My big push this year has been to get students to write more interesting rhythms when creating original melodies.
I tell them to work in three steps:
1. write a melody in quarter notes.
2. Delete one or two quarter notes to make rests.
3. Find a spot (or two) to use either a dot, half note, or eighth note.
To model this I start with 4 blank measures (Building a Singable, Memorable Melody - Create).
Then I type "c" 16 times. That reinforces how to get notes on a blank staff.
Then we listen. BORING! Robot dancing.
Then I have a student move the notes up and down to make the melodic shape more interesting.
Listen again. Better.
Have 2 more kids come up, each to delete one note from the middle.
Listen again. Much better!
Then a last student demonstrates how to use the dot.
Then we listen again.
The final melody is usually much more interesting than 16 C's.