Bob Humbug the Christmas Grump: Holiday Play

Merry Christmas Eve!

OK so today's post has two messages:

1. Don't judge a book by its cover {literally!}

2. How doing a play is so great for your class in so many ways!

I just wrapped up the 2013 edition of the play, "Bob Humbug the Christmas Grump!" This was year 5 of this little baby.

Our performance was last Wednesday and if you saw me on Monday or Tuesday I would have been saying.... "Why do I do this to myself?" Right??? It's Christmas time... I've got report cards to do, presents to buy and oh yeah... let's not forget... the kids are off their rocker.

And then if you talk to me on Wednesday night I say... "Now I remember why I do it!" The kids always rise to the occasion and are just so darn proud to show their families what a STAR they are!

And actually, the kids are a bit crazy in Decmeber, but since being in a play and having rehearsal is a novel thing for them to be doing and they get to move around and all that... it actually works out well....

Whether it is at the holidays or any time of year I think doing a play is important. First of all, those are the experiences the kids remember! At the end of the year they aren't talking about that circle map you made for the letter "C" are they? hits several of those Common Core Standards... looking at kindergarten, Speaking and Listening K.6....and then all the writing opportunities, story telling and more.

And for the record.... I can direct musicals, but I am NOT a music teacher AT ALL! I just can press play on the CD player. So don't let that scare you away!

So that answers message #2.... I'm working my way backwards today!

#1 was Don't judge a book by its cover... and take a look at this:
I mean those kids on the cover are probably older than me now.... I think? Anyway, I wasn't too sure about this particular play when seeing this cover.... but man, do I love it now. {I have done it 5 times!} This is a hard one to find {not that surprising} and no, you don't have to get it on a record.... click HERE to view it.

Quick summary:
Bob is an elf... he's grumpy and grouchy because his job is to take care of the Toy Dump. One day the machines stop working and everyone's in a panic to have all the toys ready for Christmas day... Bob has an idea... and voila! Christmas is saved!

It is a total of 20 minutes... perfect for kindergarten!

How do we practice?

The day we get back from Thanksgiving break I announce we are doing a play. The CD came with 2 versions of the songs {one set with vocals and one a cappella} I start playing the songs with the vocals ALL day long. All day! Within a week, we've learned the songs without spending any time to do so.

There are 8 songs total {and I add a few old fashioned carols at the end... as the writer of the play suggests}

The roles are: Bob Humbug, a chief helper, the rest of Santa's helpers, a mouse, a cat and narrators.

The story is just given to you in that lovely book shown above- and you can break it up for however many narrators you would like to have. In kinder, I opt for 10 or more.... why? Because most of them can't actually read it....this means they need to memorize it and therefore I don't want it too long. With 1st grade I have assigned less narrators.

I send the narrators' lines home and ask them to practice. My note is HERE if you would like to use it.

We had fancy costumes this year. My room mom is amazing and went crazy at Oriental Trading Company to outfit my class. {Santa's Helpers are shown in the first picture above. The narrators wore the same apron and a different hat}
You don't need all that though. In the past I have bought the cheap t-shirt and ironed on some stuff. I used red and green for the helpers and it just said "Santa's Helper" and the narrators had black t-shirts with a clip art Christmas tree ironed on. The cat had an orange t-shirt with "Carter Cat" ironed on and same for the mouse, but in pink. Everyone wore Santa hats.

And the set.... well, about 3 years ago I had a parent create that little ditty for me and each year I carefully role it up so it will be in pristine condition for the next year. But again, before I had that, the kids would make their stockings {still featured} and I would have them paint lines on red butcher paper to look like bricks and create a fireplace. Then  I would have them make a sign. Simple is good...right?

Don't mind that Santa's reindeer {made by the kids} are missing in this picture:
And another touch I added this year is I had them draw themselves on the computer {using Smart Notebook} as an elf and title it their name plus the word elf. Also, {not shown} I added an actual photograph of them with a Santa hat right next to their drawing.
I usually do this play in my own classroom. This year we have an empty classroom so I decided to do it in there, but I only mention this to say... it can be simple... you don't need to use the auditorium {unless you want to!}

If you are thinking....hmm, maybe I will do a play.... or if you are bored of the one you currently do and don't want to wait until next December then two others by the same company that I have really liked are Little Red Hen and Three Piggy Opera.

Another company to check out is Bad Wolf Press.  Their musicals are always good and some funny lines are guaranteed.... plus they hit some curricular areas. The Friendly Nieghborhood Helpers is an easy and simple one.  When I taught 5th grade I LOVED the Incredible Westward Movement! And another teacher at my school does Character Matters which is always a big hit.

So, moral of this post... plays are fun, a good learning experience and one of those special memories the kiddos will take with them when they leave your classroom.


  1. HUGE HUGE HUGE fan of plays!!!!! I totally agree with not judging a book by its cover! We do the Nanny Goats Gruff play at the end of the year (I think it's Bad Wolf Press) and I do the same thing you do to get the kids to memorize the songs.
    I wish we worked together!! :)

  2. Soooo cute! I've never had an official "room mom" but yours sounds awesome!!!

    Teaching in the Tongass