Reply To: Strategies for a Kindergarten Holiday Program

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Hi Joshua!
I can relate to this! I teach an “all school” winter sing along assembly each year, and it’s always a challenge to come up with songs that the littles can tackle, but not be too boring for the olders. As such, it sounds like you are doing a strict K program, so here are my thoughts…

1. MOVE, MOVE, MOVE! Even on risers, you can incorporate some very basic choreography into songs that help kids memorize lyrics. This is a MUST for almost ALL of my kinder curriculum.
2. Separate the song by class: ie: class A sings verse 1, all sing chorus, class B sings verse 2, all sing chorus, etc….
3. Bring special guests… special adults (ie: their teacher, or especially community/district stakeholders!) can come dressed up in something you provide (a fun hat or something?) and sing a verse or song with kids.
4. Incorporate lyric-writing (composition)…. change the words of a harder song, use the same tune, and make it tie-in with regular-ed topics or your theme.
5. Use songs that have repeating parts: ie: “Feliz Navidad”, “Jingle Bells”, “Must Be Santa”, etc. Don’t forget to move!
6. Check out resources from Music K-8 magazine (Plank Road Publishing), as they write great inclusionary winter-y songs in every winter issue. I think I have like, 6 years worth of their stuff, and it’s worth every penny for the subscription… however you can just go online and buy individual stuff for cheap!
7. Throw in songs that are not even wintery- but are just plain fun to sing. Your students and your audience won’t care that you snuck those in! 🙂 In my school, the rule is, every concert has to have at least ONE song that makes their parents cry…. the sappy-spotlight!!
8. Assign actual kinders (with teacher help in picking who..) speaking parts. Short lines, that kinda rhyme, and are easy to memorize. Do AS LITTLE talking yourself, as you possibly can. Teach kids ahead of time how to use a mic.
9. Shakey-Bangy Things!! in modest amounts: tambourines, jingles, egg shakers, oh my!
10. Print lyrics or PDF them, and give to all adults that those kinders come in contact with… their reading teacher, English Language teacher, etc… will thank you!
11. Make a CD of all those songs (with someone singing it!) and have teachers play in the background during “free choice” time during regular class. Give one to PE guy, and have him play in the background of PE activities. Play it in the cafeteria during lunch!
12. Send home a note in the weekly school newsletter about words to songs, or where to find the YouTube links so kids can practice at home.
13. Make your own classroom website, and include all the practice materials.

Well… sheesh, that’s 13 ideas. I’m sure people have many more! Good luck, and if you want me to give you all “my stuff”, just email me! That goes for anyone else reading this, too! 🙂

Happy Festivus!
Val Ellett, NW Representative, NAfME Council for General Music Education