Children's Church, Elementary Music

Christmas Tree Hunt and Music Charades

So I started my TPT shop in September. So when it came to Christmas, I said, “I’m only going to make one or two Christmas products.” Then I made five.

Three of them are from my classroom, so it’s not as bad as it sounds.

Then I said, I’m not going to make any more Christmas products.

And then I made Arre Mi Burrito. And no more products.

Annnnd….. then I made this.

My Children’s Church is having a Christmas party, and I wanted to a “Christmas tree hunt” and Christmas music charades.

And then I thought…. I should combine them.

And here we are.

You can get my version here, or you can make your own.

If you are interested in more Christmas lessons, I have one about Oh Christmas Tree (with a free product in my resource library!), one about the 12 Days of Christmas, and you can check out all my Christmas products on TPT here.

If you enjoy this post, make sure you sign up for the newsletter, so you never miss a post! I post lesson plans, DIYs, and self care in the music room. You will also get access to the FREE resource library– where I post freebies monthly to help you with your music room. Current freebies include heartbeat charts, Christmas Tree lyric sheets, treble clef quiz, and more! Sign up here!

 

 



Christmas Tree Hunt and Christmas Music Charades

  • Print or cut out some Christmas tree shapes. Write the names of Christmas songs on each tree. You can get already made ones in my TPT shop!
  • Next, hide them around the room.
  • Have students find the Christmas trees– it helps if there is a timer!
  • Put up a list of all of the Christmas music included in your trees. If you buy my product, it comes with one. This is optional, but it is helpful for some of the more obscure Christmas songs.
  • Once they have found the trees, play Christmas music charades. If you are not familiar with charades, you break the class into two groups. Have one person come up and act out the name of one of the songs on the cards (I have them use the cards they found). Their team (team A) has to guess the name within a certain amount of time. If they guess, they get a point. If not, the other team (team B) has a chance to guess that one. If they guess it, then they will get a point. Then it is team B’s turn. After each turn, play a little bit of the Christmas music so that the students can hear it.
  • If the teams are too much, then you can just have the whole class try to guess.



Another option: You can play Pictionary. This has basically the same format, but one person from each team draws a picture of the the title of the song at the same time, and whichever team guesses first wins. I like to use white boards or chart paper.

So there you go– it’s not anything crazy or magical, but it was super fun. I paired it with the song Oh Christmas Tree (because why not?), but it would be super fun with any Christmas song, like the 12 Days of Christmas. Both of those two links take you to blog posts that are both games based off of those songs. The Oh Christmas Tree post comes with a free download of the lyric sheet, so make sure you check that out.

Don’t forget to pick up the Christmas trees in my TPT shop here!

And of course, if you need a few more things to do this holiday season, you can head over to my TPT shop and check out the Christmas in the Music Room bundle, which has all of the Christmas lessons I currently have.

If you want my Christmas tree song name cards, you can get them here.

What are your favorite Christmas lessons? Do you prefer Christmas music charades or pictionary? Let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching!





Christmas tree hunt + Music charades is perfect for having fun celebrating the holidays! You can use this game for elementary music, choir, or even as a Christmas party game! Becca's Music Room
Christmas tree hunt + Music charades is perfect for having fun celebrating the holidays! You can use this game for elementary music, choir, or even as a Christmas party game! Becca's Music Room
Christmas tree hunt + Music charades is perfect for having fun celebrating the holidays! You can use this game for elementary music, choir, or even as a Christmas party game! Becca's Music Room
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Self Care

Music Teachers’ Guide to Self Care During the Holidays

The Holiday season is the best time of the year. Everyone is a little happier and gives a little bit more. It’s full of sparkle and music and peppermint everything. But everyone knows the Holidays can get stressful. That is even more true when you are a music teacher. If you are not careful, music teachers can quickly burn out during the Holidays. So this year, I– and now you!– am getting super intentional with my self care during the Holidays.

December is the absolute busiest month of the year for me, and I assume for you as well. My students perform in concerts, we have parties and field trips, I perform in concerts, my church kids have concerts– and that is on top of the normal Christmas festivities. Both my family and my husband’s family live near us, which means we have a lot of Christmas festivities. And then there is the end of the semester madness with grades and assessments…. it’s no wonder that music teachers are especially stressed out this time of year.

