November 20, 2013
November 20, 2013
Since Christmas is right around the corner, I would like to share with you a warm, cozy activity, which we have been doing with our students every December for over twenty-five years.
At the end of class in December, instead of playing a game, we practice Christmas songs. The Christmas songs they learn are "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," "Jingle Bells," "White Christmas" and "Silent Night." These songs are played on CD players when the students enter the classroom and while they are copying the blackboard. This way, they absorb the melody and lyrics subliminally and become familiar with them naturally.
The first week, the students are handed prints of the lyrics to the songs. The prints are illustrated with appealing Christmas images. The teacher slowly recites the lyrics, breaking them into easy to understand phrases, after which the students repeat. Then the teacher and students sing each song together. The students are then encouraged to take the prints home and practice with their families.
During the second and third week, the same procedure is repeated, and the students gain confidence as the songs become more familiar and enjoyable to sing.
By the last week, the students know the songs and do not need to look at the prints. We turn the lights off in the classrooms, light an array of Christmas candles and sing our four Christmas songs. It is really beautiful for me to see the candlelight shine on the precious faces of the children as we sing together. As is the tradition at our school, we then all make a Christmas wish and blow the candles out. We also sing via candlelight at the conclusion of our annual Christmas party, and the effect is just as beautiful. The parents are inevitably moved that their children can sing these songs from memory. And needless to say, the magical mood of Christmas touches everyone.