The other day I was browsing Pinterest when I came across this post by Jodi from Fun in First (a fellow Indiana TPTer), in which she discusses how she practices sight words using paper plates. I loved the idea and think it could easily be modified for the music classroom.
First, I bought paper plates. Knowing how much they'll be used, I opted for sturdy ones. I wrote one rhythm on each plate.
Then, I placed a green star sticker on one of the plates.
To play the game, have students sit in a circle and give each student one plate.
Then, play the music you've selected (something with a strong downbeat that reinforces the rhythms you're working on) and ask students to pass the plates to the steady beat.
When the music stops, the student with the green star plate will speak/clap/tap their rhythm first, then all the other students will follow (one at a time) reading the rhythm on their plate. The students will continue to read their rhythms until they've made it all the way around the circle. Then, the music begins again. I wrote the rhythms on the bottom of the plates purposefully so that students could tap the plates like a drum
If you have a particularly competitive class, set a winning point total at the beginning of class. Then, award points each time the students complete a full circle. If they reach the point total before the end of class, then they win.
If you have a class that needs an extra challenge, add rhythm instruments to the mix. Ask students to place their instruments behind them until the music stops, then grab and play. Each time they complete a circle, they can pass their instruments one person to the left, so that students get to play a different instrument each time.
If students are struggling to read the rhythms, reduce the variety to the rhythms they know well, then slowly add in new ones until they're proficient.
Because I think this game can be played with many different grade levels, I've opted to include a free worksheet rather than my usual lesson guide template. Download the free worksheet by clicking on the image below. Enjoy!