I have had a number of lesson ideas that have resulted from hearing a song, sometimes from the very first time I hear it, other times it is a song I have heard over and over again that just seems to resonate differently this time.
When driving home after running some errands for school I was listening to the radio when a song came on that I had never heard before, "When I look in the eyes of my enemy I see my brother." As I was driving I was envisioning a great social studies lesson. I remember reading "Citizen Soldier" by Stephen Ambrose that recounted the realities of war and history through the eyes of individual human beings.
The song had me seeing images of soldiers facing off, looking eye to eye and realizing they are more alike than different. It reminded me of the stories I have read about soldiers during conflict finding momentary lapses in hostilities to connect and learn about each other. To break down the walls of hatred. I began thinking about how to leverage this in a social studies lesson. How could I get students to explore some of the most important historic events through the eyes of the individuals and not as concepts most students in America cannot really relate to?
Then I watched the video and this changed. The first images are of people from various walks of life. Then you see a young girl who takes pictures of numerous people each time giving them a card. I was moved by the images as I listened to the words that made me see each of these unique individuals as special human beings. The music, lyrics and images are so powerful. They conjured up so many emotions and ideas about how to recreate this with students.
I began thinking about how to use this song and the idea of taking pictures of so many unique individuals in our community. But then the video pulls it all together. The cards the young lady handed each person she took a picture of brought them all together to an art exhibit. All of the pictures with a description were hanging in the room as the people who were in those images mingled, and learned about each other. It was a powerful experience.
How can we create this in our buildings? How can we create something like this for teachers in our buildings or better yet in our district? How can we create opportunities to build community within our own organization? How could we recreate this were students can create a gallery of their classmates. How could our art classes use this idea to create art exhibits? When I first saw the images I was thinking that they could include a QR code with a audio/video recording sharing information about the person, but the face to face was so much more powerful.
I have lots of questions about this song, but hope to add more answers to those questions as I spend more time with it. I would love to hear your ideas for using this song and music in general in your class. Please add comments.