Thursday, February 14, 2013

Educate, Engage, & Energize with MAEOE ~ Part 2

Just when it seems like it was just Christmas, here we are at Valentine's Day.  Valentine's Day, that season of love, you can't help but have hearts to come to mind.  A family tradition over the years has been to transform the EveryMan Meal of Meatloaf into "The LOVE Loaf."  This year, in thinking about it and about dinner, I was moved to music, creating a sort of "Ode to the Love Loaf," singing it (of course) to the tune of "The Love Boat."

Of course, humming that tune, it reminded me (in a "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" sort of way), of my 2nd session at MAEOE's [Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Educators] conference that I attended just this past weekend.  The session was entitled "Teaching Environmental Ethics Through Games and Songs" and was run by two gregarious and fun educators, Edward Hall and Sean McGuinn of Arlington Echo.  They are two vital components of the Camp Woodlands Kindergarten Environmental Literacy Unit "Trees Are Terrific." During their hour long session, they had us singing, moving, and grooving to some familiar tunes with revamped text to make science concepts come to life for young children.  We also had an opportunity to write a tune of our own.

Music’s Effect on LearningIt was a fun session which I loved, but it was great in reminding us of all the things we already know.  Kids are much more engaged when they are entertained, and active participants in their own learning.  It builds a kinesthetic memory, which strengthens the retention of the skills.   Here is a great infographic reminding us why we need to incorporate music more (double click on it to enlarge or the above link):

Here's a fun and easy one from Hall & McGuinn's Arlington Echo Trees Unit:
Leaves, Branches, Trunks and Roots
(sung to the tune of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes")

Leaves, branches, trunks, and roots, trunks and roots;
Leaves, branches, trunks, and roots, trunks and roots;
Seeds fall down and start to grow.
Trees are Terrific!  Don't you know?  Don't you know?

Don't forget the movements--
or to speed up!
"Leaves" = wave hands
"branches" = "strong man" pose
"trunk" = hands on hips
"roots" = touch feet

"seeds fall down" = wiggle fingers down like snow
"And start to grow" = reach arms out and up
"Trees are terrific!" = wave arms in air
"Don't you know" = point to your head

Here's the one our 3rd grade group of 4 teachers created in 15 minutes or less.  (It's not ready for the Grammy's, but it's fun, teaches a bit, & does the job!)

The Itsy Bitsy Raindrop
(sung to the tune of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider")

The Itsy bitsy raindrop flows down the watershed,
Into the gutter, straight to the river bed.
Tributaries join and bring the water down
Now the itsy bitsy raindrop, in the bay has found.

So put a little song in your school, a little life in your lessons, a little wiggle and jiggle and a mini jam session in your classroom.  It'll leave your kids (and you!) energized and glad that you did!

(For more eco-songs à la Green Team Gazette, check out this link.)

Infographic from, Arlington Echo logo from, and Love Loaf pic from my sister-in-law.

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