I headed up 4th Street to Donegan for my third of four visits, armed with some good ideas to explore with the 5th, 4th, and 3rd graders. We’ve been working on Names to the Animals and I planned on presenting the verses we’ve written already and get three more from today. I plan on recording them in my kitchen studio and then sending the video back to the teachers for Monday. The teachers seem excited about having something to show to the kids, and I need to document our work for the project.

I decided to introduce my CDs to the kids, and talk about the various ways an artist like myself gets his music out. We talked about playing live, getting songs on You Tube and radio. (they had no concept of radio play…) I also talked about the art work that goes into producing a CD: photographers, designers, back-up musicians, etc. and I asked the teachers to find some way to get this music into their ears. No simple thing to do these days.

I started out with Tropical Vacation in order to get them to become my back-up singers. I taught them the chorus, had them invent hand motions to the words. I then got out my red sunglasses for three of the students to come up next to me to sing back-up, and brought out my rain stick for ocean sounds. It was a great way to put them on stage, take leadership roles, sing out loud and think about production. We then switched roles with the other students. I was able to involve the one student with little English skills to sit in on rain stick so that he had an active part in the process. The whole process was quite successful and full of energy.

I followed with Giants, using the Thunder Tubes and spooky noises. Good Clean Fun.

I then presented the Names to the Animals verses from last week and proceeded to write some new ones this week. We came up with:

I saw an animal in the Congo,

Sharp teeth, its butt is pink, that I know.

It’s an omnivore, it eats with its hands, no fork or spoon,

I’ll call this animal a Baboon.


I saw an animal high up in the sky,

A three-headed dragon that could fly,

It’s a Greek myth: it’s fire could fry ya.

I’ll call this animal a Hydra.


I saw a snake in the tropics down south,

It bites its prey with fangs in its mouth.

It slithers from tree to tree as it wanders

I think I’ll call this animal an Anaconda.

As in the last two weeks, I had great connections, conversations and respect from the 5th and 4th graders, but the last group, the 3rd graders lack focus and the social skills to remain seated for any amount of time. It seems to be a function of the last period of the morning, a summer session and the age group. I have to remind myself to be cool, but I do let them know that I’m disappointed in their behavior.

The time moved nicely and we got some good work and play in today. One more week.