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Don’t recreate the wheel. That’s how I’m approaching today’s blog post on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. There are so many amazing ideas out there for teaching The Nutcracker. I felt that the best value for you would be in rounding them all up in one convenient location. You can easily skim through my descriptions to decide which lesson ideas you might want to pursue in your own classroom.

One thing’s for certain, you won’t be at a loss for ideas after reading through these posts! My absolute favorite idea, the paper plate routine, is one that you could easily include in a winter info-concert or holiday program. You’ll also find plenty of picture book recommendations, flashlight routines, and video suggestions.

USING FLASHLIGHTS TO TEACH FORM

In this fun post, Jennifer describes how to use flashlights to teach form. All you’ll need is red and green cellophane, rubber bands, and flashlights. Jennifer has great tips for making this work, and it’s such a fun and creative way for your students to learn about form!

LESSON IDEAS FOR K-5

Kelly shares ideas for each grade level in this comprehensive blog post. She discusses how picture books, podcast episodes, listening maps, and the new technology that revitalized her approach to teaching The Nutcracker. I especially love her idea for having her intermediate students create a new narrative surrounding the music.

FAVORITE NUTCRACKER LESSON IDEAS

As her title implies, Elizabeth shares her favorite lesson ideas for The Nutcracker. She has a video of fun movements you can do to reinforce form (a fantastic way to keep students moving). She also shares videos for rhythm play-alongs and different arrangements of The Nutcracker to present to your students.

PAPER PLATE AND CUP ROUTINES

I think Emily’s paper plate routine would be an excellent addition to any info-concert or winter program. It would be easy enough to teach and helps to reinforce the element of form. She also shares a cup game created by Eric Young, which she found on Pinterest. It’s yet another fun activity to reinforce form and rhythm.

TEACHING RHYTHMS WITH THE NUTCRACKER

If you’re a fan of foam manipulatives, you’ll enjoy this blog post! Tanya details how she uses foam shapes to teach rhythms and form. She shares how her students decoded rhythms using the manipulatives, and then created their own. I also love her idea for using Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride (a slowed down version) to practice rhythms!

THE NUTCRACKER SUITE MINI-MUSICAL PERFORMANCE

This post by Cara is strictly for those of you looking for performance ideas. Cara shares the musical she used, how she set up the stage, costumes, program flyers, and the happy accident that caused her students to sing a cappella.I hope these blog posts give you some new ideas for teaching The Nutcracker. For even more resources, check out my free SQUILT worksheets. SQUILT stands for Super Quiet Un-Interrupted Listening Time. You can use the worksheets to have students respond to specific elements in the music or simply draw a picture representing what they hear.

Last, but not least, check out this amazing playalong video from Musication.