Friday, April 27, 2012

Grab Bag Friday: Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary

Today I'm off to Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary to talk to 5th graders about Songs of the Civil War Era. Huzzah!

Yesterday, I had a great time with the classrooms of Ms. Bailey, Mrs. Belanger, Mrs. Brescia, and Mr. Kittredge. The students had great singing voices and offered a lot of terrific insights.

In one exercise, I have the students imagine they are slogging back to their tents after a long day at war. Tired, dirty, and possibly wounded, they try to get comfortable and go to sleep. Then someone on the campground (in this case, me) starts to sing,
We're tenting tonight on the old campground
Give us a song to cheer
Our weary hearts, a song of home
And friends we love so dear
Slowly, as the song goes on, people join in until we are all singing loudly together,
Tenting tonight, tenting tonight, tenting on the old campground
Tenting tonight, tenting tonight, tenting on the old campground
At the end of the song, I asked the students if singing the song changed how they felt. Some of the things I heard were:

"I felt less lonely."

"I thought of my family. Singing the song made me feel like I would get to see them again."

"I thought of all the people who died that I cared about."

"I felt stronger."

"I felt proud to fight for what I believe in."

Aren't those great responses? I love how music has the power to stir our souls, even 150 years after it was written.

No comments: