Make Candy Count

Candy is common at Valentine's Day so this year make candy count for your students. Buy Twix for quarter notes, Snickers for 8th notes and Butterfingers for 16th notes. Allergies? Substitute with York, Twizzlers and Laffy Taffy... Start a metronome (or fun keyboard style) at a slow tempo and encourage students to pick a piano key or rhythm instrument and play quarter notes saying "Twix" for each beat.

Once this is easy, guide them to keep the same tempo but say and play "Snickers" cutting the beat in two. Then lead them into "Butterfinger", the 4 syllables equivalent to four 16th notes.

Set out a "candy train" of 4/4 time on the piano rack and ask pianists to play and "rap" the candy wrappers keeping the steady beat.

Once this is mastered, introduce counting with "1 & 2 &'s" and then "1 e & a's".

To reinforce rhythmic understanding, ask students to create their own candy train of 4 beats and notate the rhythms on a dry erase board using correct note values.

Next ask them to perform their rhythm "candy rap" at the piano using key(s) of their choice, chanting candy names first and then counting aloud.

Of course, make sure to reward your counters with some candy!