Parts of a Whole

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Now we begin working toward our performance. The class votes on one of the original rhythms they’ve created to perform for another class. The three rhythms that will be played are the beat, the 3-2 clave, and our original created rhythm. We work collaboratively to decide on parts, arrangement, and instrumentation (body percussion or classroom instruments).


We come full circle and we are back to the 3-2 clave along with a steady beat and an original class rhythm. These are the main ingredients of our final composition. Students negotiate what to include in their performance. Jorge wants to use clipboards, Ana wants to use another type of percussion. They fashion rulers and white erase boards into instruments.

Students voices are heard as we sequence the musical techniques. “What order should we put them in?” “Miss Jamie, we need to practice the rest note.” The promise of performance adds focus and excitement. “Remember, concentrate, focus, stand tall, smile, listen to each other. If we don’t, the music will break down.” Our final reflection process involves reading student journal entries to get input from all participants in the process. We conclude that this hands on learning experience is worth while for students struggling with fractions.

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