When I started at my school, there was already a traditional "holiday-sing." Every year on the last day of school in December, we'd file into the gym and each grade level would sing a song or two, and we'd do some carols together. This was fine and dandy, but I decided I wanted something that would be more conducive to bringing the whole school together on more than one day. Thus, our new holiday celebration has been birthed.
Each year now, for the past five years, I have chosen a famous book made into a movie. (We've done Polar Express, The Grinch, Charlie Brown Christmas, Elf, and this year The Year Without a Santa Claus). We create a whole school theme for the entire month. I provide classroom teachers with cross curricular activities to go along with our theme, and they create some of their own. The PTO has come on board and they decorate the entire school to go with our theme. It always looks incredible.
Then, for the music, I teach each grade level one or two songs from the film or movie. I buy performance tracks and the music ahead of time, of course. I then write a readers theater or play that the faculty acts out based on the movie/book. The students stand and interject their music at the appropriate time, to tie things together, while they remain enthralled throughout the assembly, watching their teachers perform. Some teachers have even been willing to sing solos. Our superintendent and principal even participate!
Both faculty and staff dress in costumes this day as well. We gift prizes for the students who look most like the characters in the book/movie. Almost 100 % of our faculty and staff dress up. We love this day!
Before the performance, I make a funny movie of the characters for the year taking over the school that has multiple faculty members in it. This is always a fun highlight.
Parents come and watch the performance as well. Communities collaborate on costumes and overall, everyone is just psyched. This has been such a huge community builder for our school and is something we pride ourselves on.
I love that the music the students are working on has a theme and works together so well, instead of being randomly pieced together. The music is learned in class, but throughout December, students are taught music from other cultures and traditions as well, as part of their music learning.
Enjoy a few pictures from past years' festivities. I will post about this year's amazement after it is over! I can't wait to hear what you do and get ideas too!
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