In the 2nd grade Rhythm unit, we review the rhythm we learned in 1st grade (quarter note, quarter rest, and eighth notes). Then, I introduce the half note. Whenever I say the note, I say it in half notes (ha-alf, no-ote) and move my clasped hands out from my body out to the air to demonstrate the length of the notes.
One of the first sings we sing to demonstrate the length of half notes is Frere Jacques (Are You Sleeping?). I sing it first, and students raise their hands when they hear the long words (“John” and “dong”). Then I draw the beats of the song on the board like this:
Then I point to the beats while the students clap the rhythm of the song (each line repeats). Ask students to find which beats are the long sounds. “Tie” the beats together.
Next, ask the students to find which beats are the fast sounds. Add eighth notes to line 3.
Then turn the tied notes into half notes and teach them the name of it.
Add note heads to all notes. Tell students they just turned the BEAT into the RHYTHM!