Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Centers

Hello and happy almost-to-winter-break!

I've noticed that the closer we get to the two-week break, the more distracted the students get. I've been trying something different this year to channel their energy- Christmas centers! The class is divided into four groups and they have about 7 minutes at each center.

Each grade level has 2 centers focused on a rhythm or melodic concept they've been working on and 2 centers focused on Christmas music.

Here is an example with 4th grade:

Center 1: SMART Board
Christmas Around the World

Aileen Miracle's excellent Christmas Around the World file has pictures, information, and video links showing how Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the world. The students love it!

Center 2: Ti Tika Flashcard playing

At this station students practice playing rhythms.

Thanks to Glitter Meets Glue for the snowflake clipart

Center 3: Santa Hats Post Office

The Santa Hat post office games have been a big hit in my classroom!

The students spread their cards out in front of them and then take turns calling out a card for the others to find. I let them choose between speaking the rhythm with rhythm syllables or clapping. It's interesting to see which students choose to clap and challenge their classmates! In third grade I'm calling all the cards and using this activity as an assessment for identifying patterns with tikka tikka.

Center 4: Nutcracker Selections Listening

This center includes headphones, an old iPod touch, and rhythm play a longs for Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy and Russian Dance (Trepak) We have practiced the play a longs in class together as a large group. I give students the option to play a long or just listen to the selections. Many choose to play along.

For most of the classes I am able to "float" and help with any technical difficulties or group disputes, (which occasionally seem to surface!) For 3rd and 2nd grade I've been able to assess students at the post office center.

It's been a more relaxed time then I usually have this time of year and the kids have enjoyed the variety! This week I'll be doing sing a longs to finish December.

I hope you are having a great time in your classroom. Do you have activities you love to use this time of year? Please share!


  1. What a great idea! I may need to try it next year.

  2. What wonderful ideas! And thanks for the shout-out! :) Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!