Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Little Boxes

This is the new song we learned yesterday:

Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes, little boxes, little boxes
All the same.

(I asked, "Are they all the same? The children answered, "No, they're different colors.")

(That's right!) There's a green one . . .
And a pink one . . .

And a blue one . . .

And a yellow one.
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in their houses
All go to the university . . .

And the all get put in boxes
Little boxes, all the same.

And there's doctors, and lawyers
And business executives
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

(Luna shouted out, "They do all look the same!)

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry . . .

And the they all have pretty children
And the children go to school.

Then the children go to summer camp
And then to the university . . .

And they all get put in boxes . . .

And they all come out the same.

And they all go into business
Get married and raise a family . . .

And they all get put in boxes
Little boxes, all the same.

There's a green one . . .

And a pink one . . .

And a blue one . . .

And a yellow one.

And they all are made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

This is a variation on the song "Little Boxes, written and originally recorded by Malvina Reynolds (although I've always considered it a Seeger song) and I promise I had no idea that it had been made into the theme song for the TV program Weeds when I decided I wanted to sing it with the children. I've never seen the show, but apparently most of the parents in our school have.

I don't expect the kids to understand the underlying message of this song, but I do intend to sing it for the next few weeks. My hope is that it will click someday for them when they find themselves confronted in their lives with little boxes, all the same.

We then went outside with our glue-paint (mostly glue with a little paint added) and made damn sure our own little boxes were not the same.








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20 comments:

jenny said...

I knew there was a reason I liked you!

Kitten Muffin said...

Hee hee! That song was written about Daly City, just a few miles from where we live :) The city's message on the city limits sign is "Daly City. Gateway to the peninsula". Pretty much says "move on through, nothing to see here.

Love the kid's artwork as always!

Hippy Goodwife said...

Wonderful! I know what we'll be singing this week! We love our co-op not far from you, but I wish the teacher had a bit of your happy subversive attitude!

Anonymous said...

Kitten Muffin - what school do you work at? I work at a Head Start in East Palo Alto. I do agree about the sign though...

Michelle said...

Love it... and I am pretty positive your kids "boxes" will never all be the same!!!

jaimeep said...

Thank you Tom!

kiri8 said...

Awesome! I love the final products. By the way, I included you in a meme, so check out my "teacher talents" post -- I'd love to hear what yours are!

Kat said...

That is a great song - and I really love your little boxes. As always, thanks for inspiring me to do cool things with my littles.

Betsy said...

Have you read "The Big Orange Splot" by Daniel Pinkwater? I read it to my class every year--you would love it!

Sherry and Donna said...

Oh my goodness I REMEMBER that song! As soon as I started reading this it all came back to me. I was in grade two and just seven years old when I learned "LITTLE BOXES" ... I'd forgotten all about it. Thanks for reminding me Tom.

Oh by the way. I'll be cursing you later (well my family will be at least) because as I write this I'm already singing it over and over in my head and I know I'll be singing it out loud by the end of the night! :)

Donna :) :)

Mom Squad said...

Great song! The crazy thing is I recognize your "boxes". I think it was Chubbs diaper wipes came in those years ago and it was an incentive for parents to buy the that brand (brilliant!) so they could "get the whole set". We had a set around here for years and my kids loved "building" with them. Love you blog btw! :)

kristin said...

oh, yeah, tom. this is perfect.

i love that song, i love that you'll sing it. i love your bottle caps. i used a bunch in our treasure hunting last week and mid way (when i saw some kids sniffing the lids) did i wonder if i'd have some angry parents.

not yet.

i think i'll play this song this morning.

thanks.

Ms. Jessi said...

Are those altoid boxes?? Where did you get so many?? ;) The boxes are super cute, and so is the song.

Ayn Colsh said...

I love that song! And I love the wipes boxes! We don't use wipes as much as younger kids, so we don't get wipes boxes very often. I always wanted to have enough of those to build with like Legos. :)

Teacher Tom said...

@Kitten Muffin . . . I knew it was about a real place because a guy at the grocery store told me so when I unintentionally started singing it aloud on line . . . I didn't know it was Daly City. What a funny slogan!

@Betsy . . . I do love the "The Big Orange Spot"!

@Mom Squad and Ayn . . . We have a lot of those Chubbs wipe boxes. The teacher prior to me had collected them while raising her own sons. The kids have always like putting things into them more than building with them.

@kristin . . . One of the boys kept calling them juice bottle caps and I didn't correct him, but Anjali muttered under her breath, they're wine bottle caps. I ask parents to save them for me so I have A LOT of them.

@ Jessi . . . I have a lot more Altoid boxes than this. I eat them like candy!

Life with Kaishon said...

l.o.v.e.

sometimes I don't have any words to say and I feel my simple comments are inadequate to express my true feelings...

I do try though. To put all these thoughts into my head into a comment.

Domestic CEO said...

LOVE this! I have always loved that song, but never thought of using it with the kids. Now I have to put the word out to save wipes boxes and Altoid boxes for me! :)

Anonymous said...

Elvis Costello covered that tune as well. Very cool boxes! As for the Jim White song probably not the best choice for pre-K esp given the hell reference.

Teacher Tom said...

@Anonymous . . . that's why it took me so long to finally get around to singing it with the kids. Growing up, my family never considered "hell" a bad word, so it doesn't really have that connotation for me. I always thought hell was the name of a place, but I've since learned that some people consider it a swear word.

Since we're a coop the parents are in the room with me, so it's not something I'm sneaking in. But if someone does complain, I could work around it. It's a subversive song, like Little Boxes. I like that it has a edge to it.

Anonymous said...

My own personal 20 year old grew up singing that song...It's one of my favorites. She has moved on to Austin Texas from her neighborhood in New Orleans...she was raised in the French Quarter so she's now seeing the "little boxes". And its good to see someone else with an awesome bottle "cap" and altoid box collection! I also have a million and a half paper clamps!

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