At school over the last few weeks my students have been learning about families and traditions for part of a social studies unit. The winter holidays are loaded with family traditions so it’s an enjoyable unit for the kids. As a culminating activity, the entire 2nd grade performs a December Celebrations’ program for the parents. They speak about and sing songs from/about various countries and the traditions that have been influential on our US traditions. Needless to say, we’ve been singing A LOT.
At dismissal earlier this week, one of my students told me her mom had taught her a song from Jordan, and she asked if she could teach it to the class. I was out the following day doing a training, so upon my return this morning, she asked again. Wanting to be inclusive of all of the students’ cultures, it was important to give her a few minutes to share, especially since her family’s native country is not part the program. I found some time at the end of the day and told her she was on. We asked her to sing it for us first so we could hear it. In her quiet Minnie Mouse-like voice she began singing. As we listened, a few of the other kids looked inquisitively at her. There was something familiar about it. After a few more bars, one of my caller-outers called out, “We’ve heard that song in here!”
Yes, we had. About 100 years ago when I first started teaching I made a Christmas CD to play in the classroom while the kids worked on their traditions projects. Each year they make me laugh by belting out songs like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Feliz Navidad, and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree as they write and color.
The song she wanted to teach us was actually Wham’s “Last Christmas”, also on the CD. We’ve listened to it several times since returning from Thanksgiving Break.
Within a few seconds, the entire class was singing along to the chorus of “Last Christmas”. I turned on the music for them so they could continue singing while they worked; singing to a song that may or may not “come from Jordan”.