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A lesson idea called “Lovely Rivers” which uses songs about with Rivers


Music, Social Studies  


5, 6, 7, 8, 9  

Title – Lovely Rivers
By – Joan M Diez
Subject – Social Studies, Music
Grade Level – Grades: 5-9
The following is one of the most enjoyable activities I have ever carried out. And I must say my students loved it, too. Try it!

I often do songs in class: old songs, new songs…the best of both worlds to suit the kids’ taste…and my own. River Ebro, which crosses our town and is just a few yards away from my doorstep, was the inspiration for an amusing project which kept everyone busy for a couple of weeks.

We listened to quite a few songs, all dealing with rivers:

Lynn Anderson’s (and also The McGuire Sisters’ version) – Red River Valley
Mahalia Jackson’s – Down by the Riverside
Frank Sinatra’s – Moonriver
Ike and Tina Turner’s – River Deep, Mountain High
The Beatles’ (and also Elton John’s version) – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Simon and Garfunkel’s – Bridge Over Troubled Water
Boney M’s – Rivers of Babylon
Bruce Springsteen’s – The River
Jeff Beck’s – Ol’ Man River
Albert Hammond’s – Down by the River

We dealt with the lyrics in several ways and, to everybody’s surprise, what had started as a simple linguistic issue led us to a multi-cultural event: by discussing the different messages in the songs, their performers’ careers and their singing styles, we dealt with geography, the history of music, religion, literature, films, love, art, social trends, drug abuse, politics, the environment…life, in a nutshell. A most substantial subject, indeed. We are already working on two new topics: the Moon and… almost inevitable…Love. Will let you know about our findings, sometime!

E-Mail Joan !

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