That's how I feel about this Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. I've done this activity with second
graders for about 15 years now.
I've always loved the music from The Nutcracker. When my daughter was 5, I figured she was old enough to go into Boston to see the Boston Ballet perform the classic. We read a few versions of the story so she'd know what to expect, put on our very best holiday dresses, and drove into the city.
Since I knew the story so well, I brought the CD into school, and shared the story with my students. I wrote this summary of the classic story, and played the music while the children visualized what it must look like, then illustrated the different parts of the story.
Every year, the children loved the activity, and it practiced some valuable skills: visualizing, summarizing, and sequencing. Plus, it gives them some exposure to classic holiday literature and classical music.
A couple of years after seeing the production in Boston, my daughter had the opportunity to audition for a production of The Nutcracker. She was in the youngest group, and the little ones had a very small part, but it was priceless. She went on to perform in the Nutcracker 3 years in a row before life just got too busy with other performances. However, the story of The Nutcracker will always be near and dear to my heart.
Enjoy this freebie! It's one of my favorites!