Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Thanksgiving Time is Thank You Time!

Ms. Brigid here, from Merit School of Music  in Chicago. Thank you for joining me!
Before we look at Thanksgiving songs, here is my question:

What are you grateful for? At the moment, I’m grateful that during the torrential rains of the last day, our roof isn’t leaking! On a more global scope, however, here are three things that come to mind:

Hot off the (virtual) presses, this resource is available to one and all! “INTRODUCING OUR NEXT SONGBOOK- PEACE SONGS FOR CHILDREN
The NEW CMN Song Library recently launched with our Environment Songbook of members' music that was already on the public site, but broadened to include audio files and lyrics for all songs. Many members have also contributed lead sheets, sheet music, and additional resources.  We're pleased to let you know that the Peace Songbook has now been added.  These two songbooks will continue to grow and serve as a free resource available to artists, librarians, teachers, and other visitors to our site, providing the tools needed to actually learn a song and use it tomorrow-a one-stop source for growing your repertoire with fine songs from fellow members. What could be grander?  Read more about our Song Library at:"  

~A Trio of Songs by Stuart Stotts. Stuart was CMN’s keynote speaker at the annual conference just a month ago in Zion, IL. Since then, he has presented three songs on his excellent blog that are invitations to inclusiveness and speak to the power of people singing together: Clap My Hands In The Morning, I’ll Save a Spot For You, and 'Til Then. Click on the links to read about the songs and hear them in their entirety. In the last song, change “show to show” to “spring to snow,” and this beautiful and engaging song transforms into the perfect song for the end of class or a special gathering. And yes, the composer approves this idea!

~Choice Literacy and Big Fresh Newsletter
Every Saturday I awake to an inspiring new post from the Big Fresh Newsletter. Besides the engaging and thoughtful key articles on the collaborative blog, there is a “Free for All” section from which I’ve discovered wonderful new books and strategies for use. Just this past week, I clicked on Franki Sibberson’s “Teaching Reading Skills with Wordless Picture Books,” and came away with an armful of new titles that I immediately tracked down at The Skokie Library. I’m excited to dive into this luscious list!
And Now…Thanks Giving!
This week I’ve been asking students in my classes to tell me one thing about Thanksgiving. Families and friends, cornucopias and pilgrims were mentioned, but the majority of answers tended to be food-oriented. In one first grade class, “eat dead turkey” was the unsavory, and repeated, response of choice. What to do?

Since I visit classrooms once a week, varying from 30” – 60” sessions, it’s best for classroom teachers to discuss historical details. I focus on being thankful, not only for its intrinsic worth, but also as an antidote to the materialism that creeps into this time of year.

~Thanksgiving Time
Tune: Do You Know the Muffin Man?
Thanksgiving time is thank you time 
For all the fruits and vegetables. 
Thanksgiving time is thank you time. 
Thank you, thank you, thank you.   
Other ideas:  Thanksgiving time is thank you time …For all the things that live and grow; …For moon and stars that shine at night; ...For families that we love so much.

~I teach “Thank you, thank you, thank you” before I start the song, so my kiddos can immediately chime in. After singing is strong, I open it up to ideas from the class. Feel free to combine ideas from more than one child in each verse, e.g. …For moms and dads and dogs and cats.

Lyrics by Brigid Finucane.  Tune: Down By the Bay

For sun and moon               And stars above,
For Moms and Dads,           People that we love
For _______________,       Where we learn and play
Let's all say thanks,             On Thanksgiving Day

For winds that blow            For rains that fall
On the smallest flower        And the trees so tall
For happy laughter            As we dance and play.
Let’s all say thanks,            On Thanksgiving Day.

~I wrote this song originally for a sweet preschool I teach at, but have since adapted it for use at other schools. Insert the name of the classroom, school, or group where indicated in the first verse. Please customize for your site. I also add basic ASL signing to the song. At the very least, I teach the sign for “thank you.”

~Finally, I close my sessions with the musical book, May There Always Be Sunshine.
Jim Gill, the beloved Oak Park, IL singer-songwriter, sings this song in concert, and over time gathered ideas to use with the song. This book is the result of years of ideas, and is lusciously illustrated by Susie Signorino-Richards.

The song “…was created in 1962, music was composed by Arkady Ostrovsky and
the lyrics were written by Lev Oshanin. The Russian writer Korney Chukovsky later wrote in his book that the base for the song was the four lines which became the refrain, composed by a boy of age four in 1928.” Youtube:

I sing the first four lines by myself, and then ask the children to sing with me on the second repetition. We then sing the rest of the book. My Pre-K children are not readers, so I let them fill in what they think the picture is about, e.g., an illustration of “skyscrapers” can be called “houses,” “cities,” “buildings,” etc., with my complete support. At the end of the book, I sing, “May there always be ice cream…” and ask if anyone has another idea.
I’ve been touched at how enthusiastic the children are to share their ideas. They often sing the whole phrase, rather than filling in the idea at the end. It’s a sweet and affirming way to end a class.

I’ve also experimented with asking the kiddos to draw a picture of what they are thankful for, essentially creating a class book that we can sing together.

Thank you for joining me! I hope you have a glorious and happy Thanksgiving with those who are dearest to you. Celebrate fall, the bounty of the earth, the richness of life…and music!

Merit School of Music, Chicago
Call on Merit School of Music! Our onsite school is in the West Loop. We work in the schools throughout the area providing band, orchestra, percussion, choir, early childhood, and general music instruction with project based units including Recorder, Music and Storytelling and Songwriting. We do great work! YoYo Ma is a supporter!

Chicago Families
Please come to Merit’s Storytime sessions It’s free, fun, and facilitated by singers and storytellers Amy Lowe, Irica Baurer & Brigid Finucane. Stories and songs start at 11am, and we end with instrument exploration and family networking. The next session is December 14.  Storytime is  be offered once a month on the 2nd Monday.

I am continually inspired by the Children’s Music Network (CMN) community. an international group of socially conscious musicians, educators, librarians, families, songwriters and good people, who “celebrate the positive power of music in the lives of children by sharing songs, exchanging ideas, and creating community.” Please visit CMN, and find a gathering in your region.

©2015 Brigid Finucane  * 847-213-0713 *

Blog History
June 2015. Summer Songs

No comments:

Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment below....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...