Note: On the "off years," the kids do a "canned" program, which I often end up modifiying some or adding to again...I just can't help it! I love musicals and performing with these kiddos!
How do I pick themes to write about?
Well, with being an International Baccalaureate (IB) program here, the classrooms have planners (in depth units) based on a certain central idea/theme (Who We Are, How We Express Ourselves, How the World Works, etc) . These themes are a great for basing the themes of my programs on. With the 4th grade program, Feelin' Good, it was focused on living a balanced, healthy lifestyle (a How We Express Ourselves planner).
Side Note: IB asks specialists to try an make at least 1 quality connection to these planners to help strengthen these broad ideas into all subject areas. I really enjoy making these connections because as we all know, Music is connected to EVERYTHING! And I LOVE showing kids that particular feature of our subject area. Now, granted there are some planners that it is a S-T-R-E-T-C-H to connect to, so I choose not to make that connection.
This year I am writing a program for 2nd Grade and it is focused on how even ordinary people can help to make a change in this world (a Sharing the Planet planner). In their classrooms, the kids are collecting old crayons and melting them to make new crayons to sell. Their profits are then going towards Heifer International to buy a goat for a family in Africa. SUPER COOL!
What's exciting is the songs they are learning for this program are strengthening this idea of making a difference and the kids are fully on board and super-charged to put it all together! All my songs that I pick for my programs comes from Music K8. What a fabulous resource! I love it solely for writing my musicals. I usually can find enough awesome songs from these magazines and build a program around them.
So, when I came across the song "Agents of Change" in Music K8 Volume 18, Number 3...it was PERFECT for this theme! And from there, I found a TON of others that I really had to narrow it down and came to a list of about 7 songs total. I then began writing the script with the idea that there is a group of Secret Agents who go around the world making a difference. AND teaching those they meet how to make that change on their own. The agents mission is always to make the world a better place and they are always trying to fight off Dr. Nemesis (Dr. Nem) who goes around with his whisper machine making people be selfish, rude, uncaring, bully, etc.
The kids have LOVED the idea of Secret Agents and all want to be this role in the program. What I've been sharing is that they ALL can be secret agents right now! That they can start making a difference in the world around them!