SOS: Feel the Beat

Welcome to  Spotlight on Strategies Challenge!  Our S.O.S series provides help, tips, and tricks for integrating DE media into your curriculum.

Feel the Beat
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There is much research concerning the impact of music in the classroom. Roann Keen, an elementary childhood music specialist has stated that incorporating music into the teaching of students not only accommodates the learning styles of many students, but that it also opens the mind to an easier way of learning and understanding concepts (Keen 2006).  Keen states, “Music provides hope and joy, a sense of rhythm, balance and coordination, movement opportunities, security, energy, and it certainly burns up calories”. The evidence is provided in the comfort we all feel by hearing a familiar song, or recalling memories that were made and attaching it to a song from that time. It’s a great medium for teaching educational standards that concern identifying spoken words and syllables!


  • Play the song “When I Grow Up I Want to Be a Paleontologist” (CDN subscribers) and ask students to list 5 words on a piece of paper that they remember hearing in the song.
  • If necessary, review what ‘syllables’ are by modeling with a word, clapping it out, or using the eraser of a pencil as a drumstick.
  • Ask students to write in parentheses next to each word how many ‘beats’ are in each of those words.
  • Ask students to share the word that had the most and least ‘beats’
  • Distribute the lyrics of the songs to students and/or display on a projector.  Have students identify 2, 3, and 4 syllable words by highlighting them in different colors. (i.e. 2 syllables highlight yellow, 3 syllables green, and 4 syllables red)
  • Ask students to review each of the highlighted groups to look for similarities and differences and discuss.
  • Play the song again and every time a word with 3 syllables is sung have them clap once.  You may wish to repeat this with different number of syllables or have students complete a different action for 2 or 4 syllable words.
  • Have students use their word lists to create a sentence with a 2, 3, and 4 syllable word.
  • Pro Tip: If an interactive smart board is available, allow students to come to the board to choose and arrange the images that they would like to use to create their own sentences!


  • Find a song that matches your current curriculum.
  • Allow students to listen to the song and then write down 5 words they remember hearing.
  • Review how to determine number of syllables and have students write the number of ‘beats’ they hear in each of their words.
  • Provide the lyrics to the song and have students highlight 2 syllable words yellow, 3 syllable words green, and 4 syllable words red.
  • Listen to the song again and have students perform an action when they hear 3 syllable words.
  • Have students use word lists to create a sentence that contains a 2, 3, and 4 syllable word.

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