Cloning Music and Rhythm Patterns to Compose: Using Notebook or Google Slides with Young Elementary

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Cloning Music and Rhythm Patterns to Compose: Using Notebook or Google Slides with Young Elementary


One of the wonderful items about using the interactive whiteboard programs like Notebook, is that they have the ability to infinite clone. Within Notebook’s program, there are music notes that you can make into a rhythm pattern. Here is an example of one of my lessons using infinite cloning. I created the rhythm patterns with the notation found in the program, grouped the patterns, and turned on the infinite clone feature. This is a very successful way for young elementary to begin composition.

Google Slides

With many schools discontinuing their subscription to Notebook, Google Slides has become an alternative for digital, interactive manipulatives. However, Google Slides lacks the notation that you can find in Notebook. It also lacks the infinite cloning technique that makes the above composition activity possible. Through some research, I found a way to infinite clone in google slides, but you cannot be in presentation mode to do this.

  • Paste the picture of the notation (I drew the notation in google drawings to do this) into the slide.
  • Then continue to paste the same picture until you have the number you need.
  • Then select all of those pictures.
  • Now align them horizontally to the center (I used Command*Click to do this on a MAC/Control*Click on a PC).
  • Then align them vertically in the middle.
  • They are now all lined up on top of each other. Click outside the pictures so that they are no longer in the “select all” mode.
  • Now you have an “infinite cloned” image (well cloned to as many times as you chose to clone).

Can you do this with traditional manipulatives? Yes, of course. I like to do this traditionally as well as digitally. Therefore, I know I am connecting with most of my learners, who all have various learning abilities.

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Amy M. Burns is an elementary music educator, clinician, author, and musician. She currently works at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ teaching PreK through Grade 3 general music, grade 5 instrumental music, and grades 4-8 instrumental band. She is the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom, Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a SMART Board, and Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! She is also an author for Online Learning Exchange™ Interactive Music powered by Silver Burdett. She has given numerous presentations on integrating technology into the elementary music classroom as well as being a keynote speaker for music technology conferences in Texas, Indiana, St. Maarten, and Australia. She is the recipient of the 2005 TI:ME Teacher of the Year Award, the 2016 NJ Master Music Teacher Award, the 2016 NJ Governor’s Leader in Arts Education Award, and the 2017 Non-Public School Teacher of the Year Award. You can find out more about Amy at her website: