This was a composing activity inspired by the Year 1 class sharing their concentric circles they painted in their classrooms this year. I asked students to explain the process they used to make the circles.
First they painted the middle circle and continued with the layers around the middle. I explained that we would use the same process for their sound circles. I gave them 4 - 5 small percussion instruments and explained there would be 4 -5 people in each group. They were to decide who would go first, second, third and so on.
Then they had to decide what instrument they would play and create a pattern to represent the sound of the instrument. They drew their circles and patterns and then practiced layering the sounds by having the middle circle play first, the second circle would join after about 4 beats and so on.
As I was observing the groups working, I noticed that one student naturally became the conductor and would give hand signs to tell the group members when to begin and when to stop.
The main skills that came out of this project were communication skills (non-verbal communication), keeping a steady beat within in the group (with all the different rhythms happening) and form (the beginning is the layering of the instruments, the middle is all the instruments playing at the same time for 8 - 16 beats and then end is deciding which instrument will stop first, second, third and so on).
This is a space designed for others to contribute. We learn much from our colleagues and have asked them to share too.