Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The North Star and North Star Musical Journey

My friends at FableVision have an amazing company. Ever wonder why I am their biggest fan? Here is just one example. I love the story of The North Star by Peter H. Reynolds. I think it is an amazing book with a great lesson for kids (and adults too.) One of the first amazing things I learned was that you can read the North Star book on-line....for free! What author or company lets you do that? They sell the book and it is a beautiful book that I highly recommend, but you can read it online for free. The reason they do that is that the company believes in its mission and the potential of children and the educators that guide them.

The North Star Musical Journey, which is the musical based on the book, was performed during my elementary school's Winter Concert on December 19, 2007. As a small, rural school, the North Tama Winter Concert is typically filled with traditional Christmas music. Since the story of Christmas uses a star as a main symbol, it seemed like a good fit to feature the North Star’s story about a journey toward a star.

The show began with all 225 students in grades one through six singing “Journey,” followed by combinations of fourth through sixth grade classes performing the remaining songs. Five sixth grade students played the main characters and the narrating duties were divided between three different students.

Before beginning to learn the music, I read each class The North Star. The students’ reactions to the story were extremely positive. With every class, after I read the story I asked, “What kind of story ends with the words ‘the beginning’?” The classes immediately understood the concept of life as a journey and that although the book had ended, life was just beginning. When they began learning songs, it was unlike any previous concert preparation experiences, the students were excited to sing the songs time and time again.

My blog title is a reference to The North Star as I am truly on a journey..."a remarkable journey." How are you traveling on your journey?


Mrs. Morrow said...

Have enjoyed the North Star as a classroom theme in my 5th grade class for several years. I even use the book, along with Ish and others, with my graduate classes I teach. My newest excitement is for Animationish... my young kids at home seem to love it and I am hoping our school will purchase it as well. I enjoyed your blog and your experiences teaching in the music field. Thank you for sharing!

Patti Harju said...

I mentioned before that I saw Peter Reynolds at MACUL in Detroit. I enjoyed his presentation and have been meaning to purchase his books, of course I wrote a note about it on a piece of paper I can no longer find. Your blog posts have helped me remember! Thank you for reminding me of all of the wonderful products and software that FableVision has to offer. You have given me a lot to look into this summer.