My usual strategy for music teacher self care during the Holidays is to basically do my best to sleep when I can and hold on for dear life until Christmas break.

But let me tell you, that is not a strategy for music teacher self care during the Holidays.

My wake up call came when I looked at the schedule for this school year. Normally we have at least a week off before Christmas– and during that time, I clean, shop, wrap presents, etc. This year, we get out on Friday the 20. That means there is the weekend, the 23, and Christmas Eve. Now, the whole reason I shop over winter break is because no one is at the stores. But surely people will be off that Monday and Tuesday. Which means there is no peaceful I’m-off-work-but-no-one-else-is shopping.

In addition, between church program and mom’s birthday and seeing all of the family, I don’t have a lot of time left over for baking and cleaning and making presents, which I usually do, and wrapping.

Now, I don’t say any of that to sound ungrateful. I love the Holidays. I love the concerts. I love the programs. I love seeing all of the family.

But I also know if I normally am stressed out, this year has the potential to be extra stressful.

So, my point in all of this is to say that I am being very intentional about my music teacher self care during the Holidays this year– and you should too! So let’s talk about specific ways that you can do that down below!

If you enjoy this post, make sure you sign up for the newsletter, so you never miss a post! I post lesson plans, DIYs, and self care in the music room. You will also get access to the FREE resource library– where I post freebies monthly to help you with your music room. Current freebies include heartbeat charts, Christmas Tree lyric sheets, treble clef quiz, and more! Sign up here!

Music Teachers' Guide to Self Care During the Holidays-- Being a music teacher is stressful enough, but the holidays magnify that. Between concerts and field trips and parties and grades and then all of the normal holiday stuff, it is really easy for music teachers to get really stressed out. This post includes actionable, practical tips to help keep you sane this holiday season! Becca's Music Room

Write Down Everything

I know, you thought that I was going to start by saying that you should take a bubble bath or get a coffee, right?

Wrong.

We’re going to kick off this guide to music teacher self care during the Holidays with getting your life together. how do you do that? Write down EVERYTHING that you will need to do during the stressful season. Grades, choir kid presents, wrapping, shopping, baking, field trip planning, etc. Write everything down. It is going to be a massive list. It’s going to get overwhelming.

Then…..

Automate, Delegate, and Eliminate

Once you have all of you items down, look and make sure that you actually have to do them all. Chances are, there are some things that you could delegate to someone else.

For example, I don’t need to spend a bunch of time cleaning my classroom when I could hold a few fifth graders back and have them clean up the room right after class. This gives me an extra five-ten minutes of work time, and allows me to reward some of my hard working students.

Or maybe you could delegate baking or decorating to your spouse of your kids if they are old enough. Or maybe you buy some lessons of sub plans off of TPT so that you don’t have to come up with them.

There may be something you could automate to make life easier– like maybe you order your meal plans or use a Roomba to vacuum the floors. Maybe you automate procedures, like having your choir students come into your room for rehearsal and immediately start stretching on their own instead of you guiding them through stretches.

What can you eliminate from your to do list? Surely there are some things on there that are cool, but not necessary.

Something I am eliminating? This year, in December, I am not writing blog posts. I usually do, but as I looked at the things I needed to do and thought about how busy I would be, I decided that I needed to drop something. I decided that would be blog posts.

Something else I am dropping? Grading a bunch of papers. I usually give my students one-two written assignments per month. In December, I am doing almost all of my grades through observation so that I won’t have to grade, keep up with, and store a whole bunch of papers. It is something super small, but I think it will make life just a little bit easier.

Music Teachers' Guide to Self Care During the Holidays-- Being a music teacher is stressful enough, but the holidays magnify that. Between concerts and field trips and parties and grades and then all of the normal holiday stuff, it is really easy for music teachers to get really stressed out. This post includes actionable, practical tips to help keep you sane this holiday season! Becca's Music Room
Weekly spread from my TPT product.

Schedule it all in– Including Your Self Care

Now that you have your super overwhelming list– which is hopefully a little shorter after your last step– you need to assign those tasks to a day. The problem with to do lists is that they are just overwhelming piles of tasks. But when you actually sit down and determine when you will do those tasks, it is a lot less overwhelming.

