by Teresa Jennings
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.
We have been told that this lively Latin song would be perfect for Thanksgiving, and while that may be true, we happen to feel that gratitude is a year-round subject! This song gives your students the opportunity to think about some of the things in their lives that they are grateful for.
The format of the song is simple. There is a unison melody, which is repetitious and easy to learn. At measure 17, the question "What are you grateful for?" is asked first in unison, then in two parts, then in unison again, and then in two parts again. The harmony is easy enough that we think your students will not only learn it quickly, but they will look forward to singing it. If it proves too challenging, just keep it all in unison.
After the question is asked each time, students are given the opportunity to state what they are grateful for. The singers on our recording came up with their own answers. (The illustration of the kids on horses on the lyric page comes from the first answer, as you will hear.) Your students should come up with their own answers as well, though you may want to prompt them to think of things. The answers can be serious, silly, funny, insightful, or whatever you like. Change the word "for" to "that" as needed for the wording of the answers. If the answers are very short, you might be able to fit more than one in each break. Choose your respondents ahead of time for ease of performance. And remember that the fourth answer break is shorter than the others.
If you are performing in class only, let students ad lib their responses. Or in a performance, pick on your audience members to come up with things they are grateful for! If you prefer to have a scripted version (a good idea in performance especially), be sure to let your students write the script together.
Consider thinking up things that all of you are collectively grateful for - things that are pertinent to the school, the community, the state, etc. This would be a particularly good idea for school or community celebrations. For example, "We're grateful for Principal Smith." Or, "We're grateful for the newly planted trees in Washington Park."