Thinking about Christmas practicing ideas or activities for your child?
Or looking for different ways to make your child’s Holiday season meaningful?
How about working on giving, rather than receiving gifts this Christmas?
May I suggest one activity I do that has been very successful in the past. You can do this activity at home with your child, in a private music lesson environment, or with a bigger classroom.
I do a Christmas Giving Calendar. This activity has worked well with my elementary students and 6th graders. This year I am doing it with a high school group as a part of their last day of school and they are enthusiastic about it.
I draw a simple calendar with empty windows on the board. I draw as many calendar window as days we have left till Christmas break. I keep it on the board for the duration of the activity. My calendar has as many days as we have left from the beginning of the activity till the last class of the school year.
Not enough space on the board? Your younger students will be happy to create a calendar for the class! This will also engage them and make the activity even more meaningful.
If you decide to do this with your own child at home or use in a classroom- See also this post with free printable advent random acts of kindness calendars.
The students then are encouraged to think about different ways to give back through music. Examples are playing a concert or piece for somebody, attending a benefit concert, talking to a younger child about the benefits of music education, helping younger students in the program, etc.
What I am especially interested in is having students develop community by being kind and supportive of each other. I talk to them about noticing someone else’s positive behavior or improvement during the year. Appreciating another student then also goes on the calendar.
Every day at the end of class, the kids report the positive things they have done or saw someone else do. Then we write it on the calendar spot for that day.
At the end of the project, the kids whose names are on the Christmas Giving Calendar receive a thank you card from me!
This year with my older students I am doing the sam Christmas activity slightly different. Instead of a calendar, they have a secret Santa pal. They are to notice positive things their pal is doing in class, both in terms of character and classroom improvement. At the very last day before horstmas reak they are to write a Christmas card to their secret pal appreciating them for what they have done well.
If you decide to do this activity at home-engage the whole family in a Christmas giving practice. Have your child and the rest of the household appreciate each other for a specific thing they do well, do random kindness gestures, etc.
What could be more wonderful than engaging children to be kind to each other?
Soon after the start of the activity, more kids want to see their names on the calendar and they get more engaged in the project.
In my work as a music educator I feel that my practice changed once I realized that I am not just teaching music, but I am helping a child grow as a person. This is just one tiny way to move in that direction.
End of Year Help for Classrooms:
In a school environment, this becomes very helpful. We normally do our concerts at the last week of school. Right after the concert there are always one or two “empty” days. The kids are done performing and there isn’t much else to do music-wise. This activity helps my orchestra students to have a meaningful activity on the day right after the concert and before Christmas break.