Community Level 2 – Familiar

Materials: Polished river stones (sold at craft stores), two stones/student

How to Play: Everyone in the circle gets two stones. First
explore the stones and what they can do. (See Plan for Success below.)
You can then make rhythms together in a number of ways:

  • You can make a variety of rhythms with your stones and the students
    can echo you each time. You can make the exercise more challenging by
    giving the children longer sequences and by giving them one rhythm
    (pause), then a second rhythm, to see if they can listen hard and
    remember the two rhythms accurately.

  • You can go around the circle, with each child making a rhythm which the class as a whole echoes.
  • You can give a call rhythm to a student who can answer with a
    rhythm of her own; then you give your original call again and the whole
    class answers with the student’s rhythm. You go around the circle giving
    the same call to each child, but receiving a different answer each
    time, which the whole class echoes after you have repeated your call
    again. Students can also be the callers.

  • Students can add passing to a rhythm which everyone does
    together. For example, with a stone in each hand, click two stones 4
    times, tap two stones on the floor 4 times, click two stones 4 times,
    and then tap once on the floor in front of the person to your right. In
    this last movement, you give up your stones to the person on your right
    and receive new stones from the person on your left. Variation: you
    pass only one stone and keep one stone.

Plan for Success: Take some time before the game to explore the stones and rhythms. For example:

“What do you notice about these stones?” “Who can demonstrate a rhythm
for us using the stones?” “What’s another rhythm?” “What did you
notice about the sound made by tapping the stones together?” “How could
we make a different sound?” “What ways do we need to handle these
stones to keep them in good shape?” “Now let’s take a couple of
minutes to experiment with the rhythms you can invent with the stones
tapping them against each other and on the floor. OK, let’s hear some of
the rhythms people have made up.”

Variations: The possible patterns of calling, echoing,
and passing are limitless. You and the students can challenge each
other to listen well, count beats as you listen, describe the pattern
sequences as they are created, develop the memory capacity to repeat
longer sequences, and increase hand-eye coordination with tricky passing