Newsletter Lesson Plans

Tic Tock the Division Clock
By Jason D. Jones

Topic:  Pulse Quick Reaction; responding to aural cues; responding to visual cues

Suggested Grade(s): 3-5

Objective:  Students will demonstrate their ability to react quickly to musical changes by responding to verbal cues, the teacher playing a drum, and visuals. 

Materials: A drum, projector (or posters), visuals, speakers

Approximate time per lesson:  10 mins

State/National Standards:  Georgia Standards of Excellence

 ESGM3(4&5).RE.3  Move to a varied repertoire of music, alone and with others.

  1. Respond to contrasts and events in music with locomotor and non-locomotor movement.
  2. Perform choreographed and non-choreographed movements.


These four lessons are scaffolded to help learners reach level four. If your students can already do lessons 1 and 2, briefly review them and move to lesson 3. It is essential that most students achieve mastery in level 2 before moving on to lesson 3. This series of lessons not only helps students practice dividing pulses and rhythms, but also helps them respond to aural and visual cues in music. 

Lesson #1:  

  1. Discover student internal pulse
    1. Students walk around the room exploring the space at their normal pace add period
    2. Teacher copies the pulse of a student. 
    3. Students try to guess which student’s pulse matches teacher’s drum.  
    4. Repeat this for several students.
  2. Matching pulse
    1. Teacher plays a pulse on a drum and students match. 
    2. Teacher changes the pulse, making it quicker and slower. 
    3. Teacher chooses a student to use the drum to indicate the pulse.

Lesson # 2:  

  1. Play the game hip/hop
  • Students walk around the space to the pulse of the teacher’s drum. 
  1. When teacher says, “hip,” students walk twice as fast. 
  2. When the teacher says, “hop,” Students walk twice as slow 
  3. Instruct the students that they should “fill in the space” of the notes with their arms and/or body. For example, moving their arm throughout the duration of a longer pulse versus just stepping on the pulse

Lesson # 3:

  1. Using a visual cue to change note durations 
    1. On a projector or poster, teacher displays the division clock.
    2. Students begin walking a pulse (which becomes the quarter note) of the teacher’s drum.
    3. Using the phrase “tick, tock,” teacher moves the chips and salsa to smaller notes then up to longer notes and the students walk the new note value. The picture helps student keep track of which note value they should doing. 
      1. Quarter to eighth 
      2. Eighth to sixteenth
      3. Sixteenth to eighth
      4. Eighth to quarter
      5. Quarter to half
      6. Half to whole
    4. Remind students they should use their body to fill in the space of the duration.
    5. If students have difficulty in this lesson, teachers can use the drum to play the note duration to scaffold the lesson.
  2. After students demonstrate success, the teacher then moves the chips and salsa to random notes.

Lesson #4

  1. Divide the clock
    1. Briefly review the previous lesson. 
    2. Divide students into two groups. I like to do chips and salsa (I got this idea from Kay Piña).
    3. Use the poster/clock visual to move the chips and salsa pictures to different spots on the clock.
    4. Students walk to the note value of their picture while the teacher keeps a steady pulse on the drum.
    5. Remind students to use their bodies to fill in the space of the durations.
  1. Add some music!
    1. I suggest “Waka, Waka” by Shakira (Spanish or English).

The Division Clock