R’s for Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!  What are you doing today to celebrate our planet?  Every year, the students and staff at The Hope Institute head outside to plant trees on campus property, and luckily we’ll have a beautiful day for doing so.  I’ll also be singing the “Good Green Earth” song I shared in my latest Sunday Singalong video as well as another Earth Day-appropriate song, “The 3 R’s” by Jack Johnson.

One of my very favorite albums (which just happens to be full of great songs for kids) is Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the film Curious George by Jack Johnson.  In fact, I even Friday Fave’d it last winter.  “The 3 R’s” is a take on “3 is a Magic Number” from Schoolhouse Rock, but it incorporates the “reduce, reuse, recycle” theme we all learned in grade school.  Check it out:

Three, it’s a magic number,
Yes it is, it’s a magic number.
Because two times three is six,
And three times six is eighteen,
And the eighteenth letter in the alphabet is R.
We’ve got three R’s we’re going to talk about today:

We’ve got to learn to
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

If you’re going to the market to buy some juice,
You’ve got to bring your own bags and you learn to reduce your waste.
And if your brother or your sister’s got some cool clothes,
You could try them on before you buy some more of those.
Reuse, we’ve got to learn to reuse.

And if the first two R’s don’t work out,
And if you’ve got to make some trash,
Don’t throw it out.
Recycle, we’ve got to learn to recycle,

We’ve got to learn to
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Because three, it’s a magic number,
Yes it is, it’s a magic number.
3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36
33, 30, 27, 24, 21, 18, 15, 12, 9, 6, and
3, it’s a magic number.

I love Jack Johnson’s cool, laid-back attitude; his California surfer style fits in with Earth Day perfectly!  I’m curious to find out what everyone else is singing on this special day, so please do tell.

The Ice Age Song

If you’ve seen Ice Age, then you probably recognize these creatures as the main characters.  My song is unrelated to the film, but I loved this picture – and the animals just happen to be the right species!  “The Ice Age Song” is my attempt at consolidating general knowledge about this prehistoric era in a way that children can understand.

Now, this is not a topic I’d cover as a matter of course.  But my sorority’s local alumnae association is hosting a kids camp-in with an Ice Age theme at the Illinois State Museum later this month, and guess who is providing the musical entertainment?  I did actually do a search for songs on this subject, but unfortunately came up empty-handed.  So I got to work writing my own, and this is what I came up with:

Millions of years ago,
The earth was covered in ice and snow,
No oak tree grew, no grass on the ground.
Only glaciers all around.
The air was cold, the land was bare,
In the Ice Age everywhere.

Wooly mammoths, and cave bears too,
And wooly rhinos, just to name a few.
Were animals who lived back when,
But have become extinct since then.
There were also reindeer with their great big hooves,
And horses, bison and wolves.


35,000 years before now,
The Ice Age people lived somehow.
They hunted with tools they made from rock and bone,
In caves and shelters they found a home.
Fire kept them warm and scared the animals away,
They were able to live this way.


The Ice Age was a time of discovery
For those who came before you and me.
Eventually the ice began to melt away,
And the Earth evolved into what it is today.
Now glaciers and fossils and drawings show,
That the Ice Age existed long ago.


I kept the information pretty basic and straightforward, bearing in mind that my audience will be made up of late-elementary school students.  My program comes at the end of the evening, though, so by then, they’ll probably already know all of this and then some.  In fact, maybe the kids could help me write “The Ice Age Song: Part 2”.  Hmm…now that’s not a bad idea!

Sunday Singalong: Good Green Earth

After a two-week hiatus, I’m back with a brand new video. It was such a beautiful spring day that I felt inspired to film this one outside, with the help of my wonderful husband. I’m thinking there will be lots more outdoor “Sunday Singalong” videos in the coming months!

