Miss Polly Had a Dolly | Music Lesson Plan (Rhythm)

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This activity is ideal for elementary age kids in grades K-2.


Students will demonstrate an understanding of quarter notes and quarter rests by reading music notation, singing "Miss Polly Had a Dolly," and playing an ostinato on rhythm sticks. This lesson is designed to fulfill Standard #1 of the National Standards for Music Education: Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.


Miss Polly Had a Dolly | Piano Sheet Music
Rhythm Sticks

"Miss Polly Had a Dolly" Music Lesson Plan

Step 1
Teach the lyrics to "Miss Polly Had a Dolly." Begin by chanting the lyrics phrase by phrase. When the students have successfully repeated the first phrase, move on to the next.

Step 2
Learn the melody to "Miss Polly Had a Dolly." Ask the students to perform the song phrase by phrase as you play the melody on the piano. When the students have successfully repeated the first phrase, move on to the next. When the students seem confident, ask them to sing the song all the way through with you at the piano.

Step 3
Quiz the students on the values of the following rhythms and rest, and then ask one student to clap the rhythm:


Step 4
Ask the other students to evaluate the performance to determine if the rhythm was clapped correctly. Clap the rhythm as a class.

Step 5
Tell students, "I'm going to sing 'Miss Polly Had a Dolly' again and I'd like you to count how many times you hear this rhythm."

Step 6
Ask students, "How many times did you hear the three quarter note - quarter rest rhythm?" They should respond, "Four times."

Step 7
Tell students, "This time I'd like you to sing along and clap the rhythm each time it occurs."

Step 8
Pass out the rhythm sticks. Ask students to perform this rhythm with the rhythm sticks when it occurs in the song. Reinforce correct rhythm stick technique. When the class is successful, try singing the song and playing the rhythm on the rhythms sticks.

Step 9
Perform "Miss Polly Had a Dolly" for the homeroom teacher when he/she returns to pick them up.

Ask students to move to the rhythm while they are playing on the rhythm sticks.

1) Clap, Clap, Clap
2) Stomp, Stomp, Stomp
3) Hop, Hop, Hop

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