Organized Learning

Lovely Rivers

The following is one of the most enjoyable activities I have ever carried out. And I must say my students loved it, too. Try it! I often do songs in class: old songs, new songs...the best of both worlds to suit the kids' taste...and my own. River Ebro, which crosses our town and is just a few yards away from my doorstep, was the inspiration for an amusing project which kept everyone busy for a couple of weeks.

We listened to quite a few songs, all dealing with rivers:

  • Lynn Anderson's (and also The McGuire Sister's version) - Red River Valley
  • Mahalia Jackson's - Down by the Riverside
  • Frank Sinatra's - Moonriver
  • Ike and Tina Turner's - River Deep, Mountain High
  • The Beatles' (and also Elton John's version) - Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  • Simon and Garfunkel's - Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • Boney M's - Rivers of Babylon
  • Bruce Springsteen's - The River
  • Jeff Beck's - Ol' Man River
  • Albert Hammond's - Down by the River

We dealt with the lyrics in several ways and, to everybody's surprise, what had started as a simple linguistic issue led us to a multi-cultural event: by discussing the different messages in the songs, their performers' careers and their singing styles, we dealt with geography, the history of music, religion, literature, films, love, art, social trends, drug abuse, politics, the environment...life, in a nutshell. A most substantial subject, indeed. We are already working on two new topics: the Moon and...almost inevitable...Love. Will let you know about our findings, sometime!

Devised by Joan M. Diez Cliville
IESI Ramon Berenguer IV School
Amposta, Tarragona (Spain)

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