Holiday Lesson Plan: The Nutcracker and

by Abby @ Quaver on December 11, 2012

in In the Quaver Classroom!

Are you teaching a Unit on the Nutcracker in your classroom this month?

Try adding in a few ideas from Quaver Teachers and
to take your Tchaikovsky fun to a whole new level!

Teacher-Created Listening Glyph:
from Sarah Jensen in Bismarck, North Dakota

Every December, I do a Unit in my class that begins with listening to different songs from The Nutcracker and watching clips online of the ballet. As a listening activity, we listen together to the March and then color in this listening glyph. It is a great review for some of the concepts that we learned in Quaver’s Theory episodes.

Quaver IWB Activities:

Sarah continues:
After completing the listening glyph, we will go back and review some of the activities at on Beat, Dynamics, and Tempo to help remind us what to listen for in the music. The IWB activities that I use are:

  • Tempo:
    • Tempo Treadmill
    • Train the Brain
    • QLibs
  • Beat:
    • Train the Brain
  • Dynamics:
    • Train the Brain
    • Long and Short sounds
    • QLibs

Your Classrooms now have both Level 1 (K-1) and Level 2 (2-3) Train the Brain & QLibs activities, so you can customize the level for each class. Also – you don’t need to do these all at once! We do a few and talk about what the tempo is for the March from the Nutcracker. What is the dynamic level? Is there a steady beat? Are the sounds long or short? At the end of the mini-unit, we’d color in the glyph!


QDancer Follow-up Activity:
From Amanda Gonzales in Rincon, GA

During the Christmas season my students and I both enjoy viewing/studying the Nutcracker.  We enjoy using QDancer for follow-up activities. Here is what we do:

Log in at and go to the Studio!

  1. Build a dance:
    • First, we select our style (ballet) costumes and scenery.
    • Second, we load our play along track.  You can choose a track you or the class have previously created, or you may load a Quaver-created track.
    • After listening to our play-along track,  we select a simple pattern of ballet moves.  You can choose from stationary, traveling and transition moves.
    • When your class has the ballet completed, click showtime and watch your creation!
  2. Practice time:  As a class we practice all the ballet moves.
  3. Showtime: Time to shine! After we have practiced all the ballet moves, click “Showtime” and dance along with the ballet.  My boys aren’t interested in dancing the ballet as princesses, so I make crowns for the boys to wear.  They become the princes and dance alongside the girls. Teacher tip: You can sometimes get free crowns at Burger King!
  4. Take Home Activity: I give the girls a magic wand coloring sheet and the boys a crown coloring sheet.  They can play dress up at home and perform the ballet for their parents!


You can also send your students on a virtual field trip to hear the Nutcracker tunes
in our FREE Ballet Venue via the Metro!

What activities would you add to your Nutcracker Unit?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Tammy Thiele December 13, 2012 at 11:18 pm

I like the glyph idea, Sarah. In our lesson, I decided this year to incorporate the concept of form. I preceded our viewing of the Nutcracker Suite with a couple weeks of ABC form for 1st grade, incorporating the “What’s the Form” IWB and also some movement activities. While listening to “The March” in the Nutcracker movie the following week, students were able to identify the ABC form they heard. They were also able to tie in form with dance patterns.


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