The songwriters of the Dolphin Class in Room 104 spent the last three weeks involved in the writing process. Our goal was to publish a song that incorporates all of their learning about the Nile Project and the importance of clean water for everyone. During our writing process, students brainstormed what they learned about the Nile River. This includes the importance of cooperation, respect, water conservation, and equality, and that everyone deserves clean water, no matter your economic status or race. We realized that everyone on the planet needs water and we have to work together to make that happen. That is where our title came from. Together we started brainstorming rhyming words (ie Nile and denial). From there, we started to write sentences that rhymed and made sense. We wanted to write a piece that would get people’s attention, raise awareness about the global and local issues around water, and to empower our students and to see themselves as activists and change-makers. We realized that what is going on for the Nile countries is also happening in our country with the drought in California. We also revisited the importance of Dr. Frankic’s work and the Kids’ Biomimicry Lab at Savin Hill Cove in Dorchester. Oysters are one of nature’s important water filters. These bivalves are key to helping to sustaining our water supply and also help prevent erosion. They are not just for eating!
In the block area, students built the Grant Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia. It is the source of 80% of the water in the Nile River. We revisited what the students learned when we studied beavers in the fall and students were able to apply those learnings to the model of the dam they built in the block area. As the students started building, they said to each other “we have to make this level and stable”. They planned what they were going to do and which blocks to use. They had a lot of conversations about what they were doing, what was working (and not working) and how to improve their design.
Students wrote a draft of the song and got feedback from each other and from other educators and the music teacher. The students then incorporated the feedback and made some edits to the song. You can hear the final version of the song at https://soundcloud.com/user550653951/kids-nile-project-song.
Our class is collaborating with the Nile Project, directed by Mina Girgis, Dr. Barbara Brown at the African Studies Center at Boston University, and Dr. Theresa Perry, Chair of the Race, Education and Democracy Stem Network and professor at Simmons College.
This is the performance of Song I, which was created with African Drumming teacher Jonathan Hess. You can view the performance at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QueDeH2HwQ&feature=youtu.be.
Song II (The Nile: Water Touches Everybody) is written by the students and will be posted next week.