I have found that one of the most successful (and fun) ways to work with intermediate rhythms is to use words to represent various rhythm patterns. This little activity uses a muffin theme. I have created some free printables for you, so all you really need is a mini-muffin tin and a bit of patience to cut out the muffins. It's worth it, look how cute they are!
I included the label on each muffin to help you remember the "code" as you are clapping and saying the muffin words. You don't have to use a muffin tin, but it definitely makes the activity more fun and creates tidy groups of three or four beats per line.
Turn your muffin tin with four muffins across for a 4/4 time signature.
Or turn your muffin tin with three muffins across for a 3/4 time signature.
Here is the muffin rhythm printable. I had two color copies printed at Staples on a heavy gloss paper. Click here to open and save the Muffin Rhythm pdf from Dropbox.
You'll want to send your students home with a follow-up assignment. Students will practice drawing their rhythm patterns on the first page. This is also a good opportunity to use a metronome pulse and say the muffin words or full measure counting as they feel the steady beat.
The second page includes quick theory exercises such as adding bar lines, time signatures and full measure counting. Plus students will have a full page of homework rhythms to practicing clapping. Click here to open and download the two worksheet pages from Dropbox.
I'm thinking another fun follow-up activity would encourage students to go home and compose a Muffin Song with muffin words (okay that was my husband's idea, but I like it).