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Pool noodle rhythms

Today I'm once again linking up with Tracy King/ The Bulletin Board Lady at mrskingrocks.blogspot.com to write about a summer project: pool noodle rhythms!

Pool noodle rhythms: A great way to have students write and compose rhythms!

My summer project is actually inspired by the one and only Tracy King! I found this awesome blog post about pool noodle rhythms on her blog and decided I had to try it out.  There are so many reasons I think her idea is fabulous, but to list a few:
  • It's a GREAT activity for those tactile learners!
  • It's a wonderful way to show length of rhythms.
  • It's a great way to practice meter/ time signature.
  • It's a brilliant way to do group work AND composition at the same time!

So I set off to Meijer and bought four pool noodles (and a couple more for our new pool, because hey, you can never have enough pool noodles!) and gathered up some other assorted items, shown above.

My thinking is that I would do them for ta, ti-ti, quarter rest, tika-tika, and half note, and that I'd make enough for four groups (so if I have 24 kids in a  class, 6 would work in a group.)

Tracy is exactly right that not all pool noodles are made the same. The blue and purple noodles had the same length and diameter, but the green noodle was quite a bit thicker. I decided to do blue for all my rhythms, purple for the barlines, and green for the time signature. I also used clothesline rope for stringing the rhythms (Tracy used jump ropes, which is also a great idea!), a knife for cutting, a sharpie, a measuring tape, and two more things not in the picture: a towel to place underneath the noodle while you are cutting and scissors for cutting the rope.

I measured the blue pool noodles, and they were around 55.5". Tracy's one-beat rhythms were about 3", but since I only bought 2 noodles for rhythms, I decided to do 2" for the one-beat rhythms and 4" for the two-beat rhythms. I cut 1" barlines out of the purple noodles, and 2" noodles for time signature/ meters. Here are the totals of everything I cut:

Eight 4" rhythms for half note
Twelve 2" rhythms for ti-ti
Twelve 2" rhythms for ta
Eight 2" rhythms for tika-tika
Four 2" rhythms for quarter rest
Eight 2" noodles for time signature
Twenty 1" noodles for barlines
Four 64" pieces of rope (I changed this from my original 32" length...that was too short! 64" is probably more length than you need for 4 measures but gives kids room to work and if the rope gets frayed, you can cut and still have plenty!)

I did this so that each bag for each group/center would have 2 half notes, 3 ti-ti's, 3 ta's, 2 tika-tika's, 1 quarter rest, one 2/4 noodle, one 4/4 noodle, 5 barlines (so that students could compose/ write 4 measures and have two barlines for the double barline at the end), and could string all of that onto the rope.

Here is what it looked like as I was cutting:

Pool noodle rhythms: A great way to have students write and compose rhythms!


And here is what it looked like when I composed my own four measures!

Pool noodle rhythms: A great way to have students write and compose rhythms!

I am SO excited to use these with my students! There are so many ways to extend their learning...and once students know 3/4 and/or 6/8, or different rhythms, you can add more noodles to the set!

Thank you to Tracy for the awesome idea AND for the linky party! Make sure to read her ideas by clicking on the picture below, and read her original post, as she did the noodles slightly different, and you can decide how you will do them for your own students.


Have a great rest of your week!


1 comment

  1. Love it! I like the clothesline idea too. A blog reader told me that they used a really long dowel rod with their pool noodles. Fun!

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