Day 1 of school. We learn Freré Jacques. I lived in France as a child. It's part of my story. We echo sing it. We sing it in unison. In French. In English. I make up words. Starting in 1st grade, I have them sing it by themselves. (We do this K-6.) I start them again and start singing Row, Row, Row. I don't tell them I'm doing that. Some raise their eyebrows. We have done this at the END of kindergarten. They remember. I ask the 1st and 2nd rows to turn around and face the 3rd and 4th rows. (Yes, we stand in four rows. It works form e in SO many ways!) We talk about how I like to Kayak and we get our own and talk about what colors they are. We scrunch down in our kayaks and sing Row, Row, Row together facing each other. We do it again. I direct the 1st and 2nd rows to sing Row, Row Row 3 times. Once by themselves and then keep going. I tell the 3rd and 4th rows to wait for me because we're going to France. We will sing Freré Jacques once. We do this and sometimes we wipe out. Most of the time not. We try again. We switch parts. We change kayaks. We smile. We laugh. We grow strong as singers.
I don't do a lot of explaining in my class. At least that is my goal. I direct and say, "1, 2, ready go." No excuses. No lag time. Just jump in. I am totally committed to making independent singers. Leaders. Capable musicians who do not need me.