Grades 3-5 students engaged with singer/songwriter RiverJack Z during a three-week residency at Schuylerville Elementary School. RiverJack Z, a guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the renowned Zucchini Brothers, also travels to schools, bringing with him unique songwriting programs for students. His program at Schuylerville aligned with the elementary school’s social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum and character education themes of fostering a growth mindset, goal-setting, and emotion management.
Students in Lisa Schwartz’s classes spent time with RiverJack Z brainstorming song lyrics reflective of the SEL topics focused on year-round. Three weeks of work resulted in 15 songs written and performed by students for their peers in school assemblies.
“It was such a pleasure and a privilege to be part of this song writing workshop with RiverJack Z!” said Lisa Schwartz. “Watching students create and put powerful words to music was heartwarming. Through songwriting, they demonstrated problem solving skills, cooperation and respect for others’ opinions, while also having fun! It was a reminder to never underestimate the power of music delivering a message from our hearts.”
Teachers were present with students throughout the residency to support the classroom song creation. RiverJack Z created a virtual album via a YouTube page to showcase the end results. Some of the song titles included, “Strength of Feelings,” “Take a Break,” “Ready, Set, Goal!”, “What Can I Change?” and “The Balanced Brain.”
“RiverJack Z brought a sense of unity and connectedness for our students and staff,” said Elementary School Principal Rose Beckett. “Students used their creativity and writing skills and came together to work on an impressive cross-curricular project. RiverJack Z is passionate about what he does and we thank him for the time spent in our district.”