Nutcracker Activities for Music | Tried, True, and New

Here are some favorite lesson plans and activities for the music classroom to teach The Nutcracker Ballet plus some NEW resources to spark life into our teaching of this perennial classic.

On this page…

  1. Chinese Tea Dance ORFF Lesson Activities (Movement, Instrumental Arrangement)
    1. Tea Dance Video
  2. Cultural Stereotypes in the Nutcracker
  3. Books
  4. Nutcracker Museum
  5. Lesson Ideas
    1. Unit of Study (in progress)
    2. March | Stretchy Bands
    3. Trepak | Plate Routine
    4. Sugar Plum Fairy | Movement with Mr. DelGaudio
    5. Waltz of the Flowers
  6. Ballet Videos
    1. Full-length Ballet (Central Florida Ballet)
    2. Hip Hop Nutcracker on PBS
    3. Hip Hop Nutcracker (Disney+ Excerpt)

Chinese Tea Dance ORFF Lesson Activities (Movement, Instrumental Arrangement)

With its call and response form, this is the perfect barred instrument activity for December! PLUS, movement ideas using partners and the whole class with and without props! Ribbon sticks/wands, scarves, partner parachutes, and a classroom parachute!

Tea Dance Video

Cultural Stereotypes in the Nutcracker

Each performance of the Nutcracker uses an artistic director who helps determine the costuming, dancing, makeup, and scenery for the ballet. The ballet dates back to a time when ethnic caricatures were standard practice in the performances. This is particularly true in Act II with the dances related to the Chinese, Arabian, Russian, and Spanish dances.

As music specialists, this is important to take into consideration if we choose to use videos in our teaching. Read more.

Here’s an excellent interview on NPR about “Rethinking Cultural Stereotypes in The Nutcracker.”

Books

Nutcracker Museum

At this school, students were asked to bring in a family Nutcracker and were put into this fun Nutcracker Museum display! (Remember to have the student’s name and room clearly labeled.)

Add this to your end-of-year evaluation Danielson (or similar) Domain 1b: Teacher-designed opportunities for families to share their heritages.

Lesson Ideas

Unit of Study (in progress)

  • K-1 Read a book about ballet and a book about The Nutcracker
  • K-1 Learn a movement routine to the March
  • Grades 2-3

March | Stretchy Bands

Trepak | Plate Routine

Sugar Plum Fairy | Movement with Mr. DelGaudio

Waltz of the Flowers

Ballet Videos

Full-length Ballet (Central Florida Ballet)

https://www.pbs.org/video/hip-hop-nutcracker-at-njpac-an-all-arts-presentation-czdp88/

Hip Hop Nutcracker on PBS

This performance is on PBS and you may need to confirm your local PBS station.

Hip Hop Nutcracker (Disney+ Excerpt)