Lessons - FREDDIE


Sticks! Lesson Overview

Projectable Story & Sticks! Lesson

Sticks! Lesson Basics Demo

This lesson walks you through how to lay a foundation for a Sticks! lesson.  Sticks! Lesson denotes lessons from the Sticks! Building Math & Music Connections (Hal Leonard Publication) book. Several lessons from this resource are included throughout the year. Since the birds use sticks to create rhythm patterns in the Mysterious Wahooooo book and on the magnetic rhythm board, it is easy for students to create their own rhythm patterns using Popsicle sticks, or craft sticks.

This lesson assumes students did the following four steps in a prior lesson:

  1. STORYBOOK INTRODUCTION Freddie the Frog® and the Mysterious Wahooooo book/audio CD
  2. CHANT and PLAY the rhythm on the magnet board.
  3. Students choose a magnet to place on one of the four marked counts on the magnet board.
  4. CHANT the NEW RHYTHM, repeating the rhythm until it is changed again.

The rhythm board is a great assessment tool and perfect for composing four-count rhythm patterns, preparing students to create their own patterns using Popsicle sticks.




Since the birds use sticks to create rhythm patterns in the Mysterious Wahooooo book and on the magnetic rhythm board, it is easy for students to create their own rhythm patterns using Popsicle sticks, or craft sticks.

TEACHER’S NOTE: Don’t tell, ask. For the ultimate learning process, ask questions and lead the students into thinking processes.

  1. Ask the students to count out six sticks.
  1. Quarter Note (ta)

“How many sticks does it take to make a ‘ta’?” (1) 

  1. Two Eighth Notes (ti-ti)

“How many sticks does it take to make a ‘ti-ti’?” (3)

  1. Four Sixteenth Notes (tika-tika)

“How many sticks does it take to make a ‘tika-tika’?” (6)

  • Add two sticks vertically up and down inside the ti-ti.
  • Add an additional stick across the top horizontally.
  1. Quarter Rest (shh)

“How many sticks does it take to make a ‘shh?’” (3)

Math Concepts in the Music Lesson

Now let’s get started with their first composition while integrating math at the same time!


Using Popsicle sticks to create rhythm patterns provides a great opportunity to introduce algebra, counting, patterns, and other math concepts. (See Appendix B: Math and Music.)

Rhythm patterns are full of patterns, thus the name. The following steps can be used all within one class if it is an older group, or broken down to a few steps at a time per class for a younger group.



Asking the students the right questions is an essential part of the learning process. Questions are the easiest way to incorporate the Common Core State Standards in the area of K-3 Mathematics while teaching music. Students are more engaged in every moment of the lesson when using questions in the process.

The first Popsicle-stick pattern

  1. “How many ‘things’ will there be in a pattern?” (4)
  • Using the storybook as a guide, they will answer, four. Obviously, there are many different amounts that you could have, but to keep it simple, I start with a base of always having four things, or four counts, in a rhythm pattern. “Exceptions” come later.

TEACHER’S NOTE: Say “Things,” rather than “counts.” Using the word “counts” automatically means counting and that is confusing when you’re holding a bunch of sticks in your hands and talking about counting in the general classroom. It is less confusing to use the word, “things,” instead of “counts”, as in, “four things in a rhythm pattern.” (If you say how many “things” and point to a rhythm pattern in the book, they quickly can see the four different “things,” although we know it as counts.)

  1. “How can I make a “ta, ta, ti-ti, ta” rhythm pattern with sticks?”
  •    Student volunteers to come to the front and create the pattern for the class.
  1. “How many sticks does it take to make the “ta, ta, ti-ti, ta” rhythm pattern?” (6)
  2. Arrange the students in a circle or long lines if possible.
  1. Place piles of sticks in front of groups of kids and ask them to count out six sticks and recreate the same “ta, ta, ti-ti, ta” rhythm pattern.
  • Quickly glance to assess successful task completion.
  • Ask the students to use their index finger and chant the pattern together, following along with their own pattern from left to right.
  • Repeat chanting and pointing until you ask them to stop. This gives you time to assess and assist individuals.

TEACHER’S NOTE: Visually assess any students that need additional help, and give silent individual help by pointing with them as the class chants the rhythm pattern. This task also helps the reading skill of reading left to right.

6. “Make another rhythm pattern with four things in it using six sticks. It cannot be the same as your neighbor’s pattern.”

7. Point to the first student’s pattern, the student points and chants; other students, echo.

8. Move to the next student in line, doing the same thing, while keeping a continuous beat until finishing with the last student.

Stick Lesson Extensions and Variations:

  1. Add the andante tempo track from the Mysterious Wahooooo CD. Perfect to accompany the chanted rhythm patterns. Add non-pitched classroom instruments if time allows.
  2. Create new rhythm patterns.
  3. Add more sticks for new patterns.

TEACHER’S NOTE: It is essential to use the above stick lessons before introducing a Sticks! Mystery Song/Game Sequence.