I use my weekly spread from my to do list product on TPT, and I just go ahead and print out enough for the whole month. Then I start with this week and write things down. When I get to the point where I know I will not get anything else done (especially on days when there are meetings or field trips), I don’t add anything else to that day– it goes to the next day.

Also important to schedule? Your self care. This is normally done outside of school, so I do it in my Full Focus Planner (you can get it here or watch a walk through video I did here). I decide on some things that I am going to do to take care of myself and I write. Them. Down. Just like any other task I need to do. This includes things like have lunch with husband or go for a run or take a bath. It also includes intentionally not scheduling anything for periods of time– especially if we just ended something big. So if I just had a concert last night, I am going to schedule in extra time where I don’t schedule in any time the next day.

Yes, I schedule in time to not schedule anything.

Is anyone else over here a 1?

Why? Because being a music teacher during the Holidays, if you don’t get intentionally about blocking off time in your schedule for you, IT WON’T HAPPEN. Life will happen and the to do list will happen. You need to schedule in time for you– even if that means scheduling in time to do nothing.

Music Teachers' Guide to Self Care During the Holidays-- Being a music teacher is stressful enough, but the holidays magnify that. Between concerts and field trips and parties and grades and then all of the normal holiday stuff, it is really easy for music teachers to get really stressed out. This post includes actionable, practical tips to help keep you sane this holiday season! Becca's Music Room
Full Focus Planner before I started to schedule everything in.

Get Things Done Early

I have the benefit of time right now– as I am writing this, we are only half way through November. If you are reading this on December 24, then you may want to just file this away for next year.

Get things done early. If you know that a particular week is going to be really busy, do anything you can ahead of time. That may mean cleaning the weekend before, or freezing dinners to eat that week, or doing extra grades the week before so that you don’t have to stress about those things the week of all of the stuff.

You know grades will be due. You know that you will need to make a Christmas program. You know that you will need to rehearse with your kiddos. You know you need to buy presents for your parents. Don’t put those things off!

Don’t get bombarded with things to do– if you know it is coming, get it done early!

Stay Present and Enjoy Yourself

Newsflash! The Holidays are supposed to be fun.

And so is music.

You probably started music because you enjoyed it and you liked performing– don’t let that get buried under a mountain of to do lists.

I know its hard, but try to stay present. That means keeping your mind on the RIGHT NOW, not on the other stuff. That is the whole reason why we wrote them down and scheduled them in– now that they are down on a calendar, you don’t need to keep all of those tasks in your brain anymore. You can be confident that they will get done when they should, so you don’t need to worry about them.

So don’t worry about them. When you are making cookies with your kids, just focus on that. If you are driving around looking at Christmas lights, just do that. If you are working on your Christmas program, then just do that. Focus on what you are doing, and remember to enjoy it.

Music Teachers' Guide to Self Care During the Holidays-- Being a music teacher is stressful enough, but the holidays magnify that. Between concerts and field trips and parties and grades and then all of the normal holiday stuff, it is really easy for music teachers to get really stressed out. This post includes actionable, practical tips to help keep you sane this holiday season! Becca's Music Room

Alright, so that is the ultimate guide to music teacher self care during the holidays. Looking for ideas for what to do for self care? You can read this post (Ways to Destress After a Long Day of Teaching) for specific ideas of what to do for yourself this Holiday season.

What would you add to our list for self care during the holidays? Let us know down below!

Happy Holidays!

Music Teachers' Guide to Self Care During the Holidays-- Being a music teacher is stressful enough, but the holidays magnify that. Between concerts and field trips and parties and grades and then all of the normal holiday stuff, it is really easy for music teachers to get really stressed out. This post includes actionable, practical tips to help keep you sane this holiday season! Becca's Music Room
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Elementary Music, K-2, Lessons

Christmas Rhythm Composition with K-1

When it comes to rhythm, especially in the younger grades, some things are easier to teach than others. Making rhythms that match songs– easy. Repeating rhythms– easy. Even reading rhythms– easy. But what about improvisation and composition? That’s a little harder. I talked about improvisation and how I set that up in my Rain v. Llueva lesson (which was fabulous!). Today I’m going to talk about composition. Specifically, Christmas composition.

Because it’s time for Christmas lessons!

