Find Your Smile

by Anne & David Ellsworth

We like to include a tune or two in each issue for your youngest singers (pre-K through 1st grade). Since children this young are still learning a lot of "life" lessons, we hope that we can help solidify their learning through the use of music. "Find Your Smile" helps kids remember that they can choose to smile in situations where they might be feeling a little afraid or unhappy. Like when things are new or different. Riding a bus or going to school for the first time might feel a little scary. Remembering to smile (turn aroun' your frown!) definitely helps. Going through these things with other kids also helps. It's new to everyone!

The lyrics for the song are cheerful and upbeat as is the melody and rhythmic background. There are several natural pauses in the song during which students are encouraged to smile. Let them show a big, toothy grin (or toothless, as the case may be)! And sure, they can use their fingers to help if they want to. Another idea would be to let each student draw her own smiling face on a piece of paper. At the appropriate times in the song, students could hold up their pictures at the same time they are smiling!

To help them learn the lyrics, consider using a lyrics picture poster. On a poster board or large sheet of bulletin board paper, draw pictures that represent the words in the song. Organize them to look like a sentence or verse. Depending on the age group, smaller words can be added in between the major words. We've seen it done with single word pictures on a paddle and with entire stories written out with all nouns represented in picture form.

Pictures should be simple to understand and duplicate. They should also be reviewed prior to use to be sure everyone understands and agrees what a symbol represents. When the melody is introduced, the picture words are pointed to at the appropriate time. By using this tool, learning lyrics becomes a fun game and boosts confidence as children participate and ultimately, succeed.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.