“Good Green Earth” was another iTunes find, from the album Good Morning Sun, Goodnight Moon by James K.  I’ve been incorporating in into my music therapy sessions around Earth Day for the last three years, because not only it is a personal and student favorite, but it’s great for reinforcing the days, months, seasons, and even up and down motor movement.  I love songs that are so multifunctional!

It’s hard to believe that Sunday night has arrived, and another week will begin bright and early (“the sun comes up…”) tomorrow.  How was your weekend?  Mine was mostly spent catching up with laundry and cleaning, but I did sneak in a little shopping and lounging :)  I’m excited for a low-key, productive week and even more gorgeous spring weather.  See you back here soon!

A Glee-ful Trip Down Memory Lane

Yesterday’s post about Glee! got me feeling pretty nostalgic about the “good old days” of high school show choir. So nostalgic, in fact, that I went over to my parents’ house and dug out my box of photo albums. I graduated from high school in 2001, the days before digital cameras became the norm, but I did find a few snapshots of my show choir, Seven & Senators, in action. Can you find me in the picture above?  (Hint: click the picture to enlarge it.)

We actually called ourselves a “swing” choir rather than a show choir, because we performed mostly jazz songs.  In this picture, we’re doing “Moonglow” – that’s me in the back, getting dipped by my sophomore year crush.  We never dated, but almost all of my high school boyfriends were musical types.  So it surprised lots of people when I went and married a non-musical soccer player :)

My junior year, our choreographer taught us all how to tap dance.  And by the end of the year, we were GOOD.  At our spring concert, we performed this awesome arrangement of “Bill Bailey” and seriously wowed everyone with our dance skills.  That’s why we all look so happy in this picture!

Part of what made being in Seven & Senators so much fun is that I was surrounded by my best friends.  We spent a LOT of time together, so over the years we became very close.  Two of my fellow sopranos were even bridesmaids in my wedding.

There aren’t many life experiences like being a member of a tight-knit performing group.  Of course, we had our share of drama (questionable directors, upperclassmen jealousy when as lowly freshmen, my two friends and I made the group instead of them, arguments over solos and dance partners) but we were quite low-key compared to the hijinks that ensue on Glee.  We might not have made for very good television, but we still had a darn good time!

Friday Fave: Glee!

Who else is with me when I say that Glee just might be the most entertaining show on television right now? Judging from the response I received after posting about the return of Season 1 on my Facebook page the other night, I’m not alone in that sentiment. Hard-core fans of this show call themselves “gleeks” – and I just might be one of them!

There are so many reasons why I love this show.  The first is that I’m a six-year show choir veteran, so every episode serves up a big heap of nostalgia (although thankfully, I never had to deal with teen pregnancy, sabotaging gym teachers, or blue slushies thrown in my face).

Next is obviously the amazing music.  The variety of songs, from Lionel Richie to Wicked to Kelly Clarkson,  keeps the show fresh and relevant.  Not to mention the ridiculously talented cast.  Lea Michele, who plays Rachel, is in my opinion the highlight of the show (and NOT just because I really like her character’s name).  My husband, a closeted gleek, and I rewound and replayed one of Rachel’s songs from Tuesday night’s episode three times.

Another thing that makes Glee so appealing is that it’s hilarious.  The absurd plot lines and one-liners are reason enough to watch this show.  It’s definitely not for young children, but I do have quite a few teenage students who are big fans.  We always discuss the latest episode at the start of our lessons, and I think the fact that I watch increases my “cool” factor with them :)

Speaking of cool, I love the fact that this show has made singing, show choir, and Broadway musical numbers cool.  Too bad Glee wasn’t around when I was in high school!  I never thought I’d see the day when “Tonight” from West Side Story and “Defying Gravity” from Wicked – the Glee versions, of course – would show up on my husband’s iPod (just don’t tell him I told you that).

What about you?  Do you watch the show?  If not, I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I highly recommend it.  And now I’ll take off my Glee sandwich board (this post has made me sound like a walking advertisement for the show) and go to class.  Happy Friday, everyone!

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