In this lesson, I am going to talk about how I set up the Christmas composition activity. I took parts of this and broke them apart over a few lessons, supplemented with some Christmas lessons like Arre Mi Burrito. 

If you are looking for some other Christmas lessons, you can check out my 2-3 grade lesson/game Oh Christmas Tree (which has a free lyric sheet and coloring sheet!) or 4-5 grade lesson/game for the 12 Days of Christmas. If you want something more comprehensive, you can get 6 different lessons for different grades in my Christmas in the Music Room Bundle (or follow the links and get one of the lessons out of the bundle).

Free K-1 Music Lesson: Christmas Rhythm Composition. Super fun lesson for kindergarten and first grade for composition. Becca's Music Room



Christmas Composition

A few notes:

First, my students have already learned about rhythm at this point. Kindergarten knows ta and titi and my first graders know rest. You definitely want them to know rhythm before doing this activity. If you need help, you can check out this post or this lesson.

Second, I am using the rhythm manipulative and worksheet in my TPT product here. You can certainly make your own, and do not have to use the product that I’m talking about. I am also using the ornament composition cards from this TPT product.

So here’s the lesson:

  • Start with singing a song that is only ta’s and titi’s (mine had a rest– oops!). I like to use a song that the students already know as a warm up. In this case, we are working on the song Arre Mi Burrito.
  • Write the rhythms on cards or on the board (I print them off of my computer) and go over those. Because we just started using rhythm names and reading rhythms, I do this as a call and response first. We sing the song. Then I will sing and point to the rhythm or one of the lines. Next I will point and we will do just ta’s and titi’s. Then I will have the students say it with me while I point. That sounds like a lot, but it takes all of 30 seconds.
  • Then, tell the students that we are doing an activity and we need some words. Ask if anyone could tell you a holiday word (and give a few examples). Write a ta and a titi on the board. As kids give you a word, sort them between ta and titi. I usually say the word a few times and have the kids “help” me figure out whether it has one syllable or two (ta or titi). I will say the word and clap or snap and let the kids try and tell me whether it is one syllable or two.
  • After they have told you some holiday words, guide them towards the words that you are using for the composition activity. For me, for Kindergarten I am using elf and stocking, and for first grade we are using tree and reindeer.
  • Once the kids have “come up with” those words, tell them that you have some cards you can use to make rhythms with those words.

Also read: Free Music Lesson: Bate Bate Chocolate

Free K-1 Music Lesson: Christmas Rhythm Composition. Super fun lesson for kindergarten and first grade for composition. Becca's Music Room



  • Then I grab four cards and make a rhythm. The kids say it. Then I make another one and the kids say it. Then I ask if anyone else could come up with a rhythm. A few kids will say a rhythm with the words. Then I tell them that all of them get to make me a rhythm. (This modeling is really helpful with the younger students and getting them to understand the concept of what you are doing.
  • Break the students into groups or two or three depending on how many students you have. Have on student make a rhythm and have the other student read it.
  • While they are doing this, walk around the room and listen to student reading. Help when needed. I also take grades while I walk around the room listening to students read.

Free K-1 Music Lesson: Christmas Rhythm Composition. Super fun lesson for kindergarten and first grade for composition. Becca's Music Room

  • Next, I give kids a sheet that has boxes and lines (in my Christmas Rhythms Manipulatives product) and have them write four rhythms. They write the rhythms on the line and then draw pictures of the words we used in the boxes. (There is also another line underneath that the students can write the words on, but I find there’s not enough space for the younger students to write in them so we left them blank.)
  • Give out a small percussion instrument (like rhythm sticks or jingle bells if you are feeling festive) and have students play other people’s rhythms. I had one student stand up and read one of their rhythms and everyone else echoed it back with their instruments.
  • In the next class period, we review the composition aspect. Then we used the templates form my Ornament Composition Activity  to make rhythm Christmas ornaments! You can use any template you already have to this. Students just made a rhythm, and then colored it in, and they went up on my bulletin board!

Also read: Christmas Music Lesson: 12 Days of Christmas

Free K-1 Music Lesson: Christmas Rhythm Composition. Super fun lesson for kindergarten and first grade for composition. Becca's Music Room



So there we go! Manipulatives, writing rhythms, instruments, sharing compositions, and coloring. That’s a lot of stuff.

