Choose the Right: Rhythm Stick Patterns for Older and Younger Children

Older Children

Can your hands follow my hands?  Pretend like you have rhythm sticks.

(You have rhythm sticks, but they don’t. It helps the children to see that you have exchanged them behind your back if you have two different colors of sticks.  I am using the first verse here, but you can do this activity with any of the verses.)

Choose the Right” –  click, click, click with the Rhythm sticks

When the choice is placed before you” – put the sticks behind your back and exchange them into a different hand

In the right” -click, click, click

The Holy Spirit guides” – exchange behind the back

And it’s light” – click, click, click

Is forever shining o’er you” – exchange behind the back

When in the right“-click, click, click

Your heart confides” – exchange behind the back

 

Excellent.  Let’s try it with rhythm sticks.  (Your pianist and other adults pass out rhythm sticks to the children.)  If you use these inappropriately, I take them, no questions asked.  (Pause)  Let’s try the pattern!  Click, click, click, exchange around the back.

Begin singing the verse as you do the pattern with the children.  When you come to the end of the verse, call out “Freeze!”

Partners!

Great job, and you are good enough for another challenge!  (Ask an older child to be your partner.)  Here’s the new pattern.

Stand across from the child.  Do these motions to a steady beat.  Begin to sing the song as you do the actions with your partner.

Click, click, put both rhythm sticks in one hand, pass both rhythm sticks to your partner.

“Choose the Right” –  click, click, put both in one hand, exchange sticks with your neighbor

“When the choice is placed before you” –  click, click, put both in one hand, exchange sticks with your neighbor

“In the right” – click, click, put both in one hand, exchange sticks with your neighbor

“The Holy Spirit guides” –  click, click, put both in one hand, exchange sticks with your neighbor

Call out to the children, “Find a partner!”  Count down from 10, then start the pattern, calling out the actions. “Click, click, both, exchange!”

Begin to sing the song.  This time sing it all the way through, including the chorus.  You may want to sing the song and do the pattern one more time, this time challenging the children to sing if they can!  Thank the children and ask them to pass their rhythm sticks to their teachers.

Younger Children

Can your hands follow my hands?  Pretend like you have rhythm sticks.  (You have rhythm sticks, but they don’t. It helps the children to see that you have exchanged them if you have two different colors of sticks.)

“Choose the Right” –  click, click, click with the Rhythm sticks

“When the choice is placed before you” – put the sticks behind your back and exchange them into a different hand

“In the right” -click, click, click

“The Holy Spirit guides” – exchange behind the back

“And it’s light” – click, click, click

“Is forever shining o’er you” – exchange behind the back

“When in the right “-click, click, click

“Your heart confides” – exchange behind the back

Excellent.  Let’s try it with rhythm sticks.  (Your pianist and other adults pass out rhythm sticks to the children.)  If you use these inappropriately, I take them, no questions asked.  (Pause)  Let’s try the pattern!  Click, click, click, exchange around the back.

Sing the song, including the chorus, and do the pattern with the children as you sing.  Call out, “Freeze!”  Ask the children to turn towards the back wall and do the pattern.  Click, click, click, exchange around the back.

After a few phrases, call out, “Freeze!” and ask the children to turn towards another wall.  Continue singing and doing the pattern.

Call out, “Freeze!” one more time during the song and ask the children to turn yet another way.  Continue singing and doing the pattern.

Thank the children and ask them to pass their rhythm sticks to their teachers.

 

The children are moving to the beat, interacting with the song, feeling the energy of this song, and hearing the song over and over again.  And it is fun!

6 Responses

  1. If it helps, I came up with a little pattern for the chorus.

    Like Normal ~ Click-Click-Click ~ Choose the Right
    Raise sticks higher (arms up high) ~ Click-Click-Click ~ Choose the Right
    Sticks together and do a half turn around ~ Let wisdom mark
    Turn the second half around back to facing forward ~ the way before
    Repeat for the next 2 lines.

    Sharla, thanks for sharing your ideas!!

  2. Nancy Oakes

    Hi, I was wondering, How do you continue teaching other verses? Do you change activities each week to learn the other verses? Or continue same activity for all verses?
    How long do you keep using sticks, eggs, or plates, etc while teaching the song? Once they know it well do you discontinue the activities?
    Any advise for small wards that have combined singing times with jr. and sr.??
    Thanks so much!
    Nancy Oakes

    • I was here looking for answers to the same questions as Nancy! LOL My kids loved the paper plates last week for the first verse, and I’m not sure whether to do the same rhythm again to learn the next verse or change it?

      • Sharla Dance

        Dear Nancy and Koreena,

        I always at least two or three different activities for the same verse. Research shows you need gradual learning with time in-between to sleep on it, then gradual learning again to keep things in long term memory. Perfect for us in Primary because we have a week in between each time we give a different experience with the same song. You will deepen the children’s understanding and experience with the song if you do three different experiences, even if you think they already know the song.

        A different verse has different words AND different emphasis on certain notes. It is best for the children and their memories if you do completely different activities with the a different verse. If you are teaching with two or three different songs a week (5 minutes per song), you will have enough time to give each verse its own experience (and thus its own place in the brain). The children are less likely to mix up the verses when you do it this way! (And it is more fun for them.)

        Choose the Right – have you considered using Crack the Code for the older, Action word actions for the younger. Have you considered using egg shakers? How about egg cartons and a rhythm stick playing the back to a certain rhythm? Have you considered using Partner Arm Swings with Freezes for younger and Eraser Pass for Older? Just some suggestions that perhaps could work for you as you teach different verses.

        Thank you so much for asking!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Nancy,

      When you have an 11 year old in the same Primary lesson as a 3 or 4 year old, you really have to be creative to give both groups what they need developmentally. The Older child needs puzzles, codes, complicated rhythms and movements to a pattern, and logic puzzles. The younger child needs simple movements to a pattern, concrete word representations like action word actions, simple visual puzzles, and things like magic crayon to peak their imagination, none of which work well with older children.

      I would use 3 piece puzzle activity with the older helping the younger, or give the older group (if there are less than 12 children) an envelope game to put together while you do simple movements with the younger. Perhaps I would use song story for both of them, then switch to a complicated pattern for the older with someone else leading the younger children in a simple pattern.

      How many children are in your Primary?

      Take care, Sharla

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