It feels like it should be so far in the future, but December and our winter concerts are right around the corner!! This year will be my first with this school, so I am super excited and wanted to do something special. I also wanted to make sure that my kids had a hand in choosing what they would perform, so I asked them what came to mind when they thought about the holidays. They mentioned family gatherings, presents (of course!!!), great food, songs they liked to sing and Christmas movies. They lit up while they were talking about it!!

We then spoke about what could we use from our list to create a performance. They came up with a lot of great ideas, but my favorites were from 1st, 3rd and 4th!

  • The first graders spoke about their love of the book/ movie The Polar Express.
    • We read it and they brainstormed ideas about what to sing/ perform. The most popular idea was for us to choose a page and make it into a song.
    • I looked online for songs used in the movie and really liked the song “Hot Chocolate”. It refers to the page where the kids are all in the train and eager to get their candies and hot chocolate! It is rhythmic and very cool!
    • In total Note Knacks fashion, I came up with the idea of the class creating a rhythmic piece involving a “hot chocolate’ ostinato OR an A section. I haven’t decided yet, as I haven’t had a chance to discuss it with the kids. Stay tuned!!
  • The third graders were interested in playing the hand chimes and the fourth graders were interested in singing “Carol of the Bells”. Since “Carol of the Bells” has a hand chime part, it occurred to me to have 4th sing, while 3rd plays.
    • The only “problem” was that the third would have to put off playing recorders until January, as there isn’t enough time to do both. They were more than fine with this!!!

We here at Note Knacks, of course, will be a continuing resource for you as you plan your concerts with composition and accompaniment ideas, but without a textbook series to help, I have to say that both J.W. Pepper and K-8 Music were a huge help!! I found an excellent  unison arrangement of Carol of the Bells and I love their Away in A Manger/ Star Light, Star Bright partner song arrangement (if you can do it in your school)!!
A subscription to K-8 Music is expensive, but they do provide free resources!! (Thank goodness!!) A couple of my younger classes are singing “A Million Little Snowflakes” and “Peaceful”. They are great songs that are simple enough for the little ones, but still beautiful! They provide the music, words AND an MP3!! Love them!!

If there are any resources that you have used in the past, PLEASE share below!!