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Years ago, I asked the administration if I could hold a sing-along for the students in grades K-5. They agreed and I chose songs from our classes, created a powerpoint with the lyrics, wheeled the digital piano into the shared space, and we sang and danced. Since then, we have made this an annual tradition as the first assembly of the school year. This assembly is something I look forward to for many reasons:
- The students smile, sing, and dance the entire time.
- I bring in my friend who plays drums, which adds a nice element to the music.
- The students sing songs from their K through 5 music classroom. The younger students get the chance to listen to new music and the older students get the chance to revisit some of their favorite songs from their younger classrooms.
- We end the first 7-day cycle of the school year as a community by singing songs together.
- This year, some parents joined us to sing along!
My formula for choosing music is to begin with patriotic and folk songs, continue to songs that features each grade from their previous school year’s plays or concerts, come to the ending with pop songs, and finish with a traditional school song that has a slower tempo so that the students end calmly.
The playlist for the sing-along this year was:
- Far Hills School Song – this is a song that my department wrote as our school had not had a school song
- Grand Old Flag by George M. Cohan
- This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie
- Armed Services Medley (5 songs) – each representing a branch of our armed services. We sang this at the spring concert last year.
- Take Me Out to the Ballgame by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer
- Hello to all the children of the World – We have sung this in our classroom for years
- Australia G’Day Song – Kindergarten sang this in their spring concert last year
- Surfin’ USA – Kindergarten sang this in their spring concert last year
- 50 Nifty by Ray Charles – The third graders sing this song in preparation for our integrated unit of social studies and music class
- Kindergarten – 1st grade knew this song because it was their Kindergarten graduation song (Love and Marriage or the theme song to Married with Children)
- Shaky Egg – All of the students know and love this song! I hand out shaky eggs to kindergartners to perform this song.
- Rhyme Trouble – The 2nd graders know this song from their first grade poetry party play last year
- Pockets – The 2nd graders know this song from their first grade poetry party play last year
- My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein – the 3rd graders created their own version of their favorite things and performed that version as well
- Do Re Mi from The Sound of Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein
- Everlasting Melody by Rollo Dillworth – the 3rd and 5th graders sang this at their spring concert last year
- Everything is Awesome from The Lego Movie by Tegan and Sara featuring The Lonely Island – the was a huge hit and very thankful for my friend playing the drums to keep it together
- “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten – beautiful message and was also a big hit
- Best Day of My Life by American Authors – another hit
- We are the Young – great song with wonderful lyrics that we sing every year
The powerpoint/keynote displayed the lyrics with illustrations and our new school logo floating from one slide to another (using the “magic move” transition in the keynote program). I am thankful for my school support from the teachers to the IT to the administrators to make this a successful and musical assembly for the students in grades K-5.
Amy M. Burns is an elementary music educator, clinician, author, and musician. She currently works at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ teaching PreK through Grade 3 general music, grade 5 instrumental music, and grades 4-8 instrumental band. She is the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom, Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a SMART Board, and Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! She is also an author for Online Learning Exchange™ Interactive Music powered by Silver Burdett. She has given numerous presentations on integrating technology into the elementary music classroom as well as being a keynote speaker for music technology conferences in Texas, Indiana, St. Maarten, and Australia. She is the recipient of the 2005 TI:ME Teacher of the Year Award, the 2016 NJ Master Music Teacher Award, the 2016 NJ Governor’s Leader in Arts Education Award, and the 2017 Non-Public School Teacher of the Year Award. You can find out more about Amy at her website: amymburns.com