So what is a dot and why is it next to a note that we know? This is the question that inevitably comes up in one way or another when you are using sheet music. So here is a quick fun way to have your kids construct their knowledge and figure out just what that dot means!

I set up the dotted Note Knacks like you see below with the dotted eighth at the top and the dotted whole at the bottom ~ with the dotted quarter and dotted half note in between. I then ask a series of questions:

~  Does anyone recognize these notes?

~ What is different about them? (they have a dot next to them)


I then put their counterpart notes on top of each like you see below and ask:

~ Which set of notes are longer?

~ How much longer? (Some classes will know right away and others will need to try out a note or 2 to figure out what fits.)


Finally we discover what notes fit and create the rule together. We end up with what you see below. Sometimes I will take the regular sixteenth and place it on top of the regular eighth (and do it for All of the regular notes) to help the kids see the rule ~ they all add half of the note value.

Now armed with this new knowledge, kids will start speculating how far they can take it! I had a group ask:

~ Can there be dotted sixteenths? What is half of a sixteenth?

~ Can a note have 2 dots??? What happens then???

When we allow our students to construct their knowledge, they feel a part of the learning process and this encourages them to get involved and ask questions ~ to push their thinking. It is this kind of enthusiasm that reminds us why we do what we do!