Last week I had a little fun with my younger students. I passed out rhythm sticks, and we created a “chain story” with sound effects. What is a chain story, you ask? According to Wiktionary, it is “A story, each section of which is written by a different author picking up where the previous one left off”. As each student contributed their idea, the story got sillier and sillier!!

Rhythm sticks are not the most diverse instrument, but they worked for now, as it was an “on the fly” lesson. I had planned on doing something else, but I was standing in front of the kids and not really feeling it….so I switched on a dime. I do that from time to time.

Here’s the lesson:

  1. We started off experimenting with what sounds our sticks could make and how tempo and dynamics could create different effects. If a bunny or 2 were running through the forest, would that sound the same as a wolf sneaking up on them? (they had a forest theme going on for some reason). How would we play our instruments to illustrate that action?
  2. I started the story with one sentence and created a sound effect to immediately follow. Then everyone joined in.
  3. I pointed to a student and he needed to create a sentence to follow mine and create his own sound effect. We then all joined in with our sticks.
  4. The next student created a sentence and created his own sound effect so on….
  5. We ended up going around the room a few times until I asked one of the students to create a final sentence.

The kids had a great time and we were able to explore how to make different sounds with one instrument! I can’t wait to try this out with my other classes!!