Image Map

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Bring Winter to the Music Room

One of the easiest ways to make class more engaging, especially in those challenging months when students are preoccupied with upcoming vacations, is to incorporate the very thing they're thinking about into the lesson itself! This time of year, referencing winter themes can be a great way to engage students without worrying about excluding anyone with a specific holiday.

1. Snowball Fights

Such an easy way to practice/ review vocabulary, notation, or facts! Write words, notes, definitions, questions, or other prompts on pieces of paper and crumple them up into snowballs. Split the class into 2 sides and give each side a set of snowballs. Each side could even make barricades with chairs. Each side throws the "snowballs" at the other side. Any snowballs that hit the other team (or get past the barricade or line on the floor etc), the other side has to open and answer.

You could do this to review letter names by writing notes on a staff and having students identify them by letter, write musical terminology like dynamic and tempo words and have students give the definition, put pictures of instruments and have students identify the correct instrument family.... so many ways to go with this game!

2. Manipulatives

I love using manipulatives for composition (read this post for what I use and how), and this time of year I love pulling out winter shapes like snowflakes, snowmen, mittens, and hats. I've found little sticker shapes, mini erasers, and foam cutouts in these shapes and they're so easy to use! You can also use little cotton balls as manipulatives and call them snowballs :)

3. Winter Stories

I have a few books that I love to use for music lessons, especially with my Kindergarten students, that refer to winter. Click on the pictures to see my detailed plans for each of the books below- they are seriously some of my favorite lessons to teach!

4. Winter Songs and Music

Of course one of the best ways to incorporate winter is to use music with a winter theme! You'll find tons of lesson ideas to go with Sleigh Ride and The Nutcracker below, and here are some ideas for Vivaldi's Winter, and here are some for Frosty Weather.

I hope this gives you some ideas for easy ways to bring the season to your classroom without too much extra effort- it always makes school a little more fun for the students and for me when I change things up a little to fit with the season! I also wrote a similar post with ideas for incorporating summer themes if you're reading this by the pool (luck you!):

If you want to continue seeing more timely and helpful ideas and resources, be sure to sign up for the Organized Chaos newsletter. Click here to sign up!


  1. Can you share your basic behavior expectations of your snowball fight? Can only throw 3 snowballs, can only pick up 1 snowball, quiet signal to stop....etc thanks!

    1. So there is no back and forth throwing in my snowball fights- the snowballs only go one direction per round. Each student has one snowball, and then from their positions on opposite sides, they each throw their one snowball. They aren't allowed to run around and pick up the ones that are on the floor- they stay on their side and have to answer the ones that make it to their area. Sometimes I'll have them all pick one up to throw back for round #2 but it works the same way- each person gets one throw.