Monday, November 26, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I love the holiday season!  For me it starts with Halloween and runs through New Years.  I just love everything about this season; the food, family, music, lights, etc.  Today I started my series of holiday lessons with my students and it really made going back to work a bit easier.  The kids eyes sparkle every time they hear music from the Nutcracker and it is just precious to watch.

This year I am trying out Artie's Parachutes and Ribbons and Scarves, Oh My!; there are some wonderful Nutcracker lesson ideas and I am loving them already.  Now, I was a bit of a slacker over Thanksgiving break, I was supposed to go out and buy 3 sets of plastic plates to use in a lesson for March from the Nutcracker but do you think I got it done?

Well, I remembered this morning about 20 minutes before my kids arrived for our lesson, so I had to improvise.  Here's what we did:

1.  First listen:  enjoy, think about where you have heard it before.
2.  Discuss the piece where it comes from and composer.
3.  Second listen:    listen to a section at a time and decode the form.  (This turned into a great
     discussion of the music and differences between sections.)
4.  Talk about Rondo Form
5.  Learn movement for A - I gave them movement for this.
6.  Create movement for B and C.
7.  Move with the music.

While I could have used one of the other lessons Artie created, I liked doing this because it turned out to be a great foundation.  I feel like from here we can move on and try out some of  the other fun activities from the book.  It was a happy accident.

Something else I'm trying out is focusing on a holiday per grade level.  I'm starting this year out by trying it with 1st grade.  We will be focusing on the music and traditions of Hanukah.  I have found that it can be frustrating to try and fit every holiday in, especially on my extended rotation, so I'm hoping this will be more impactful than jumping from holiday to holiday.  My plan is to continue with this by selecting a holiday per grade level with music that supports our goals during that time of the year.  I'm just trying out my lessons this week, I'll let you know how it goes.

Hope you like the holiday design!  My home is semi-decorated, so I thought my blog should have some holiday cheer too!  :)


  1. I like the idea of focusing on a specific holiday per grade level. I do a holiday program for K-3 and 4-6 and might have to try this out next year.

    1. Oh, good idea. It's a great way to organize a program while still representing many cultures.


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