In the past I've struggled with explaining "syncopa". I mean, sure the kids understand what to call it and they understand the short-long-short feeling of it, but do they really understand all the components and how they indeed last two beats? Yikes!
So, this is a silly way I've created to explain it (I can't get the picture to not go sideways, sorry! - and of course, being the Kodaly person I am, the students have already experienced the feel of syncopa, they were prepared, it just hadn't been presented yet):
I like to use syncopa around Valentine's day because of the heart analogy (the hearts are currently available at Target in the $1 section) and because there are so many cute Valentine's Day songs that use syncopa. I found this song at Amy Abbott's blog last year. Here's how I plan to have my students dictate the rhythm this year: