Instruments, Orff, Rhythm

Alligator Pie

Teaching sixteenth notes is probably one of my favorite things to teach all year, not only in 3rd grade but also through all of my other grade levels.  The lesson collection I have for sixteenth notes is just so fun and engaging I look forward to teaching it every year.  We are in the middle of the “unit” right now, and we just finished working with a great poem “Alligator Pie”.

Alligator Pie is a great poem to use for sixteenth notes, due to the word “Alligator” appearing so many times throughout the poem. Below is the basic lesson I follow for teaching Alligator Pie, and a link to my FREE powerpoint slides on Teachers Pay Teachers: Alligator Pie

Alligator Pie


In this lesson students will learn/review quarter notes, eighth notes, and sixteenth notes.  Begin with students scattered around the room.  Have them move to the beat of the quarter note to begin.  Then change it to the beat of the eighth note.  Continue going back and forth between the two different beats.  Eventually add in the sixteenth note beat for them to move to.  Discuss how they had to change their movements based off what beat they were hearing.

Rhythm & Body Percussion:

Using the powerpoint, show the slides for the Alligator Pie poem.  Teach students words by echo. Once students are able to speak the words independently, move to next slides adding body percussion to the rhythm of certain words:

Pie/Die/Sky: Clap

Green Grass: Snaps

Alligator: Pat

I also have my students then internalize these words and just do the body percussion, as a challenge for their brains.

Then we figure out which rhythm notes match our body percussion words.  Students then practice slapping and saying some rhythm patterns using these notes.


Either as a continuation in one lesson from above, or the next day, we review the poem one more time with the body percussion.  Then we transfer the body percussion to some un-pitched percussion instruments:

Clap: Drum

Snaps: Jingle Bells

Pats: Woodblock


Students play their instrument on the correct word.  We do it both saying the words and then internalizing the “instrument” playing words. Students then rotate around to the different instruments so they can experience playing each instrument.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s