Saturday, September 21, 2013

School Bus Rhythms: Games and Assessment

I just revised this very fun School Bus Rhythm set. It is honestly loved by my students but is a great way to get off and running very quickly at the beginning of the year or to do assessments midyear or helps students discover all that they have learned at the end of the year! 


Starting in first grade, our district music teachers teach the students certain rhythms each year.

In first grade, it is ta (quarter note) and ti-ti (two eighth notes) plus the quarter rest.  

In second grade, we add too (half note) and tiki-tiki (4 sixteenths).

In third grade, we add tum (dotted quarter note), ti ta ti (eighth, quarter note, and eighth note- syncopation) and tiki-ti (two sixteenth notes/eighth note) plus the opposite of that ti-tiki.

In fourth grade, we add tim-ki (dotted eighth/sixteenth note)

In 5th grade, we add 6/8 time to the time signatures they already know (2/4, 3/4, 4/4)

At the beginning of the year, as a review of rhythms from the previous year, I have made up a PDF plus powerpoint group set and corresponding individual school buses with rhythms to use as manipulatives for small groups, centers, or individuals.  The kids love it. I will also use these midyear for assessment and at the end of the year for review of what they learned throughout the year.

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Level 5 (6/8)


At first, I thought it wasn't necessary to make the physical school bus manipulatives, because the kids love the PDF's I display, which I use as a game where two students compete against each other. BUT after thinking about it, I realized that there are students who will never get up and compete because they don't like to get up in front of people. Also, if you really want to know if the students are understanding and reading the rhythms well, you have to do things in smaller groups.

So, I also use the manipulatives for each level (3 buses per level) in small groups, where I say a rhythm and they use a clipping clothes pin to hook onto the correct rhythm. They then have one member run up to stand in line. I check the first person to see if the group got the correct rhythm and have all three of them say it back to me. If it isn't correct, I go down the line to the second person, etc.


Our district is having us all work on learning targets this year. Read my post about it HERE. I am trying to do more assessments to be sure my students are understanding the posted learning targets. Although many of the kids love to play the competitive school bus rhythm game on the promethean, some kids don't like to get up in front of people and although it is a good review, it is not the best way to assess whether each individual student can read the identify or read the rhythms. So I am using my manipulatives as both a small group game (same as the promethean but in small groups of about 3 students) and as an assessment. While some students are playing the game (one reads a rhythm and the other two compete), I can go around to the small groups and have each student identify one rhythm that I say to them and then have them read other rhythms to me.

I just added exit tickets so you can give pretests to see what your students know, use as an exit ticket to have students check which rhythm they hear (levels 1, 2, and 3) or use the colored exit ticket (laminated) to have students write the rhythm they hear.

Get 5 different levels of individual manipulatives (3 in each set), group PDF and powerpoints, 2 different exit tickets (1 for 3 levels), plus png files of the buses to make your own smart board or promethean charts.  Get them HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment