This year, I followed through on an idea I had last year to create a gigantic 15-20' Christmas tree on my windows and have 1st- and 2nd-grade students create "rhythm ornaments." What I didn't anticipate was every other grade wanting to participate as well! Here's how we did it.
Visualizing the Full-size Tree
In order to get the dimensions exactly how I wanted them, I taped one end of yarn to the star, then taped the other end to how wide I wanted the base to be. Once the yarn was in place, I took a yard stick and measured the dimensions I would cut the paper for each panel.
I ended up including 3rd-grade with the ornaments, which meant the ornaments had to get smaller to fit 250+ on the tree. I played around with a few objects and found that boomwhackers were a perfect size for my tree!
4th and 5th-grade Snowflakes
Because my school has 620+ students, I knew there was no way I was going to get every student on the tree. Then a colleague suggested snowflakes around the tree and it ended up being such a perfect idea! It also helped with the workload, because the students made the snowflakes themselves.
Proud Students (and Teachers)
The result of this experiment was better than I had hoped. Proud students stopped by to show their friends which ornament or snowflake they made, and families and teachers got to see their students create something fun using what they learned in Music class. Everybody loved watching the scene grow larger and larger throughout the week.
What do you think of the Rhythm Wonderland? Have you put something similar on your windows? Let me know in the comments!
My name is Nick Dolan, and I'm an elementary music teacher and choir director. I'm here to talk about teaching music!