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Lesson Plan #: AELP-INT0200
Submitted by: Jamie Littlefield
Email: jil_music@yahoo.com
School/University/Affiliation: Park Lawn Elementary School, Alexandria, VA Date: August 1, 2000

Grade Level: 1, 2, 3, 4


  • Interdisciplinary
  • Arts/Music
  • Mathematics/Process Skills
  • Language Arts

Duration: 45 minutes Description: Students will write the rhythm of their names (syllables) using quarter and eighth notes. Students will display their results on a graph.

Goals: Students will recognize that names have rhythms. Students will compare rhythms of names found in their class and other classes.

Objectives: Each student will be able to write the rhythm of his/her name, graph the rhythm, and analyze the class graph.


  • unlined index cards
  • pencils or crayons
  • poster paper
  • glue

1. Before class, group the students by the rhythms (syllables) of their names (for example: Troy, Ja-mie, or Jo-shu-a). When class begins, split the class into these groups and tell them that everyone in their group has something in common. They must discover what it is. Give them a hint – it is something about your name – or you will be there all day! 2. When a group discovers the answer (the names have the same rhythm or same number of syllables), line them up in rows by group. Each student receives an index card and a pencil or crayon. Each student writes his/her name on the card.

3. Working by group, help students write the rhythms of their names on the cards, using quarter and/or eighth notes. Some examples are:
Troy = quarter
Jamie = quarter quarter
Stephanie = eighth eighth quarter
Jamaica = quarter eighth eighth
Adriana = quarter quarter quarter quarter

The rhythm depends on where the stress comes in the name. For example, Stephanie and Jamaica are different, because the stress for Stephanie is on the last syllable (the quarter note), and the stress for Jamaica is on the first syllable (also the quarter note) when we speak them in rhythm.

[There are many ways to guide students in writing the rhythms. If they’re young (K-1), I put them into groups and show each group how to write the rhythm step by step. If they are older, I guide them to discover the rhythm of their name, and then they write the rhythm using the proper notes. Most of my second graders can do this with help.]

4. Next, use the poster paper to create a graph, labeling each rhythm across the bottom of the paper. Ask each student to glue his/her card in the column above the corresponding rhythm.

5. When all cards are in place, analyze the graph. Which column has the most names? The least? [I post the graphs and the analyses in the hallway outside my room. You can also have two classes compare their graphs to each other.]

Assessment: You can use the questions below to assess students’ understanding of the activity:
1. How well did the student write the rhythm of his/her name?
2. Did he/she put the card in the correct column?
3. How well did students analyze the graph?

Useful Internet Resource:
* Types of Notes
See and hear the following notes: whole, half, quarter, eighth, and sixteenth.