Songbook No. 1: Rivers

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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 (or The McGuire Sister´s) - 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´ (or Elton John´s) - 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. Díez Clivillé
IESI Ramon Berenguer IV
Amposta, Tarragona (Spain)

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