Christmas Train was one of the most time consuming activities I have made. I wanted to design and draw a seasonal composing activity to use with very young beginning students. I wanted them to write in finger numbers for a melody, with the rhythm and words already done for them. I had a design sketched out by hand, and it was easy. But drawing it on the computer proved to be more difficult. If I had made it straight and not curved the text and train cars, it would have been a lot easier. Musically, I probably should have not used 3/4 time, but my mind was stuck on these words.
Here is how I will use it. Tap the rhythm out while saying the words in a 3 meter, accenting the first beat slightly so they feel the meter. Tap the first line with the RH and the second line with the LH. I call it the green and red hands to match the train engines. Once they start to compose the melody they can use any 5-finger position but be sure you have them start and end on the tonic. (You can tell them that the first note is home and the trains start and end at home. The bass line can be exactly the same notes as the treble line, but they will discover the finger numbers are different. This activity will also give them some more finger number practice. If young children have trouble playing with finger numbers, you know they are not ready for notes.
I designed this for pre-school and kindergarten children, but you can probably use it with first grader, too. This week, I hope to post another paper to put this melody on the staff.