Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Music Around the World- Hannukah and Dreidels

I know I am behind this year, because Hannukah is already over, but I have wanted to for some time to do a dreidel song with my kids to expose them to something from a different culture.

I wrote out the dreidel song made a rhythm and solfa chart for it.

I bought dreidels in a bag of them on Amazon. 

If you are interested in purchasing my Around the world- Israel pack, you can get it HERE.

It includes:

  • Music for “I Have A Little Dreidel
  • Directions on how to play the Dreidel game
  • Fun facts about Hanukkah
  • Solfa and rhythm for the dreidel song
  • A promethean flipchart of the music and 2 more verses plus rhythm/solfa
  • I Have a Little Dreidel song sheet to use with recorder
  • jpeg files of the music and rhythm/solfa so you can make a smart board flipchart
  • An Israel poster with a map and pictures of items from the country

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Activities- what I do in my classes- Including the "Twelve days of Christmas" and "O Christmas Tree" in English and German

We have a Christmas assembly on the last day before vacation. The teachers choose songs for each class to sing, and I assist in helping the kids learn them, as well as the classroom teachers.

Here is what the teachers have chosen-- most of them sing the same song year after year

Kindergarten- "Must Be Santa"
First- "All I've got for Christmas is my Two Front teeth"
Second- "Mele Kalikimaka"
Third- Beach Boys- "Little Saint Nick"
Fourth- I'm gettin' Nuttin' for Christmas
Fifth- "Santa Clause Rock"
Sixth- "Silver Bells" with sign language

Whole School- They asked me this year to do a song with the whole school. I have chosen "the Twelve Days of Christmas" and made a set of visual aides. The kids are loving them. I am going to add motions for each grade to do-- the older grades will do two different verses.

Okay, here is what each grade is doing to the verses:

1st day- Kindergarteners- Arms up to make a tree
2nd day- 3rd grade- making a heart with their hands
3rd day- 2nd grade flapping arms like a hen
4th day-  1st grade- put hands to mouth to show calling
5th day- special ed classes- show a round ring with fingers
6th day- all office staff, principal, aids, PE and library teachers- not sure what they are doing yet
7th day- 6th grade- swimming like a break stroke motion
8th day- 6th grade- milking a cow
9th day- 4th grade girls jump and twirl
10th day- 4th grade boys jump up
11th day- 5th grade- playing recorder motion
12th day- 5th grade- play drums

I had a first grader, who has made it clear he is a science guy and not a music guy, ask me yesterday if I could make the twelve days of Christmas into a coloring book, so I added that as well.

Get them HERE.

I am playing "Old Mother Witch" with new words for Christmas with the younger kids. Get into a circle with one student in the middle, who is the Santa in this version. All kids sing the song and march on the beat in place. At the end of the words "they're all out to play", the student in the middle sings, "are you my reindeer", while pointing to a student. The student sings, "yes ma'am Santa is a girl and yes sir, if it is a boy". The student sings this 3 times, while pointing to different students. The third time, the student says, "no, you jolly old elf" and then runs around the circle while "Santa" chases. The kids love this game. 

On Christmas Day, Santa’s in his sleigh, 
Where are his reindeer, they’re all out to play
Are you my reindeer? Yes, ma'am (s m m, s m, s m)
Are you my reindeer? Yes, ma'am  (s m m, s m, s m)
Are you my reindeer? Yes, ma'am   (s m m, s m, s m)
No, you jolly old elf.  (spoken)


We continue to use bells, but now, with the younger kids, I have the kids use horse finger puppets and some ribbon. One student gallops while another student "rides" the horse by putting a thick ribbon around the "horse" as the reins. I was using this earlier with a Spanish song called "Corre Corre". The kids really love it. I bought cute finger puppet horses from Oriental trading company HERE.


A Colleague just introduced a fun ribbon dance to Ding Dong Merrily on High. Here is the info on it:

The music is from the album "The Sweets of May" by Dudley & Jacqueline Laufman. I bought the single track off itunes for .99 (it is titled Ding Dong Merrily on High and lasts 3:36)

This the map out of the Dance. 
  • 2 lines with parners facing eachother (like alabama gal). Each student gets a ribbon--partners have the same color--each partnership alterntes green/red, etc, down the line). Partnerships hold ends of each ribbon. 
  • Assign red ribbons "ones" and green ribbons "twos" 
  • 4 beat intro
  • 1st two sets of 16 beats--twos walk forward and over in 4 steps, and ones step back and under. "Ones" walk forward and over while "twos" step back and under. (Repeats four times)
  • 16 beats: The entire line makes and arch while the head couple sashays down and back (we talked about trying to do this in 8 counts down and back to give more time to the for the next transition)
  • 16 counts: banana peal, head couple makes an arch while the other couples go through. 
  •  New lead couple, repeat
  • The dance repeats 6 times. 


I plan to do some activities with the Nutcracker. In the past, for some of my special ed classes, I have brought in actual steel nutcrackers and nuts to go with the story. They really enjoyed it.

I read a children's nutcracker book and do some fun activities with a couple of the nutcracker songs. TO BE CONTINTUED.


I am doing an around the world theme this year. I am trying to incorporate songs from various areas,
that go with my passports. See my post about my around the world theme HERE.

I took German in high school and was a German Exchange student for a month. I have great memories of learning O Tannenbaum in 4th grade and really want to teach it to my students of all grades. They love learning a new language.

I have made visuals and other things to go with this song and am excited to try them this week. My O Christmas tree pack includes visuals for both English and German, a Germany Christmas fact sheet,

 O Christmas Tree music (German and English)

O Christmas Tree Visual- one page for English Version

Rhythm and Solfa partial page photo

Get your O Christmas Tree Pack HERE.

The Twelve Days of Christmas with the whole school

Every year, right before Christmas, our school has an assembly where every class sings a Christmas song. The classroom teachers choose a song for them to sing. I help a little to teach the songs.

This year, they have asked me to sing one song with the whole school. I remember when my son was a kindergartener in Illinois that his music teacher had them do "the Twelve Days of Christmas" with motions. Each grade did different movements, so that is what we will do this year.

I made visual aids to go with our song and they are a big hit. My husband doesn't  know it yet, but I am going to have him play the piano for us that day. :-)

I had a first grader, who has made it very clear that he is a science guy and not a music guy. Yesterday as we were singing the Twelve Days of Christmas using my visuals, something really perked his interest and he asked me if I had this in a book form. I told him I would make a coloring book,
so here it is.