Responding Syllables


ELA and Music

  • 30-45 Minutes


  • Rhythmic found objects (ie: sticks, cans, shoes, etc).
  • Boomwhackers (optional)
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • “Sick” by Shel Silverstein from Where the Sidewalk Ends

Lesson Overview:

Warm-up using the “What’s Your Name” strategy. As students are saying and clapping their names, check for their ability to stay within the beat and accurately clap the syllables in their name.

Ask students if they have ever been sick and have had to miss school. Explain that you’ll be reading a short poem about a girl who may or may not be sick for school. What are the ways someone could be sick? What might that sound like using high and low or fast and slow?


Step 1: Read “Sick” by Shel Silverstein and at the end, ask students if they thought Peggy was really sick.

Step 2: Select a few descriptive words like “mumps” or “gash” and ask how students might show those with their voices.

Step 3: Go through the text again with students and ask them to identify words with more than one syllable that are also descriptive. When they find one, ask how they might demonstrate that sound.

Step 4: Perform each multi-syllabic descriptive word individually using found sounds that students have selected.

Closing: Read the piece again and as you come to one of the selected multi-syllabic descriptive words, students will perform it during the reading of the sentence.



Assess aurally and visually if students perform their syllable words at the right time using the correct amount of rhythmic values for the syllables in the word.