Draw a simple analogue clock on the board, leaving space around it for 4 beat rhythm patterns. If you have magnetic 4 beat rhythm patterns prepared, stick one at each hour. If you don’t have any, simply draw a 4 beat pattern in stick notation using whatever notation the class knows.

As soon as you put the patterns up students will be starting to copy them. Go round the clock starting from 1 o’clock. The teacher claps, then the class. Then the teacher and one student at a time around the circle. Then around the circle one at a time without the teacher. Then play guessing games “what time am I clapping”.  

Or give each student an hour that they have to clap. If they’re too clever for this, combine patterns by playing times like “20 past 7” – the first pattern is the minutes, the second the hour”.

And of course, if you have some simple percussion instruments you can hand them out and go round the clock with instruments. If you can play a simple chord accompaniment on a keyboard or have access to a recorded accompaniment this really helps them keep the beat.

Submitted by Christine