My kids had so much fun doing these activities. Like I said before, I actually spread them out through a few different days and supplemented with other songs, books, and games.

You can check out the two products that I used in this lesson here: Christmas Rhythm Manipulatives and Ornament Composition Activity.

Or you can check out my blog posts about the 12 Days of Christmas and Oh Christmas Tree.

And check out the decorations and books I got for my classroom here.

Want to get access to exclusive content? Sign up to join my FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY. Once you sign up, you can download and use any of the content in the library. New things are being added every few weeks, so make sure you check back for more FREE stuff! Sign up here.

What are your favorite Christmas lessons? Any tips for Christmas Composition? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Teaching!





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Uncategorized

Christmas Music Lesson: 12 Days of Christmas

Ah, Christmas. So many songs, so little time. Every year I feel like I cannot narrow down how many songs I want to do. How do you get to them all? Anyway, my fourth and fifth graders are in the middle of a huge recorder unit, and I did not want to put that on pause to do a bunch of Christmas music (we’re doing the Link Up curriculum, and we are on a deadline!). So I only picked a few songs for my 4-5 graders, and the 12 Days of Christmas was our main song.

This song is so much fun, and so easy because it is cumulative.

There are about a million things that you can do with this song, but I narrowed it down to a few. I used a PDF version of a PowerPoint that I made, which you can check out on TPT here.

It is also part of my music lessons bundle, which has 6 different Christmas lessons at a discounted price, which you can get here.

You can also check out my free Oh Christmas Tree Music Game (with free lyric sheet and coloring sheet) here.

Christmas Music Lesson: 12 Days of Christmas. Super fun lesson for upper elementary school to teach singing, movement, writing, and fun! Becca's Music Room



 

12 Days of Christmas

  • First, go over the words to the song the 12 Days of Christmas. It is super easy, so we just read through the words and then I started singing the first verse and by the second verse, they had figured it out.
  • Next, have the students sing through the song. You can play it on the piano or use a YouTube video to sing along with.
  • Pick one student to create movements for each gift. So one student will pick and lead movements for a partridge in a pear tree. One will do it for two turtledoves, etc.
  • Sing through the song and have the students follow the movements that the leaders for each gift choose. Again, you can accompany on the piano or ukulele or you can play a recorder version.
  • Then, you can create a new version of the 12 Days of Christmas. I project the page from my 12 Days of Christmas product that has the first half of each line and then write the students’ answers on the board. Let the kids pick what they get on each day.
  • Sing through the song with your kids’ version of the song. This will need to be done a cappella or with the piano or ukulele or guitar. You can’t sing it with the recording because the words will be different.
  • Have students create individual versions of the 12 Days of Christmas if you need to include more writing in your curriculum!
  • Last, you can have students color pictures or their 12 Days of Christmas or the original version. There are coloring sheets in my product, if you get that.

Christmas Music Lesson: 12 Days of Christmas. Super fun lesson for upper elementary school to teach singing, movement, writing, and fun! Becca's Music Room



 

So there you go! Movement, writing, singing, and fun. My kids enjoyed this immensely! They thought it was so much fun. And I enjoyed it too!

Also check out my free Oh Christmas Tree music lesson/game for what I am doing with my second and third graders. Or you can get the Christmas in the Music Room Bundle and get enough lessons for the rest of the year!

And check out the decorations and books I got for my classroom in my YouTube video.

Want to get access to exclusive content? Sign up to join my FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY. Once you sign up, you can download and use any of the content in the library. New things are being added every few weeks, so make sure you check back for more FREE stuff! Sign up here.

How do you teach 12 Days of Christmas? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Teaching!



Christmas Music Lesson: 12 Days of Christmas. Super fun lesson for upper elementary school to teach singing, movement, writing, and fun! Becca's Music Room



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3-5, Children's Church, Lessons

Children’s Church Christmas Lesson for Kids Who Know the Christmas Story

Let’s be honest: I have a hard time teaching Children’s Church on Christmas and Easter. The Christmas lesson is particularly difficult.

