At St. Stephens, the “Singing for the Animals” service project provided an opportunity for students to make a difference in their community by raising money to help the county’s homeless animals. They gave the “gift of themselves” as they raised the money by singing for donations. During the first 40 minute lesson, students used a bubble map to list qualities of their pets to help show the value of animals. A tree map was also used to lists the responsibilities of children and adults as owners of cats and dogs (e.g. vaccinate, spay/neuter, food/water, adequate shelter, medical care when needed, treats, love and attention) and to list responsibilities county residents have as good citizens for homeless animals (e.g. volunteering with an organization that rescues animals, adopting a stray, donating money to afford adequate care for the rescued strays so that they can be adopted into homes). During the second 40 minute lesson, students learned how to sing a simple song (e.g., “You are My Sunshine”) in their music class. During this lesson, students also recalled responsibilities a pet owner has and responsibilities county residents have in caring for the homeless animals in their community. They were then introduced to the service project in which they would sing their song for donations to the local Humane Society. A teacher led-discussion was also included about having the courage to sing to benefit animals. The following lesson is the third lesson in this series.
After a review of the “Singing for the Animals” service project and why they will be raising money for the stray cats and dogs, students will understand that there is a proper posture when singing as they engage in a teacher-led discussion on the requirements for appropriate posture. Students will then have an opportunity to demonstrate proper posture as they practice singing their fundraising song. Students will also list additional criteria for evaluating a performance and understand how to evaluate fairly based only on the criteria and not other influences.
- identify the correct posture of a singer
- demonstrate the correct posture of a singer as they sing their selected song
- devise and list criteria for evaluating a performance
- understand how to evaluate a performance fairly
- Review the “Singing for the Animals” service project and the reason for raising money for the stray cats and dogs housed at the local Humane Society.
- Rehearse the song that students will be singing for the donations.
- Ask students to show what they think is proper posture when singing.
- Select a student to stand in front of the class. Ask that student to follow the following verbal directions:
• balance your weight evenly on both feet
• flex your knees a little (do not lock your knees)
• place your hands and arms down by your side
• keep chin, jaw and throat relaxed
• keep back straight, not curved
• place shoulders in a relaxed, normal position (do not raise shoulders or slump over)
- All students then stand and follow the directions for proper posture.
- Students (3rd-6th grade) then sit and write the “rules” for proper posture in their journals. For K-2nd graders, students verbally review the “rules” for proper singing posture.
- Write the criteria for proper posture on the overhead. Students check their entries and make corrections.
- Students demonstrate proper posture and sing their song.
- Teacher tells students that with proper posture they will look better and sound better.
- Ask students to name other “rules” (criteria) for proper singing. (What do you think is important when a person sings?) Through guided discussion, students responses should include the following:
• sings with good diction (words can be understood)
• sings on pitch (the right notes)
• uses a light head voice instead of a heavy chest voice sound
• sings with confidence
• keeps a steady beat (tempo does not fluctuate too much)
• uses eye contact to interact with the audience (instead of looking at the ceiling, floor, etc.)
- Students (3rd-6th grade) write the criteria in their journals.
- Tell students that this list of “rules” (criteria) will be used in evaluating each other during the next music lesson when they will be singing their songs for each other.
- Ask students to list things they will not evaluate as a person sings. Through guided discussion, students responses should include the following:
• type of clothing worn
• hair style
• whether the person is their best friend or not
- Students stand and demonstrate proper singing posture. With journals closed, students name the other criteria for evaluating a performance.
- Students return journals and pencils.
Assess journal entry on proper posture and other criteria for proper singing.
Related Links and Resources
Best Friends Sanctuary: www.bestfriends.org
Herriot, James. The Christmas Day Kitten. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1986.
Houk, Randy. Jasmine. Westport: Reader’s Digest Young Families, Inc., 1993.
National Association for Humane and Environmental Education (Youth Education Affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States): www.nahee.org
National Humane Education Society: www.nhes.org
North Shore Animal League: www.nsal.org/
Simont, Marc. The Stray Dog. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002.
Verdick, Elizabeth. Tails are not for Pulling. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing Inc., 2005.