I recently got a message from a very concerned citizen about a Common Core lesson a kindergarten student in her group of friends was taught. Called “The Earth is Our Mother”, my reader asked me if this was indeed not only a CCSS lesson but a witch’s chant as well. IF this is true, then……
Our riddle today is why would this be appropriate in anyone’s mind for a kindergartner?
The Song, Is It Really a Witch’s Chant?:
Depending on what website you choose, you’ll find the “Earth is Our Mother” has been said to be a Native American song; a pagan ritual song, a witch’s chant, an Earth Day activity, and so forth. So, which one is correct?
Songs for Teaching’s website uses the the song as a Native American culture tie in. See: http://www.songsforteaching.com/gemini/theearthisourmother.php
Better Lesson’s website (which is features expressly CCSS related lessons) had this for “Saving Mother Earth”, which uses the concept for recycling. I couldn’t find a direct mention of the song in today’s riddle, but I wanted to include this so you could see a first grader’s look at a recycling CCSS lesson. See: http://betterlesson.com/lesson/557938/pollution-and-recycling
I found several pagan websites that use the song as a chant. (one example is Chant Goddess’s website. See: http://www.chantgoddess.com/theearthisourmother.htm) One Wiccan website has the “Earth is Our Mother” in their songs/dances category. (See: http://www.thedance.com/wicca101/songs.htm )
Not knowing which vain the teacher was using the song in or being privy to the assignments given, we cannot get a clear cut answer to our riddle. However, we’re not quite through digging yet.
How CCSS fits in:
Since I do know this real life event happened recently in NC, I was able to locate the Kindergarten CCSS Music Standards. I can tell you based on this information the teacher was looking for relevance, response, and literature. I can also tell you the Kindergartner Music Standards take up 2 pages. Below is a screen shot of just SOME of what a kindergartner is to glean via CCSS in music.
To see the entire K-8 Music CCSS pdf: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/acre/standards/new-standards/arts/music/k-8.pdf
If you’d like to see the CCSS Text Exemplars for NC: http://elaccss.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/file/view/ELA+Text+exemplars.pdf
To see some more CCSS resources NC uses for its potential lesson planning: Sample Unit and Lesson Plans and Resources for ELA Common Core
I found the following resources helping in delving into the county’s school system my reader was concerned about. Since these are general links, no privacy has been violated. Since music has long been used as a portion of literacy. I thought some of the information would be helpful, especially as we have to filter so much about CCSS.
1) The NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) has this guide to teaching literacy sample by Joy Foss. See: www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Books/Sample/29900chap01x.pdf
2) Here’s a video of 21st Century Communication Skills as per the “21st Century Literacy” site. (website: http://read6351.wikispaces.com/21st+Century+Literacies )
3) A CA based Kindergartner lesson plan for ‘Mother Earth’: http://www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/directory/global_k.html
4) A Native American lesson plan involving ‘Mother Earth’ from CO: http://static.dpsk12.org/gems/indian/indianedlesson5.pdf
5) If you’d like to search for lessons featuring the song in our riddle from the perspective of Wiccans (witches) and/or other faiths which honor the Earth as a parent (Muslim is among them). Please do so on your own. Based on what I found, I chose to NOT include links in my article due to the nature of some of the information I found. I can share with you, much is available.
So, was my reader over-reacting when she contacted me? I don’t believe so. I think in today’s world, especially in education, we must really question WHY some resources are being singled out as appropriate. Was the “Earth is My Mother” an appropriate choice for a group of Kindergartners? I don’t agree that it is, however, I wasn’t there to see HOW it was used. At the tender ages of a K student, they are just grasping family concepts, forming bonds. I think any THING called as ‘mom’, ‘dad’, or other family names can be a bit too confusing. Especially when you factor in Common Core’s agenda.
I would encourage you to keep a sharp eye out for what’s going on in the classrooms; to question why a teacher is using a resource or asking how it’s suitable for your child. From other readers who’ve contacted me, they’ve shared they do EVER get to see what’s being used or being notified BEFORE a certain resource is chosen. When did the family in today’s story learn of what they were told was a witch’s chant? After it happened.
Finally, if you care to see a You Tube video of the song, I’ve included it below. I searched for a version that would not be too scary to post.