Content Carols – The Most Fun You Can Have The Week Before Break!

What happens when you combine Christmas carols and history content? Content Carols!

I give the children a lyrics sheet to some very common and easy to sing Christmas carols, because you would be surprised at how many don’t know all the words to the songs. I introduce the project by having a quick “sing a long” of the first verse and chorus of each song.

I use: Winter Wonderland, Let it Snow!, Here comes Santa Claus, Santa Claus is coming to Town, O Christmas Tree, Up on the Housetop, Jingle Bells, Joy to the World, Deck the Halls, Silent Night, Little Drummer Boy, and You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch. I only copy enough for a class set for partners (15 copies for 30 students, for example)

Lyrics Sheet for Content Carols

Then the students pick a topic from a list (I usually take the topics from our most current unit). We were studying Industrial Revolution and Immigration, so their topics were:

Inventors/Inventions, Big Business, Immigration, or Progressive Reforms

I always model the process, so after the sing-a-long, I choose a topic and write a song that the class sings. My sample:

Living in the US Gilded Age (to the tune of Winter Wonderland)

Factory bells ring, are you listening?

Hours are long, sweat is glistening

Children, women and men

Are working in them,

Living in the US Gilded Age

Tenements are where they’re living

Though small rooms, they are giving

Often no running water or heat

or electricity

Living in the US Gilded Age

In the mansions you can see the rich men

Carnegie and Rockefeller too

Monopolies made them very rich men

But they showed the other rich men what to do

Later on, reforms are coming

The Progressives must do something

Food and Drugs follow rules

And kids go to school

Living in the US Gilded Age

Living in the US Gilded Age

Living in the US Gilded Age


  • Topic must be clear in the song
  • Each song must have a minimum of three verses
  • Each verse must be singable to the tune of the song selected
  • Each verse must contain two pieces of information about the topic.

Then, they write. Allow at least two class periods for this. In my room I spend these two days being the “teacher jukebox” running from partner to partner “singing” their songs with them. On the third day we edit/make final copies.

The culminating activity can take any form you are comfortable with:

  • A performance in your classroom – pairs sing their songs for each other.
  • A classroom sing a long – type up your songs as a booklet, and sing them all together.

This year, the whole grade level did this project, and we had a grade level sing-a-long with parents in our lecture theater. We couldn’t sing all the songs, but selected two per class period for a total of sixteen songs. It was lovely, fun – and educational. The children work very hard on this project, and it gets them very motivated during a week that is traditionally tough going in the classroom.

By varying the songs, you could do this at any time of the year!

2 comments so far

  1. Belinda on

    This is awesome!!!!! We must do this in December (add to calendar now or I’ll forget!)

  2. mrsgannon on

    It is awfully fun!

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