For the first week of school, my goal was for the activity to be familiar for the kids returning and simple enough for any newcomers. I also wanted it to be fun and unexpected! I created task cards for each group to help them be more independent ~ they worked really well in that kids could refer to them if they got stuck. (I wrote one for the first grade even though they may not be reading yet ~ they will be soon enough and it gave them yet another example of how print can be used in our everyday world!)

Here are 4 simple centers to start off the journey!

FIRST GRADE: Cut out different lengths of paper and glue onto larger paper in any order you would like.

We talked about long and short and then they went right to work. I could have set it up a bit better, but I liked the idea of having them not know where we were going…just yet. Next time we will get more into the nitty gritty and do lesson 2 of the NK lesson plans, but instead of using objects found around the room, we will use their examples.

SECOND GRADE: 1. Create a rhythm in the longest frame using at least 1 red. 2. Say the rhythm together. 3. Make as many rhythms as you can.

Kids had a great time with this! They were able to play around and see how many different combinations they could come up with!

THIRD/ FOURTH and FIFTH AND UP: Create as many rhythms as possible in 4/4 (or 3/4 for the older kids) using any combo you can clap out. First Beat quarter make up the rest.

For the older kids I added an incentive ~ the small group that comes up with the most combos will win a prize. A couple of the groups worked systematically while others worked randomly. It was interesting to see how kids approached the task! One group even found ALL of the combos within the parameters I set (no syncopation or dotted notes). They were very proud!

This week was a good test run to see where the kinks might be. I discovered that time is an issue…as always!! It reinforced the idea that there needs to be one class devoted to that mini-lesson that explains the centers before they actually go ahead and do it. I tried to do both for this first run, as the directions were simple, but the kids needed more guidance ~ I needed to check in more than I think I would have, had I taken more time to explain…..good to know!

If you have done centers and have found successful strategies, PLEASE share!!