As January begins, our students begin their preparations for our annual International Festival. This is one of my favorite times of the year. The Festival itself is a lovely and organized dance performance with each grade level representing a particular country. In the classrooms, teachers immerse the students in learning about their particular country whether it be reading traditional stories, learning about geography and history, or making a traditional recipe. The students experience the country in multi-modal learning.
I love this time of year because it challenges me as a teacher to find high quality, authentic resources to teach the students about the music of the culture. I almost always start with the national anthem of the country. These anthems are easy for even the youngest children to access as they can connect to The Star Spangled Banner. I relish the opportunity to learn about music of cultures that I don’t traditionally explore such as Tibet or Guam. As the students learn new things, I often add them to our music class wiki so they can share at home.
There are so many things I’d like to explore with the kids, but with only one or two classes per week I want to give kids a change to truly make connections to content rather than skimming the surface of coverage. I love seeing the way the kids process new ideas or new sounds. How they grow from “that sounds weird” to “that is such and such music from this culture and here’s why it is important”. That kind of cultural understanding is exactly the sort of connection I hope the students can make through this curriculum.
I would love to find new resources out there to share with the kids or make connections with direct sources in the countries. Do you know anyone or any idea from these countries? If so, tweet me: @teach2connect.
Mexico, The Netherlands, India, Tibet, Russia, South Africa, Israel, Guam, and/or Cuba.