Our curriculum has always focused on language and literacy skills, but this year we want to expand this to include cultural literacy through music. I’ve been doing some internet research about this and have found many sites arguing the pros and cons of cultural literacy. One site argued very well for the use of music in the classroom to promote academic excellence. Some interesting reading has been linked below. While I’ve never read E.D. Hirsch’s book about cultural literacy I thought the argument for cultural literacy was excellent. However, what each of us would deem necessary to be culturally literate would be up for debate. Reading this also made me ask if my own children were culturally literate and what gaps need to be filled in their educations.
I’m using the book Rise Up Singing edited by Peter Blood and Annie Patterson as a place to begin. For parents that want to purchase the book for use at home with your kids the ISBN is 0-9626704-9-9. I’ve created a play list on my iTunes application and am searching iTunes for the songs in the book. Children in all classes will get to listen to this music daily. We’ll also learn some of the songs that relate to this year’s curriculum theme. We’ll begin the year learning “All I Really Need” from Raffi’s album “Songs of the World.” We’re also going to learn “Love Grows One by One” from Stuart Stott’s album “Celebrate.” It’s been fun listening to songs I learned as a child and to new ones I’ve never heard.
I would encourage everyone to search “Shenandoah” in iTunes. There were so many beautiful renditions. I bought 4 of them! I’m sure all the kids will enjoy listening to folk music and have fun learning some new songs.