Trace Callaghan
EDTE-229B/Arts Methods
Cooperating Teacher: Bonnie Slinkard

Learners' Grade Level: 2nd
Lesson Subjects: Music, Dance, P.E.
Planned Lesson Duration: 40 min.

LESSON TOPIC: Rhythm Sticks

RATIONALE: Music and dance appreciation are important to the education of children to help them appreciate the cultures that make up our society. Rhythm sticks teach kids artistic perception of rhythm in music and how to move their bodies and tap their sticks to the rhythm of a particular song. This activity is also aerobic in nature and beneficial to child health.

1. Given two rhythm sticks and appropriate music, the student will be able to demonstrate artistic perception by listening, dancing and tapping their sticks together in rhythm with the music. 2. The student shall be introduced to the historical and cultural context of rhythm sticks and be shown how these instruments continue to be heard in some of today's contemporary music. 3. For physical education, the student will conduct an aerobic activity to exercise and condition the child's respiratory system.

STRATEGY: Whole class direct instruction.
New vocabulary: rhythm - a repeating pattern in music
clave [Klah-Vey] - African/Latin rhythm instrument

Introduction: Introduce two rhythm sticks to the class. Show the class how they are to be tapped together to make sound. Explain that when music is played, rhythm sticks are tapped together in time with the rhythm of the music.

In music, a pattern that repeats over and over again is called rhythm. Introduce historical and cultural context Rhythm sticks came to us in America from the people of Africa. The Africans called their rhythm sticks "clave" [ Klah-Vey]. When the African people went to Latin America, they brought their music with them. You may also hear rhythm sticks or clave instruments in Latin music or songs that people call "Salsa".

Activity Sequence:
(Teacher note - do not pass out the rhythm sticks until you have made clear what your expectations are regarding use of the rhythm sticks. If a student does not use his/her sticks properly, an appropriate consequence might be to take them away for a short period of time).

1. At this point, only you have rhythm sticks. While tapping your sticks together normally (in front of your body), ask the class: "I'm tapping my rhythm sticks in front like this, can anyone think of different ways these rhythm sticks could be tapped together?" As children brainstorm answers, demonstrate what they say. Possibilities include: Above your head, down low to the ground, behind your back, on one side or on the other, lift a leg and tap under that leg, etc.

2. Before handing out the rhythm sticks to the class, model the singing and dancing activity by turning on the music and going through the steps of the routine. Show the class how to listen to the music to find out when to tap the sticks together. Emphasize you are tapping in time with the rhythm of the music. The music will also say how to tap, for example tap low, tap high, tap while turning around, etc. When the class has heard the rhythm a few times, encourage them to sing along. Obviously, you should practice all of this ahead of time before attempting it for the first time in front of the class.

3. Rewind the tape to the beginning of the song. Ask a helper to carry the tub of rhythm sticks around and have each student take two of the sticks as the helper comes by. When everyone has their rhythm sticks, together as a class go through the steps of the song and dance slowly without the music.

4. When everyone is ready, turn on the music and have fun!

Here is an example of a song composed especially for young children with rhythm sticks. On the left side is the narration of the song titled "Music, Music, Music" and on the right is the movement description.

Narration of Song (followed by Movement Description)

Our sticks tap high, our sticks tap low. (Tap sticks twice above your head then tap twice near the ground.)

We tap again and around we go. (Stand up,tap sticks once and turn around in place.)

We shake our hips and shake our sticks. (Shake hips, then shake sticks. [Variation: turn slowly in place as you shake sticks in the air.)

To music, music, music!

Our sticks tap high, our sticks tap low (Repeat as before)
We tap again and around we go.
We shake our hips and shake our sticks
To music, music, music!

Up, down, up, down (Kick one leg forward and tap sticks under raised knee)

Up, down, up, down (Return leg to floor and repeat - with same leg or opposite leg)

Up, down, up, down
Up, down, up, down
Front, front, back, back (Tap sticks twice in front,then twice behind your back.)

Front, front, back, back
Front, front, back, back
Front, front, back, back

Our sticks tap high, our sticks tap low (Repeat as before)
We tap again and around we go.
We shake our hips and shake our sticks
To music, music, music!

Kick, kick, kick, kick (Kick legs up alternately, as in a chorus line.)
Kick, kick, kick, kick (Tap sticks along with music. --Variation: Instead of tapping sticks together tap toe of raised foot with one stick.)

Kick, kick, kick, kick
Kick, kick, kick, kick

Our sticks tap high, our sticks tap low (Repeat as before)
We tap again and around we go.
We shake our hips and shake our sticks
To music, music, music!

CLEAN-UP: Clean-up for this activity is easy, simply ask your class helper to bring the tub around and instruct the class to put rhythm sticks in the tub as the helper comes by. Asks students if they had fun. Most will say yes and want to do it again in the future!

CLOSURE: For closure, see if you can find and play a contemporary song that uses the clave instrument. Possibilities include the following:

Songs categorized as "Salsa"
Songs by Carlos Santana (Black Magic Woman, Oye Como Va)
"Iko-Iko" by the Dixie Cups (Sound Track from the Movie Rainman)
"I Just Can't Wait To Be King" (Sound Track from Disney's The Lion King )

Most second graders have seen The Lion King video. If you have it, fast forward about 25 minutes from the very beginning of the tape (not the beginning of the movie) to get to the part where Simba sings the song "I Just Can't Wait To Be King". It's difficult to hear but you can just make out the clave in the background if you listen carefully.

As you and your class listen to the cassette player or the video tape, ask the children if they can remember how the clave is used in the music. The answer you're looking for is rhythm, and that's why we call our clave rhythm sticks.

EVALUATION: The artistic perception evaluation will be to observe the students during the activity and assess how well they are able to move to the rhythm of the music using their rhythm sticks. To evaluate historical and cultural context, observe the class while they listen to the contemporary music or video. Look for positive reactions or recognition of clave/rhythm sticks in the song. Assessment of aerobic activity takes place by observing continuous movement of the children for at least 20 minutes in order to be most effective.

One plastic tub to hold the rhythm sticks
Rhythm sticks - can be made from inexpensive PVC pipe cut into one foot sections (one inch diameter). You need two sticks per person.
One video tape of Disney'sThe Lion King (or another sample of clave music)
One audio cassette tape player or CD player
One audio cassette tape or CD of rhythm stick songs (see below)

Cassette titled "Simplified Rhythm Stick Activities", Kimbo Educational, 1976, by Barbara Johnson. (See information below.)

You may find some rhythm stick music at local teacher supply stores or order directly from:
Kimbo Educational
P.O. Box 477
Long Branch, NJ 07740
phone 1-800-631-2187
fax 732-870-3340

I found the following cassettes/CD's in the Kimbo catalog. Use the product number when placing an order and check the title and recommended age.