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Butterfly Rhythms: ta, ta-ti (ti-ti), and rest

April 19, 2013

I had acquired a number of foam pieces shaped like butterflies on a visit to my local the dollar store. I had a couple of different ideas of how I might use them, but just didn’t feel very happy with any of it. They sat in the extra bedroom languishing until about a week and a half ago.  I was doing some last minute lesson planning and needed a quick opening activity that I could also use during the next class for learning centers. I also wanted a way to see if individuals in my kindergarten and 1st grade classes were able to identify patterns of rhythms.  As Spring is finally upon us in New Jersey, I decided the butterflies had found their time.

I took eight butterflies and, using a permanent marker, wrote a four beat rhythm pattern across the shape. For Kindergarten I made a set using quarter notes and eighth notes. The 1st grade set included the same rhythms, plus quarter rest. I had this grand idea of getting a butterfly net and asking the kids to “capture” the butterfly I performed.  As with many grand plans, practicality won the day. Hence, Bop the Butterfly was born.

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Bop the Butterfly, a rhythm identification game

•Place the rhythm butterflies on the floor or on a table, randomly spread out.
•Choose one student to be the “entomologist” or “lepidopterist.” Give them a mallet.
•The “expedition leader” (at first the teacher, but later on a student) reads one of the rhythm patterns aloud.
•The “lepidopterist” needs to search/hunt for the correct butterfly. They can “bop” the butterfly by tapping it with the mallet.
•The “lepidopterist” can ask their assistants (the rest of the class) for helpful hints. (ie. “It starts with a ta.” “It is near the door.”)
My students loved this activity.  It is so simple, yet effective. In fact, during the next class the students had a chance to play Bop the Butterfly as part of learning centers. They took turns being the expedition leader. Some groups even made the game competitive by seeing who could discover the butterfly first.  Just last night my school held a curriculum fair for the families. I included Bop the Butterfly at my table. The children taught their parents how to play.  Many were impressed to see the children playing together, reading and identifying the rhythms.
Check out my TeacherPayTeachers store to download the game and rhythm cards for FREE! While you are there, check out the other items I have created.  There aren’t that many right now, but I would love to hear what you think.
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