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Preparing Steady Beat: Johnny Works With One Hammer

I can't wait until next year when I will see Pre-K and Kindergarten (woohoo!), but my first grade babies this year are working so hard! I am getting very close to presenting steady beat with them (probably next week). When I was in my level 1 training, my teacher Jo Kirk had these wonderful hammers with bells inside that we used to tap the steady beat. I couldn't afford to buy them and don't currently have the time or know-how to make them (although that is on my list), but last year at Target, I did find some hammers in the dollar bins so I picked up about 25 or so to use with a few of our favorites for preparing and practicing steady beat.

They sure do take up a lot of storage space, but they are awesome to have!

I first pull them out when using "Johnny Works With One Hammer." First we sing the song as an action song. 

After we know it pretty well, we form a circle and I go over procedures for the hammers, what it's resting position looks like, and what happens if you don't take care of the hammer (you will have to put it away and just use your hand!). 

We pass them out so that everyone has a hammer, and we sing the song again tapping the floor:

Mending our shoes:

And tapping our neighbor's knees, which they love! 

Then we move back to our seats and I put up the hammer icons on the board. I usually find that my beat visuals are the most successful after the kids know the song really well, so the visual preparation is usually the last thing I do. I use one of the hammers or a pointer to tap the beats while the students pat their knees.

Once they get the hang of this and know how I move from one line to the next, I invite them to come up and try to be the pointing maestro: 

(Notice, my projector screen is too high, I think I am going to put in a work order this summer to have my projector point down so that I can use the board and not the pull down screen. There's lots of times that I would like to write on the slides and the screen doesn't work too well for that, plus it's a little high for my kids. When my kids point to this one, I erase the top two lines of hammers and say that when they get to the end, they go back and do it again. So we learn repeats early! :)

Sometimes I have my students who are not pointing at the board point to their own beat sheet or play "the hammers" on their rhythm sticks.


  1. Ha! Those are adorable hammers! I have inflatable ones from Oriental Trading.

    If you want to use them with your older kids, I made up a routine to Anvil Chorus that the kids like a lot.

    1. Thanks for sharing! So many great listening and movement activities on your site!