World Environment Day is celebrated on the 5th June every year and is a day to take positive action. Environmental issues are regularly in the news highlighting extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels, the o-zone layer or recycling, and in 2019 the UK Parliament declared a climate change emergency. You may be wondering what more you can do to make a difference, because small actions by individuals can have a big impact.
There are many great teaching tips and ideas on how to educate yourselves about climate change and, staying true to our (tree) roots, we’ve chosen five of our top songs about the environment and compiled a list of five lesson ideas for you to save (the planet) through song.
Each of these teaching tips references an Out of the Ark Music primary school song as well as an old chart-topper you may just remember! Use the chart songs to learn about different types of music like country, spoken word and ‘surf’. Then use our songs and corresponding lesson ideas to dive further into the music.
Here are our top 5 songs and activities about the environment:
Green Song from Songs For Every Day explores why certain planet-saving actions are so important. Learn about the exciting jungle rhythms of this song using 'junk' drums made from recycled materials. Create a simple rhythm that can be played to accompany the song. You could use a simple one-handed rhythm or challenge your class to play a more complex rhythm with two hands. Country songs often sing about farming and the land. Listen to Pass It On Down by Alabama and discuss what you can do to make sure you 'leave some green on the ground' for future generations.
2. Songs About Saving Water
Learn about rhyming sequences and repetition using the song Save Our Water from My World: Wonderful Water. Then, explore the history of 'surf' music by listening to tracks such as Don't Go Near The Water by The Beach Boys. Surf music is split into two types: instrumental and lyrical. Focus on the lyrics in Save Our Water and Don't Go Near The Water and try writing your own rhyme about ways that we can save water.
3. Songs & Spoken Word About Making A Change
A Great Big Change from Sing™ Together is a great environmental anthem that helps us remember all the ways we can work together to change our world for the better. This song contains a fun, rhythmic speaking part that should be performed with conviction. It opens a great learning avenue to explore rap and spoken word. Be sure to encourage children to stick to the beat. You could even practise clapping the rhythm of the spoken word part first so children learn the exact rhythm of the words before singing along with the music. Listen to If A Tree Falls by Bruce Cockburn and explore how he uses a mixture of spoken word and singing to express his emotions about deforestation.
4. Songs About The Three R's
One simple way to help save the environment is by remembering the three R’s – reduce, reuse, and recycle. Jack Johnson has a great acoustic song called The Three R’s in which he reminds us to contribute to protecting the planet by reducing, reusing and recycling. Children are sure to love this song with its summery melody and simple lyrics. Sing along to Recycle Me from Here Comes Summer! and discuss the many ways you can recycle in your classroom. Really focus on the diction in this song to make sure everyone hears the message about recycling!
5. Songs About Environmental Harmony
Listen to Walking To School Week from Summer Assembly Songs. Try out the vocal harmonies in this song using our Words on Screen™ software. You can also use this song to begin a conversation about how you can reduce your carbon footprint by using alternative transportation when travelling to and from school. Discuss the similar uses of (environmental) harmonies in the songs Walking To School Week and Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell. Big Yellow Taxi emphasises how beautiful pieces of land are being built on. Joni Mitchell said:
Click here to listen to Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell on YouTube.
To find out more about the UN World Environment Day click here.
Written by Florence Robjohn - Creative Marketing Assistant, Out of the Ark Music Team. Updated May 2020.
Keep up to date with all the latest from Out of the Ark Music by signing up to our eNewsletter and subscribing to our blog here.
USED IT? LOG IT! Most schools have a CWCL licence from Christian Copyright Licensing Limited (CCLI) - more information can be found here. This licence grants permission to display song lyrics and music from Out of the Ark Music’s Words on Screen™ Player and CD ROMs, on any projection screen as well as download and share lyrics and music. Whenever you use our songs, please make note of your usage and then log your songs on your CCLI copy report, so that song writers and copyright holders are paid for their work.
Out of the Ark Music has been providing schools across the country – and world – with wonderful primary school musicals and primary school songs for nearly 30 years. Our Christmas musicals and nativity plays make children sparkle and shine, year after year, as they proudly perform their school Christmas play. Our extensive collection of fun and joyous Easter songs, harvest songs, school assembly songs, leavers songs and even space songs, fill schools with laughter and give students and teachers alike, a reason to sing every day of the week. We’re glad you’re supporting us in our dreams of creating the best music for schools around the globe. Read more about us here.