In second grade we figured out the rhythm to Shoo Fly. We clapped it both with saying the words and without. We then used NK Magnets to show our rhythm!

When we did this, we had to talk about syllables and that for every syllable, there needs to be a note ~ of course we did not get into the exceptions… 🙂 How many sounds do you hear for the first phrase? (Fly’s in the buttermilk, Shoo, Fly, Shoo). They immediately understood that each word was one syllable and therefore represented one note, but when we got to buttermilk, there needed to be some discussion. This, of course, is what I love about teaching! We talked about it being 1 word, but 3 syllables. We had to clap it in order to figure it out. Ahhhh….I could see the light bulbs go off!! ~ each syllable = one note. SO when we put a magnet under each syllable, it made sense…..and was reinforced when they wrote a note under each. We did the first phrase together, but I had them fill the rest out themselves. As you can see in the photo, the eighths are separated…blasphemy!!!

Now, before you freak out completely, know that the following week we will talk about how and WHY we bar them….and I will show them the written music.

I know some of you are still skeptical ~ how could I separate the sacred bond between 2 eighths or worse….4 sixteenths???

Simple. Think of how you learned how to read ~ each letter represented a sound. Teachers would never dream of teaching each word in its entirety; can you imagine having to learn a ton of sight words without ever learning how to figure out how to read for yourself? Although this isn’t the perfect analogy, it still holds merit. Kids must understand that a bar only joins sounds together, it doesn’t change the music. They must learn that one sound = one note. This helps them do that. When you take a closer look, this child wrote one note for Darling. Because I had them do it on their own, one of two things happened: 1. she saw that each phrase ended with a half note and decided that must be correct or 2. she didn’t clap it out, as it is one word, so it must be one note. For me, this further shows that we must teach that one single standing note needs to be under each syllable.

Also, why are we teaching them the short hand before the long hand? In math, common practice is to show 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 8 BEFORE they show them 2 x 4 = 8. Multiplication is the shorthand.

CRAZY, I know, but I encourage you to take this out for a spin…see what happens. You will be amazed at how much better your kids will understand notation.

Let me know what you’re thinking below!