Students learn the rhythm patterns first, and follow them by clapping, tapping, and any other means of noise making. For example, paper-towel-roll centers on a desk make excellent drums that are not too noisy.
Having learned the rhythms (or created their own rhythms), students add words to these rhythms. The activity should by no means be limited to the natural rhythms of a language. In fact, much like musicians practice difficult phrases by varying their rhythms, students should create varying rhythms, adding the perspective of unnatural (or funny) rhythm to the exercise.
Below are two examples of simple phrasing in 4/4 and 3/4 beats. You will need the Scorch2 plugin to view these examples (you will be prompted to download it as you get to the page). Once the plugin is in place and the score is visible, click on the "play" button on the top bar and listen to the notes, following them on the screen.
updated 3 June 2001