Up On The Housetop

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone already!  I don't know about your schedules but our district has 3.5 weeks until Winter break.  With three school choir performances between then and now I already have my tree up, the lights hung outside, most of my kids' presents purchased and have been listening to Christmas songs for the past few days.  Sad, I know!  

Well, since I have caught the holiday spirit and because one of the teachers in my district recently asked me if I could recommend any Christmas songs that use ti-tika and tika-ti I thought I'd share a PowerPoint and solfa-mix-up game that I created over break.  I did find a few Christmas songs that use ti-tika and tika-ti, including "Up On The Housetop."  Now, the notated version I have of this song is written in augmentation of the way I have it notated.  This goes back to my Kodály levels with Jill Trinka; she wanted us to notated songs the way we sing it and I think this lends itself to the way I have it notated below:

Of course there are two more verses.  These two are included in the PowerPoint slide below:

My third graders are prepping ti-tika, and we will present it in the next week.  We will start by reading this slide that uses a tie in the sixteenth notes.  We talk about the critical attributes of this rhythmic element: it is three sounds on one beat, the sounds are uneven and the sound organization is long-short-short.

If you have older beginners and are choosing to present ti-tika and tika-ti at the same time you could use this slide as well (although, my choice is to prepare and present each of these rhythmic elements individually):

Once ti-tika is presented, my 3rd graders will read the slide with this notation:

Here's the tika-ti prep slide, if you're prepping tika-ti:

And you could always have your 4th and 5th graders read the following rhythmic notation for practice:

The verse of this song is excellent do-pentatonic practice for 3rd-5th graders:

If you have gotten to fa with your 4th graders they could also read the chorus on solfége:

Here are some flashcards with rhythmic and melodic patterns from the song:

One of my professional goals this year is to incorporate more solo/small group work.  I'm planning on using this as an assessment.  On one side of the card I will print the Santa's that are stuck in the chimney and on the other side will be the rhythm/solfa.  For 3rd grade, each student will receive 4 cards (the fronts with the Santas and the back with the patterns from the verse) and for 4-5 grades, each student will receive a total of 8 cards (the fronts with the Santas and the backs with the patterns from both the verse and the chorus).  The object is to put the cards in the order of the song.

If you would like a copy of this file, I have uploaded it to Teachers pay Teachers and you can access it by clicking here.

I hope you all had a GREAT Thanksgiving!!


  1. Great post, Amy! I really like the flashcards and assessment tie-in.

  2. As I was reading the top of your post I kind of chuckled. Every year I hear people complaining about how stores start selling Christmas merchandise earlier and earlier but then I think about when I start teaching my holiday tunes. I think I have been teaching our winter concert (to my after school groups) since the middle of September! :) Thank you for this post, the flashcards are great.

    1. I know what you mean, my choir has been practicing since September too! And once we go back after Thanksgiving, if I don't start getting my tree up and house decorated BEFORE Thanksgiving (I have a 2 year old and 5 year old so it takes all week) it would never get done! I guess music teachers are as guilty as retailers. . . but then again they don't teach elementary school kids! Have a great day back tomorrow!


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