How to Create Teacher Holiday Happiness

How to Create Teacher Holiday Happiness

I don’t know about you-but if I leave a mess in my classroom in December–I start the new year off with a bad attitude. I know teachers who will leave school and return over their break to clean up and get things ready in January. That might work for you–me?  uh-uh! I like to leave everything ready for the first day back. It’s the way I create my own teacher holiday happiness.



I usually travel to see family during the breaks, so I have to have things in order before I leave. I may have to work on some of my power points and planning, but my room is pretty well tidied up and ready for that Monday morning class.

As you can see, I’ve covered everything up so that when the custodians come in there’s not a lot of dust all over my instruments. And, there’s no sign of the holidays or programs from the past.  I even have my January puppets set out on top of the piano so I can use them to greet students when we return in January.



So when I get back from the break, I’ll do a mini review the rules of the classroom with Mr. and Mrs. Snowman (who are placed on the top of the piano). They also help me teach some new songs to my K-2nd graders.

Since I’ve been teaching a while now, I have a lot of different resources I could use. Sometimes my biggest challenge is now what to do-but which one of those lessons do I WANT or SHOULD do?

Here’s some things I’ve learned the hard way-


I’ve learned to keep that first week back very simple. Everyone’s going to need some adjustment time.Everyone is now going to be working hard on Rhythm and Notation whether through a Kodaly song, or an Orff arrangement, Guitars or Ukuleles, or Keyboards.

Next I’ll go deeper into the Winter themed lessons.  We’ll start the year off with some games for reviewing rhythms and then week 2 I’ll get right into Pitch and Notation.


Finally, the third quarter is the best learning quarter and so I focus on some of the hardest concepts and skills during JANUARY, FEBRUARY AND MARCH.


K-2 will sing about Martin Luther King Orff Arrangement.

And we’ll combine learning to sing and play with a movement activity!

My Kinders LOVE this puppet video. Getting right back into creative movement songs is a nice way to transition the primary grades back into routines and procedures.   I made the video using puppets and the kids love it because I have the real ones help me teaching!

  “Hey Mr. Snowman” Movement Activity and Literacy Resource









Have you noticed that first graders love short songs and poems?  I’ll be doing Winter themed stations using Winter Songs and Rhythms in Stations using this resource:

WINTER SONGS AND RHYTHMSWinter Chants and Songs with Rhythms-Body Percussion-Instruments & Notes

Winter Music Chants and Songs: Rhythms-Body Percussion-Instruments & Notes








And always, we are working on developing singing voices. This time with animated penguins-

Vocal Explorations and Music Lesson: Penguin Winter Music Class Activities










First Graders will be working on their program too; “Making Friends Around the World Through Music”.

They’ll be singing an original song: “I LIKE YOU”











A song from Japan, Denmark and ZIMBABWE.  I purchased this amazing bundle from “Organized Chaos” because it’s an authentic Japanese song!
Ame Ame: Japanese song lesson set to teach pentatonic, 6/8











3rd Graders will Continue learning to play Ukulele’s . I’ve been using Pitch Publications “Rainbow Ukulele” program and it’s a fantastic resource. The lessons focus on note reading and playing chords. I love the fact that there are tons of materials, songs and recordings, student books and more that I can use to help students learn to play instruments. This happens to be one of the few resources that I’ve purchased and one I highly recommend. Just to be transparent- I did not receive any remuneration for presenting this resource to you!

Ukulele Program - Rainbow Ukulele {BUNDLE} - Lessons, Pres








It’s a great time in the school year to get down to the basics. This music theory resource covers grades K-6 with most rhythms and note values including lesson ideas and printables to help students develop Music literacy skills. I use the video in my upper elementary classes. I divide them into 2 teams and then tell them they have to play every other slide- and also switch people. Line up students in a straight vertical line-standing up! Each person on the team takes a turn playing the rhythms.

Music Theory Note Values *I Can's *Rhythms Levels 1-2-3







It’s a great resource to combine with recorder lessons or orff instruments.


In addition to the music theory resource, I use this orff arrangement and song to then have them play instruments after our rhythm warm up.

Orff Game Song:









My 6th graders will continue with Guitars learning folk songs in the Key of C, G and A. “Dragonfly” is a multi-use resource to learn Solfege along with Chords for Ukulele and Guitar and an Orff Arrangement.
Music Class Kodaly & Orff Lesson: Song







My Chorus will be singing: “ALL AROUND THE WORLD”

Choral Song: "All Around the World" Elementary 2 Part, Friendship-Unity-Peace










 Some people have an easy time with this–I don’t. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about things I need-should-want-to do in regards to my classroom and lessons. I’m hoping this year to make some progress on letting go better. For me, I love to watch old movies, and so I’ll be watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”, which is my favorite and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”…and of course I’ll watch some that my grandchildren will pick out for me.

I’ll also listen to some of my favorite Christmas songs and groups. And I’ll try to catch some kind of a concert or at least a televised special.

What’s Important to you?

Mainly,  what’s important to me is having the time to spend doing things with my family who live far away..I just pretend that I’m Santa and have to ride in my sleigh to get to the houses where I’ll deliver my gifts of joy!











You may want to check out the January Monthly Bundle with tons of materials for your K-6 Music Classroom.

January Music LessonsJanuary Music Class Lesson Bundle: Songs, Games, Worksheets, Mp3 TracksLooking forward to a great Holiday Break!

January Music Class Lesson Bundle: Songs, Games, Worksheets, Mp3 Tracks









Happy Holidays!













Share these ideas with your teacher friends!


Tips from Sing play create to maximize teacher holiday happiness.Learn how to create holiday teacher happiness.

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