In Point Loma, San Diego, many teachers are integrating music into their general classrooms these days. One who is leading the charge is Patrice Maller, a veteran educator whose creative spark is always lit. Recently, after taking an intensive training with GITC, Patrice (2nd from the left) got the idea to empower her class to address a safety hazard at school. Rather than standing in front of school with signs or reading a list of DOs and DON’Ts, her class decided to write a song to get their point across. And wow did it work. These students are now in high demand, being asked by other classrooms to bring their ukuleles and teach the safety song so students can go home and sing it to their families.
The grass roots folk process is alive and well at Silvergate Elementary!
The problem in need of solving? Parental parking behavior.
As with most schools where parents drive their sons and daughters in the mornings, the front drive becomes overcrowded. This leads to hazardous conditions for students exiting cars in the street and walking in front of idling vehicles. It also frustrates the heck out of everyone waiting to pull up! So here is what the kids in Ms. Maller’s class put together the tune of “Row, Row Row Your Boat” (sung slowly).
Silver Gate Safety
A Silver Gate Service Announcement, By the Sensational Singing, Strolling, & Strumming Silver Gators
When you drive your kids to school
Please don’t stop and wait
Give kisses and hugs while you’re still at home
And WAVE goodbye at the gate.
Drive to the end of the white line
It’s called the Loading Zone
Go slow, with the flow
And PLEASE put down the phone.
If you have to cross the street
The crosswalk is the place
Look both ways before you go
Then WALK it’s not a race.
Kids can help their parents out
By organizing their things
Make it a habit, quick like a rabbit
In your SEAT when the bell rings.
The most important thing to us
Is to keep our Gators safe
So listen to the Parking Attendant
Then SMILE and say GOOD DAY! (G’DAY!)
This song is such a hit that now the class has been tasked with writing public service and safety announcements for the school on other topics as well. And parents in Ms. Maller’s class all chipped in to buy a classroom ukulele for every single student to play! Way to go, parents.
Yes, songwriting for safety makes sense – even according to Common Core Content Standards for English Language Arts. This collaborative songwriting process involves both creative and technical writing bundled into one amazing musical effort every time the students write together. And when they perform, their public speaking skills and confidence are going up, up, up. Talk about motivation to go to school.
Let’s see what they write next!