Image Map

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Teacher Tuesday: Movement Ideas for Winter

Last week I shared 5 tips for incorporating more movement into elementary general music lessons. Today I am sharing a few of the specific movement activities I have done this winter that have worked really well. Even if you have already finished your Nutcracker and Sleigh Ride lessons for the year, I hope these ideas will spark new ones for you as well!

This first activity is a cup routine to go with "Sleigh Ride" that I did with my kindergartners. I saw a video from another music teacher a while ago with a cup routine to the same piece for middle school age students (which I have since lost track of...) and I decided to make a VERY simple version to do with my kindergarten students, since I am seeing them a few extra times before winter break this year. The students loved it, and it was a great way to introduce the concept of form without really consciously discussing it. I introduced the lesson by teaching them the words to the A section ("just hear those sleigh bells..."), and then having them do the cup pattern for just the A section every time they heard it. We then went back and added the B and C sections and talked about the horse sounds (and what instruments they used).

The next set of movement activities go with the Sugar Plum Fairy, March, and Trepak (Russian) Dances from "The Nutcracker". I used these activities with my second graders, and it was by far their favorite unit so far! For each piece I told them to copy me while I did the movements, then we discussed what we did and figured out the form. I then had the students perform the movements by themselves so they could listen to the music and show the form with their movements. For the March and Trepak, we also transferred the rhythms of the movements to percussion instruments. For the Sugar Plum Fairy, we pretended to be painters. I heard the idea of pretending to be a painter with a different piece from another music teacher recently and when I tried it with this piece it fit perfectly!

P.S. Sorry about my appearance- we had an assembly that day...

I hope you find these ideas useful- they were a huge success in my classroom and I will definitely be using them again next year!


  1. I love the cup routine. What a great way to reinforce steady beat in a fun way :)

  2. Love the nutcracker music! And your high kicks!

  3. Replies
    1. I got some extra stacking cups from the PE teacher- those are awesome if you can borrow some from your colleague- but my other recommendation is the kid's plastic cups from IKEA. Very affordable and extremely durable.

    2. Thank you! I really enjoy your lessons and resources!