they are mine. So, if for any reason I ever have to move schools, I can take them with me.


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