Yes, I guess it should be the easiest days to teach. But it is not. It is difficult because all of my kids know the Christmas story and the Easter story. My group is 10-15 kids, most of whom I have known since they were born and taught since they were four. Some of them have never known another Children’s Church teacher. But between myself, the Sunday School teachers, the Wednesday night teachers, and the few that have Bible classes at school, they know the Christmas story. There is at least one that knows more about the Bible than I do. So trying to find a way to teach them a Christmas lesson without them falling asleep is a constant challenge!

So I thought: let’s get creative!

Also: The Beginner’s Guide to Teaching Children’s Church

My choir sang Huron Carol last year. I had never heard it before, and I thought my kids probably have not either.

Huron Carol is a Christmas carol. It is the first Christmas carol ever written in the Canada in 1642. Missionaries used it to teach the Native Americans (Canadians?) about Jesus. You can read more about it here.

Since the Native Americans had no concept of myrrh.

And frankly, neither do your kids.

So the missionaries made a song with words that they could understand.

And behold… my Christmas lesson was born.

Also: How to Structure Children’s Church in 6 Easy Steps

Download the printable version here.Children’s Church Christmas Lesson

Download the printable version of the lyrics here. Huron Carol Lyrics



Children's Church Christmas Lesson for kids who know the Christmas story. Would also be a great project for a Bible school English class, youth group, Sunday School, girl scouts, etc. Huron Carol. Becca's Music Room

Huron Carol Christmas Lesson

Materials:

Procedure:

  1. Ask the kids what holiday is coming up? (Christmas!)
  2. Ask if anyone knows why we celebrate Christmas. Allow for answers. If no one arrives at the real reason for Christmas, tell them a brief version.
  3. Ask kids to turn in their Bibles to Luke 2:1-20. While you (or a kid) read, ask them to count all of the words that they do not know.
  4. Ask how many of the words they do not know. Write them down on the board, or on a piece of paper. Go over each one, so that they know what they are.
  5. Tell them, “People from different places know different things. Just like we don’t understand all of the words, neither do a lot of other people. Years ago, after Christopher Columbus came over the Americas, some missionaries went to teach the Native Americans about Jesus. Just like we didn’t understand some of the things in the story, neither did they. So the missionaries came up with a song to tell the story using things that the people knew.”
  6. Pass out copies of the lyrics to Huron Carol. Read it with them. After each part, ask what part of the Christmas Story it represents. You could also assign parts to groups to figure out, if you have older kids.
  7. Tell the kids that they are going to make up a version of the Christmas story. I have mixed age groups, so I gave guidelines—think of a TV show or movie or video game or book. They need to come up with a job for the people who go to Jesus (instead of shephards), a precious gift to give Jesus (instead of gold, frankincense, and myrrh), and a place for Jesus to stay (instead of the manger).
  8. Give an example with something they may know. An example could be if they are in SpongeBob, then the people who come to Jesus could be people who work at the Krusty Krab, the gift can be Krabby Patties, and the place to stay could be Spongebob’s pinapple. Why on Earth that is the first thing I thought of, I cannot tell you. But you get the picture. You can pick your own example if you do not like that one.
  9. Have the kids write down their ideas. Tell them all of the things in the story have to be in their “world”. They are missionaries to their world, and the people have to understand them.
  10. Have the kids share their stories with the class.
  11. Follow up with whatever your favorite Christmas activity is—crafts, games, etc. (If you need help with some good games, subscribe to find out when My Kids’ Favorite Church Games post comes out!

Children's Church Christmas Lesson for kids who know the Christmas story. Would also be a great project for a Bible school English class, youth group, Sunday School, girl scouts, etc. Huron Carol. Becca's Music Room



Also, here is a picture books of Huron Carol. You could use them as well, and if you have younger kids, they would love them. I plan to buy myself one. Click on the picture to check it out!


I love making ornaments with the kids at Christmastime. (Despite the fact that my mother never let me put homemade ornaments on the real tree… anyway…) I have used a lot of these, and also you can find some more on this Pinterest board.

And if you are in need of a Christmas Program, check out Church Christmas Programs: What Do I Choose?

Do you have a hard time with Christmas lessons? Or do you have a favorite that you do every year? Let me know in the comments, and subscribe to get more content!

Happy teaching!

Becca

Children's Church Christmas Lesson for kids who know the Christmas story. Would also be a great project for a Bible school English class, youth group, Sunday School, girl scouts, etc. Huron Carol. Becca's Music Room



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