I’ve always been far better at learning the tune than at remembering the words of songs.
However, I have usually managed to learn all the words for all the Christmas Productions every year. This comes of spending whole afternoons teaching them in turn to each class.
Read through the words with the children, and make sure that they understand each word. Then go through, discussing what the song is about.
Chant them in the rhythm of the song, especially if there are any unexpected, trappy bits.
Chant them in s-l-o-w-m-o-t-i-o-n, drawing out each syllable, exaggerating the shapes you make with your mouth, spitting out the “t”s and “d’s”
Chant them as fast as you possible can.
Put actions to the words – beware – younger children will find it nigh-impossible to remove of change these actions at a later date, so choose your actions wisely.
Be competitive; divide the class into groups, and get each group to sing a different verse. They will probably all know verse 1, but which group knows verse 6 the best? Then choose a verse, and allocate a line to each group. Or, if you want to go right over the top, make them sing each word in turn.
Bribe them, with whatever your school allows. Check first – I got into trouble for bribing them with chocolate at one school. Stickers work well. Special shiny stickers work even better.
These games help to liven up a “note-bashing” lesson and inject some fun and mayhem into what is a fairly boring process.