There have been posts popping up time and time again pointing out the joy and wonder that Disney songs and Disney more generally bring to classrooms, so over the last few months we've been pulling together the 10 most suitable Disney songs which lend themselves to a week's worth of study.
Since our Lyric Reading Comprehension resource was released a year ago, there has been some amazing feedback from teachers around the country and it’s been great to hear classes who have been studying Tom Waits, David Bowie and Joni Mitchell in more detail as well as teachers taking things further themselves with other songs. Where best to look next than the wonderful catalogue of Disney songs?
Walt Disney has been inspiring and enthralling children around the world since 1929. From the early Mickey Mouse cartoons to the recent take-over of Star Wars, they have been a stalwart in children's entertainment for nearly a century. With this in mind, whilst planning my half-term units of literacy, I have been keen to incorporate whole class reading books, Literacy Shed Film study units, non-fiction, poetry and song lyrics, now including the odd Disney song! For example, while studying RJ Palacio’s ‘Wonder’ for a Year 6 transition unit, we are planning to include the ‘Little Freak’ plans on The Literacy Shed Plus this time around, some non-fiction PSHE work on differences and bullying, as well as Auggie's favourite song Space Oddity by David Bowie. I then created a knowledge organiser for the book to support children's background knowledge. CLICK HERE for the Wonder Knowledge Organiser. Whilst researching a range of suitable Disney songs for the
classroom, ‘Out There’ from The Hunchback of Notre
Dame struck a chord as a song which contains the very same themes and ideas to those of Auggie in Wonder. I then stumbled across the graphic novels by Benjamin Lacombe linked to the story, a wonderful bank of images for making inferences or stimuli for writing.
As well as a fantastic opportunity to dip into the original archaic text by Victor Hugo, I felt that the Disney film and song could offer more than just a random interlude to a unit of work, but be woven within it. This included analysing the lyrics to the song 'Out There', including retrieving information, looking at some of the more complex vocabulary (e.g. revile, consternation, parapets, scold etc.) and thinking about some of the inferences we can make within the song.
This led to further thoughts about incorporating Disney films
and songs into units of work. The Pocahontas song 'Colors of the Wind' would fit well into a unit on North America and the Native Americans, along with studying 'Hugh' on The Literacy Shed, an animation based on an Apache myth. The film and song could also be used to compare the Disney version to the more historically accurate account of her life which can be read in a variety of other books.
Beyond just topic links, most Disney songs have a moral message for listeners to think about too, which could be suitable for PSHE units, the individual needs of classes or used to support the emphasis on a 'character curriculum'. Bare Necessities would work in a rainforest unit and allow discussions about materialism/consumerism whilst Moana could be used in an ocean/islands topic and be used to discuss self-belief and perseverance.
This 67-page resource has 4 reading skills-based comprehensions for each song including retrieval and recording, vocabulary, inference and an assessment at the end. Here is the final list of 10 songs which made the resource. I'd love to hear about how you've used Disney songs, films or short animations to bring your topics to life.
1.) A Whole New World (Aladdin) 2.) Bare Necessities (The Jungle Book) 3.) Colors of the Wind (Pocahontas) 4.) Hakuna Matata (The Lion King) 5.) I am Moana (Song of the Ancestors) (Moana) 6.) Let it Go (Frozen) 7.) Out There (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) 8.) Under the Sea (The Little Mermaid) 9.) What’s This? (The Nightmare Before Christmas) 10.) You Can Fly (Peter Pan)
We can't wait to hear classes singing along and using the resource to support their reading skills!
To download the Disney Lyrics Reading Comprehension resource CLICK HERE.