Week 1 Content


The first class is all about introductions and laying foundations. 
If you are at a new school (like I was this year), you can't really teach a whole lot without assessing where your students are at first. I use the first week to gauge where my students are in their learning and use that information to guide next week's lesson. 

In the first week I do the following
Scroll down to see the videos and resources I use in class

Instrument Families: Chordophones

Introduction to Rhythms

Introduction to Boomwhackers

Introduction to Chordophones


  • Guitar
  • Baritone ukulele
  • Tenor ukulele
  • Concert ukulele
You can adjust the materials according to what you have. 
Do not spend your own money. 
Work with what you've go!

I like for my students to know the difference between ukuleles and guitars. The baritone ukulele has the sound of a guitar and a tenor ukulele is almost the size of a guitar, so I like to show my students that the size of the instrument does not determine that instrument's name. 

I have my students count the tuning pegs as I point to them and we all chant together the names of the instruments I am holding.

Just for fun: practice saying the name of the ukulele as "ooh kooh le- le-" -this is much closer to the way a Hawaiian person would say it.


I play C and Am on all of the instruments so that students can hear the difference in pitch, resonance, and overall quality. Bonus: I also have the students raise their hand to tell me which one their favorite was. 

Introduction to Rhythms


  • Rhythm chant
  • Rhythm Cards
  • Rhythm Drills Clap-Along Video

Rhythm Chant

After the instrument demonstration I like to direct my students' attention to the SmartBoard. I talk to the kids about the way our brain works and what the most effective ways for us to learn are. I let my students know that if they read, say, sing, and add movement to their learning, they will remember much more of the information. This sets my students up for participating in the next activity.

We then do rhythm chant. I know that it's silly, but trust me, your students will memorize the note names, value, and their shape in no time!

Rhythm Cards

Once students have reviewed the note names in the rhythm chant, we move on to the rhythm cards. I hold up a card and have the students follow this process
1. Read the rhythm silently in their heads
2. ONLY say the syllables (ta ti-ti)
3. Say and clap

You can get the rhythm cards I made from my Teachers Pay Teachers store here

Rhythm Drills Clap-Along Video

The best way to introduce (or review) rhythms is to use quarter notes and quarter rests. 
I also like to set the tempo using a drum loop instead of a metronome. Don't get me wrong, metronomes are highly useful, but they're not musical. Rhythm is musical. 

I created this clap-along video and the printout that goes with it so that my students can read from the page in front of them or follow the video. I have noticed that the students who are advanced in their rhythms like to read from the page while my slower learners like the arrow guiding them through the rhythm. Talk about accommodation and differentiation! 

Introduction to Boomwhackers

I do not hand out the boomwhackers right away.
I have the students watch the boomwhacker playalong and I have them pretend that I have just given them the purple A boomwhacker. I ask them to clap every time they see an A. I repeat the process with the letter E.
Then I give my students the following boomwhacker rules:

You may
Play the boomwhacker on the floor
Play the boomwhacker on your leg
Play the boomwhacker on your hand

You may NOT
Play the boomwhacker on a person
Play the boomwhacker on your head
Play the boomwhacker with full force

If the students disobey, they lose the boomwhacker on the first offense. They may earn it back, depending on the severity of their offense.

I hand out boomwhacker slowly. If I give out the As first, I like to give it to everyone in the same row so that the students can look at each other and play in unison. 

Top-rated boomwhackers on Amazon

I did a quick Amazon search to find the boomwhacker products that buyers liked best. 
Here is what I found. 

What to teach on week 2?

Stay tuned, the link will go live here!

I do introduce the ukuleles eventually. Here are the brands that I have tried using with my students (and recommend).


  1. Great blog!!! Can't wait for the next one!

  2. Wow! How fun! Thanks for sharing all these great ideas! WE could definitely use these in my classroom too.

  3. Thank you for sharing this. You have great ideas.

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  6. Hi Bernadette, thanks for the great ideas. Which year level do you teach this lesson for?


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