Half Rest, Whole Rest

Visual aids around the classroom can be a fun thing to do.  Not only does it help in the decor of the room, but it allows for students to review a concept at their own pace.  One of my favorite visual aids is the use of a top hat to discuss the value of half and whole rests.

While cleaning out my son's toy box, I discovered a top hat that came from a magic set.  He no longer wanted the hat, so... "poof"!  It is now a half or whole rest!  Looking at this top hat reminded me of when I was in elementary music class and my awesome music teacher told us about a top hat and a whole rest.  I believe this is how the story goes...

Back in the Victorian era (around 1837 to 1901) men wore hats around town.  There were special rules that went along with wearing a hat in a building or during special occasions. Can anyone here think of a special rule when we wear hats today? (Answers will vary. Students may says things like, we can't wear ball caps in the classroom, not in church etc.)  

One day, a man walked into the town general store.  As he walked through the door, he removed his hat from his head.  

 The lady behind the store counter said, "It's so nice to be greeted by a "WHOLE" gentleman.  I mean one who knows to take off his hat when inside a building."  Another lady inside the store immediately joined in the conversation a stated firmly, "Yes, I agree!  The other day when I was at the bank, a man walked through the door and did not remove his hat.  Well, I turned to my daughter and told her he must be "HALF" a gentleman because he kept a hat on his head while indoors!"  
The gentleman kindly smiled at the ladies and said, "Well, sometimes even I forget to be a 'WHOLE' gentleman and take off my hat in a building.  And I guess when I do, I am just 'HALF' a gentleman.  But...I would rather be 'HALF' a gentleman, than fall into a great big 'HOLE'!  Good day ladies."  He then turned towards the door, and as he walked through the threshold, he put his hat back on his head. 
The End~

After sharing this story with the students, I would draw a very large music staff on the board.  We would discuss half and whole rests, (which we had used in class a few times before this lesson).  We would then play the game, "Half a gentleman or a Whole Gentleman".  I would place the hat on the staff to show either a whole rest or half rest.  The students would raise their hands to share with the class if they thought it was a whole rest or a half rest.

I would use this simple staff/rest game as a mini review lesson while waiting in line for their teacher, or as a simple review when we had an extra few minutes.

In addition, with the older grades, the historical reference of a top hat could be a conversation starter when examining music of the Romantic era.



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