For my Kindergarten students we work on finding the difference between the 1 and 2 sounds of the colors. I am not as worried about them creating rhythmic patterns in a certain meter, I want them just practicing the difference between 1 and 2 sounds. With the older kids I would use rhythm blocks that are usually comprised of 2 beats each (like the rhythm notation options below), but with the younger kids I do not believe it is as important.
I use my powerpoint slides to have the students classify the different colors into 1 or 2 sounds. Then we practice some Train patterns that I created. After doing some Teacher examples, I let the students work on making their own. This can be done virtually or in-person. I have a google slideshow for virtual student composition that I can use to assign a lesson in Google Classroom or Schoology. For my in-person students I pass out a Train half sheet. Then the students pick which color to color each part of the train. I tell them they don’t have to color the engine Black like in the book, they can do whatever color they want.
After the color, then they have to come a clap it for me. If the students are able to clap the rhythm correctly, I then assign them an un-pitched percussion instrument to go practice their piece on. In a Non-Covid time I might have had multiple instrument stations around the room for them to practice their piece doing different sounds, but now they just get 1 to play on. Once everyone is playing an instrument, we take turns performing them for each other.
1st Grade does almost the same process, but because they are working on rhythm notation I use the Rhythm Building Blocks to create set Train Rhythms. These rhythms all equal to 2 beats. The students practice saying the words the correspond with the rhythms first before decoding the rhythms that match. Then we practice teacher examples, then it is time for them to compose as well. For the rhythm notation, I again have them color the train but then they have to write the rhythm notation on the lines under the train cars.
This is a super easy, quick, and great addition to any rhythm practice. I like using it when we finish or are in the midst of our Engine Engine Number Nine activities because it pairs well with that too. You can check out my lesson plan and powerpoint here for FREE: Freight Train Lesson