Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Read and Sing for Christmas: Up On the Housetop

Up on the housetop the reindeer pause
Out jumps good old Santa Claus
Down through the chimney
With lots of toys
All for the little ones Christmas joys.

Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn't go,
Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn't go
Up on the housetop
Click, click, click
Down through the chimney
With good Saint Nick.

This song is great for teachers and parents alike as it is flexible for a variety of musical settings and ability levels. The song naturally provides several instances for using instrument sounds to compliment the story. I use bells for the reindeer, a rain-stick for Santa going down the chimney and rhythm sticks or sand blocks for the, "click, click, click." My adaptations include using a Bigmack switch to record the, "Ho, ho, ho," for non-verbal participants and using body percussion such as patting or snapping for the, "Click, click, click."

Adding instrument sounds to go along with parts of a story in a song can be used to address many different educational objectives:

1. Sequencing skills. I have used a story board approach to see if students can arrange pictures into the correct order after singing the song. Instrument sounds can be used for non-verbal cues to help in the sequencing process.

2. Focus of attention and waiting skills. Individual students in a small group setting must practice taking turns and waiting for the appropriate times to play their instruments.

3. Problem solving. Students with more advanced skills may be able to choose instruments they feel will compliment the parts of the story. I facilitate this by providing a variety of appropriate instruments to choose from.

These are just a few of the ways I have used this song to help clients this year. Christmas and other holiday songs are very effective music choices for therapy since they are usually familiar and many of them have simple melodies. The song, "Up on the Housetop" has been very successful in groups of children who have autism or groups with children who have a mixture of different disabilities.

Ho, ho, ho!

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