Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Let It Shine!

One of the main lessons I wish to impart to my students is that a reliable way to be happy is to help others be happy.

The old spiritual, "Let It Shine" helps me get this idea across. I tell my kindergartners,

"If you really want to let your light shine, make someone you love happy. Can you think of a way to make someone you love happy?"

They suggest an idea and I insert their words into "Let It Shine." The repetition in the song makes it easy for even five year-olds to sing along with me.

We begin with the obligatory opening chorus:

This little light of mine I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.

Sometimes I'll sing a standard verse, you know, "Won't let anyone blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine." and so on.

Students come up with the best verses and they enjoy their variations.

Today they suggested these lyrics,

"Help my mom do the laundry, I'm gonna let it shine."

"Help my dad clean my room, I'm gonna let it shine."

"Help my mom do the dishes, I'm gonna let it shine."

"All the planets and all the worlds, I'm gonna let it shine."

"For my big brother, I'm gonna let it shine."


















Day after day Henry suggests the same lyric:

"For my baby sister, I'm gonna let it shine."

Henry's sister just learned to crawl, and she shines when we sing Henry's verse. Henry shines, too. We all shine.

P.S. I subscribe to Tom Hunter's rule about Zipper Songs: Accept every suggestion from the audience, no matter how many times you might have to sing it. When Henry suggests his lyric, it's about his baby sister, Abigail. But when Madison suggests the same baby sister lyric, we're singing about her brand-new baby sister, Miranda.

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