The Cutest Thing

In November, I flew to Minnesota to perform at Gustavus Adolphus College (which was so much fun). The school put me up in their on campus guest house and it just so happened to be that there was the coolest couple from Alaska that were also staying there as well. Steve and Vanni Culbertson and I just clicked and they came to see me perform the next night. We’ve been staying in touch and I received this email in my inbox this morning. It’s such a cute story…you’ll get a kick out of it.

Hi Amanda,

OK, I had to email you this before I went to bed tonight before I forget the specialness of it. Today I had to substitute teach a 2nd grade class at our elementary school here in Barrow because they were short substitutes for teachers who were being pulled out for some special training. In emergency situations central office staff get drafted to cover classes. I have been a secondary teacher ( 6th -12 grade) for over a quarter of a century now – but I have no clue and zero experience in elementary and especially lower grades – most of these kids, about age 7, didn’t come up to my waist. My day started by having to send 2 students to the nurse during the first hour because they were crying because they had paper cuts that were bleeding. So I am doing the best I can just to make it through the day.

The reading story in their reading book today was called “ Ah , Music “ The story was broken down into categories like Melodies, Rhythm, Volume, Beat, and Emotion – each having its own page. The story had little activities for each category such as various hand clapping patterns that I did and then the students echoed it back to me for the Rhythm category etc. But on the Emotion page, they just talked about the fact that songs give you various emotions and didn’t have any activities to do, – so I grabbed my Apple and plugged the speakers in and pulled up i-tunes and just started pulling various songs up at random playing 30 second to a minute of the song so they could get the feel for it and then asked what does this song make you feel like? They all got the idea and responded well and orderly with hand raising and waiting to be called on as you might expect in a well managed and trained classroom.

After doing this with 7-8 songs I thought – oh, you know what, I wonder if they would like one of Amanda’s songs. So I pulled upLove I Have For You and an absolutely amazing thing happened. Within 10 seconds of your song playing every kid in class – boys too, spontaneously had gotten up out of their seats and were dancing and moving to the music. 2 or 3 were twirling themselves in beat to the music with their arms spread out and their heads tilted back – 2-3 others had already formed a line dance and were creating as they went. It totally caught me off guard as this obviously had not happened with any of the previous songs. They were just in total joy and jazzed by it. When I realized they were all up I was so stunned I almost forgot the activity we were doing so I paused the music and asked how does this song make you feel and they all turned toward me with huge smiles and yelled, “Happy! – Now turn that back on !!! “ So I did and just watched them enjoying it.

Just thought you would want to know that there are 2nd graders in Barrow, the farthest north town in the USA, who think you rock…..

Steve and Vanni

How cute??? Right??? I am going to send these awesome 2nd graders some goodies and some “autographed” photos. Now I need to get myself to Alaska! Haha!


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