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Grade 4: Music Makers

Music teachers Dan Hazlett and Anna Phelan teamed up to give fourth graders a lesson in music composition. First, teachers handed out “note cards” each showing a whole note, half note and rest, quarter note and rest, or eighth note and rest. Students were instructed to find others whose notes could be combined to create a measure of four beats.
Once grouped, fourth graders clapped out their measure to confirm the correct rhythms. Then, they took sidewalk chalk — where else? — to the sidewalk on Clermont Street to draw their own four-beat measures using any combination of notes and rests. Their instruction from Ms. Phelan was, “If you can clap it, you can draw it.” A gallery walk let each student demonstrate and lead classmates in clapping out the measures they composed.
“Students are learning to think in rhythms, combine notes into measures, and compose music,” explained Mr. Hazlett.

Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.