Queen Caroline

Rhythm Lesson: Queen Caroline

This piece can be used off and on throughout the elementary school years. It has a “perfect rhythm.”

Queen Caroline

Kindergarten and 1st Grade, beginning of the year:

4 Voices: Whisper Shout Talk Sing – Create a story about a king and queen.

1) All the people in the castle were whispering about the queen’s hair (whisper the rhyme).

2) The prince rode into the town and shouted to the town (shout the rhyme).

3) The townspeople couldn’t believe it! They all started whispering (whisper the rhyme).

4) They had a parade. The king and queen stopped and shouted about it to the town (shout the rhyme).

After students know it, then say, “Can you perform it with your talking voice?” After that, teach melody with two notes, so and mi. Then, “Can you perform it with your singing voice?” Then, using a chart with pictures and names of the four voices, “Can you change your voice when I change the picture that I’m pointing to?!” Start by alternating only two voices (whisper/shout … talk/sing), then a few weeks later challenge class to do all four.

1st Grade, mid-year (spring): Introduce “Rhythm, the way the words go!”

“Pull out your keys, open your memory banks.”

“I have a story for you, but I’m not going to tell you with words … the drum is going to tell you with the RHYTHM!” Play rhythm Queen Caroline on hand drum. Students identify the rhyme.

“You know how to play the heartbeat. Today you will learn about RHYTHM and play it on instruments!”


“To-day . . . we play `RHY-THM’ . . . ev’-ry part, ev’-ry word . . . the way, the words, go . . . that’s the `RHY-THM!’ . . . NICE JOB!”

Echo clap rhythm while speaking words of Queen Caroline 4 beats at a time.

“There’s another way we can say this rhyme, using the rhythm words.” (Use your favorite rhythm syllable system for this.) Say each 4 beat section of the rhyme and immediately speak the rhythm syllables – students echo speak the rhythm syllables. Write definitions on board: BEAT – THE WAY YOUR HEART GOES. RHYTHM – THE WAY THE WORDS GO.

Perform rhythm on hand drums, half the class at a time. The half that is not performing is the audience. “Look for someone who is relaxing while they play the drum!”

Next Class Period:

Clap rhythm of the rhyme, C identify.

Review rhythm words.

FOUR CHAIRS: each chair is a beat; if one student sits in a chair, it is a “tah,” if two students sit in a chair, it is a “ta-te” (or ti-ti, depending on your rhythm syllable system). If no one sits in a chair, it is a rest – use the rhyme Mama Caught A Flea for this. Notate each four beats first in chairs. then immediately put the rhythm on the board with stem notation.

Use only stem notation for the students’ first reading experiences. Can add note heads shortly thereafter.

2nd or 3rd Grade:

Create melody on Orff instruments using Queen Caroline as the basic rhythm.

4th Grade:

First day of recorder: create melody on recorder using C2 and A using Queen Caroline as the basic rhythm. (When beginning recorder, I prefer to start with C2 and A, then add D2, then go to B A G.)

Click here to download this lesson from Jim Solomon.

To learn more about Jim Solomon’s workshops or to purchase one of his publications, please visit CongaTown.com

Jim Solomon

Jim Solomon is the author of eight books, a National Workshop Clinician, and has over 30 years experience teaching public elementary school Music. He Teaches Orff Level I at Eastman School of Music and Rhythmic Training/Percussion Ensemble at George Mason University and Anderson University in summers. Jim has presented at nineteen AOSA National Conferences. National Board Certified 2002. Past Teacher of the Year for St. Johns County, Florida.

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  1. Nadia Armsworth on December 14, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    I have used the Queen Caroline words before in other things. I made one variation: “she washed her hair with clementines”. It was easier to explain what a clementine was than turpentine–especially to my littlest kiddos.

  2. lilian Seibert on December 15, 2016 at 7:14 am

    My first graders love this rhyme, and I have not thought of continuing it through grade four. These are great ideas. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Sue Persson on December 29, 2016 at 6:32 am

    This is great. I love your materials and appreciate these extensions.

  4. Anthony Bernard on October 24, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Thank you for sharing your fabulous ideas!

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