As I was catching up on my Google Reader subscription list this week I came across an entry by Amy M. Burns detailing exactly what her students where performing at this year’s holiday concert. What a great idea! It’s another way for me to get some input on what is possible with my elementary kids for the holiday season. I spent quite a few minutes exploring links and looking up songs after reading her entry.
So it seems fair to me that I should share what we’re doing for our Christmas Concert. That’s right at our school we really get to call it a Christmas Concert. I’m teaching in rural Illinois and we have a very homogeneous faith population. So our concert is Christmas, Christmas and more Christmas.
Must Be Santa – This song is in our Share the Music textbook. I’ve tried it one other time with the Kindergarteners and it was a horrible disaster! This song is a huge exercise in memory for the kids because it’s an add on song. This year we’ve gotten to the 4 verse successfully. That’s about 3 more verses than the last time I attempted this song. The difference this year is that I have a SmartBoard in the room! I started out making icons for each idea in the song (moon and stars for “special night”, picture of Santa with an arrow to the beard for “beard that’s white”, etc.) We spent 4 music classes reordering the icons to match the song because strangely my computer kept “forgetting” to save the version we had completed the class before. The kids love using the Smartboard and were willing to redo this activity for multiple days. Once we had a handle on the order visually we transfered each icon to a hand motion. For the kids to be successful singing the song I have to do the next action a few milliseconds before the words for that action starts. So far it’s working great and the kids are have a great time!
The Turkey Tango – This is one of our songs from a new book I’m using this year in order to help with the learning of the alphabet. In Kindergarten they have a letter of the week. Last year at IMEA State Conference I was introduced to Alphabet Action Songs by Denise Gagne. It’s a great collection of songs with one for each letter of the alphbet. I really like that they are written by a music teacher. Each song has a “dance” that goes with it that fits right in with my focus on steady beat at the Kindergarten level. This song we are only doing the “dance” to and we’re letting the CD do the singing so we can focus on the fun!
Santa’s Helpers – This song is also from our Share the music text book series. It is giving the 1st graders an opportunity to play quarter and eighth notes on sticks to the “tap”: and “tap-a” in the song.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – The last few years I have been really conflicted about teaching this type of traditional Christmas fare. I felt that it was my job to teach the kids something new that they hadn’t ever heard before. But I have come to realize that many of my kids really don’t know all the words (or for a few students ANY of the words) to these traditional songs. That makes sing-alongs at Christmas time very uncomfortable. These songs are part of our culture and so I have decided this year to include a few. They kids are really enjoying singing them too!
The Night Before Christmas – I’ve always loooooved this song. It’s really wordy but the 2nd graders seem to have it under control. We have been using the Notebook software that is on our Smartboard to illustrate the various parts of the song. My hope is that we will use the pictures to create a movie to project on the wall next to the stage while we sing. I think we will be able to get it done this coming week. Notebook has a record feature that lets you record what’s happening on the board that we plan on using to make the movie.
The Chipmunk Song – With the Alvin and the Chipmunk movie getting released last year at Christmas I thought the kids would get a kick out of learning this song.
The Incredible Reindeer by Teresa Jennings– Every year I wonder if it’s time to stop doing a mini musical with the 3rd graders. It’s soooooo much stress but then I see how excited they are about being elves, reindeer, and the Clauses that I have to do another one the next year. The music in this one was pretty easy for the kids to pick up on. Now if I could just figure out an easier way to learn lines that are spread out over 3 or 4 different class sections!!
So that’s what the kids are doing at Iroquois West. What are you doing at your school?