This is a short bucket drumming activity that your students will love. It uses 5-gallon buckets and wooden dowels as sticks(but any bucket, barrel, or can will do). Students learn how the center and rim create different timbres and how to play an rhythm ostinato to a steady beat.
This activity uses one rhythm in four different ways. Teach the first groove that uses just the rim and center of the bucket. Then proceed to the other variations.
You can see a video of the grooves at: http://www.thebucketbook.com/blog/how-junkyard-percussion-can-save-your-sanity-during-the-month-of-may-part-1-of-3
Don't worry, you don't need to learn all the variations or play them one after another. Just teach the variations that you can easily play confidently.
It only uses one rhythm pattern which:
1. simplifies student focus
2. reduces the number of things students have to attend to at once
3. reduces the number of things the teacher has to attend to
Another idea is to only teach the first groove and then have students come up with their own variations. If an Admin walks in the room, explain that you are teaching a "Theme and Variations" lesson with student composition. Smile and give yourself a high five for being awesome.