First Grade Concert Celebrates Gratitude

“I’m thankful for ice cream because it’s yummy … obviously,” said Elijah, one of the readers at Increase Miller Elementary’s First Grade Gratitude Concert. He smiles. The 75 students behind him crack up. It's the dress rehearsal; the concert is one day away.

“No, we can’t chuckle,” said music teacher April Higgins. “The audience might laugh, because it is funny, but we just smile.” 

Add stagecraft to the list of learnings, including memorizing songs, learning hand motions, speaking in public and working as a group, which are folded into the students’ performance. Top of the list may be considering the concept of gratitude.

Classic children's songs

The concert’s classic children’s songs celebrate simple gifts such as “food in my belly and love in my family,” as the song “All I Really Need” puts it. From the peaceful sounds of “Thanks A Lot,” accompanied by music teacher Michael Gelfer on guitar, to the exuberant “Over the River and Through the Woods,” the children’s voices and accompanying hand motions show their hard work and how excited they are to share the songs with their families!

Songs with hand motions

Reading and Reflecting, too

The first graders have also been exploring gratitude with their teachers.

“We read ‘Thankful ‘and ‘Thank You, Earth’ together” said first grade teacher Amanda Lisk, referring to Increase Miller Elementary’s November common reads.

“Students also brainstormed the big and little things they are grateful for. Some student responses included construction paper to make crafts, digraphs to learn new words and the playground where you can make new friends.”

Beautiful job, students

“The concert was great; it brought me to tears,” said Rosemary Arnold, one of the first-grade parents, at the dress rehearsal.

“I hear all of the rehearsals,” said Paul Infante, Increase Miller Elementary’s greeter, who sits adjacent to the school's stage. “The students sound better and better. The concert today was fabulous, and the children’s enthusiasm is contagious!”