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Friday, January 16, 2015

Teaching the dotted quarter note using cookies

In years past, some of my students have struggled with counting a dotted quarter note, even though I felt I taught the concept well and we practiced the rhythm many times.  This year, I decided to try teaching the dotted quarter note differently and I feel students were able to understand how to count a note worth 1.5  beats much more easily.

I happened to have a bag of cookies on hand, so I used cookies  in my lesson, but you could use anything else to represent the beat as long as you can break it in half.

First, I drew 4 quarter notes on my white board and I selected 4 students to come up and stand under each of the notes I drew.  I gave each student 1 cookie which they were to hold out in front of them to represent 1 beat.  We counted the 4 quarter notes together as a class by saying "Yum, Yum, Yum, Yum" - (Yum = 1 beat).  Next, we counted the quarter notes by saying "1, 2, 3, 4".

Next, I added a dot to the first quarter note and told students that now, the first quarter note is called a dotted quarter note and it gets more cookie!  It gets to steal half of beat 2's cookie.  The student under beat 2 had to break their cookie in half and give it to the beat 1 student.  I then showed students how we have to change the 2nd note to an eighth note...because now that student only has 1/2 of a cookie left.

We then practiced counting the dotted rhythm...holding the dotted note through beat 2 since they had more cookie.  At the end, I let students eat the cookies.  Today, when I asked students how many beats were in a dotted quarter note, they said, "One and a half cookies!"