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This Sesame Street video presents the wedding of Maria and Luis to children through the medium of song, using the concept of a wedding to introduce us to a number of different life stages, including childhood, the growth of children into adults, marriage and death. The song is performed from multiple perspectives, with various family members and friends expressing their perspective of the wedding and, in doing so, reflecting on the concept of life. For example, Maria’s mother describes how she used to dress up her daughter as a child, but now she is getting married, while later reflecting on the notion of death by singing, “I wish her father could have lived to see this day”. Ultimately, the song constantly reiterates the fact that these life events are “wonderful”, aligning with the outcome CCS1.1 in communicating the importance of the past and present, in addition to events in a lifetime (Board of Studies, 2007, p. 48).
Prior to watching the video, it may be useful for the teacher to generate a discussion amongst the students about their understandings of love and marriage. As Gilbert and Hoepper (2014) state, students must have “sufficient background to an issue or question to make an activity valid and worthwhile” (p. 68). It may be necessary for the teacher to inform their class that love comes in many different forms, and that marriage is only one means of expressing love. Throughout the discussion, the teacher can constantly be monitoring the students in terms of their language skills and ability to communicate ideas orally, while considering the depth of understanding they have regarding the topic. In order to keep track of the ideas generated in the discussion, software such as Kidspiration (http://www.inspiration.com/kidspiration) can be utilised to create mind-maps, the user-friendly nature of the site allowing children to actively participate in the creation of such maps (Gilbert & Hoepper, 2014, p. 167). As the video is multi-faceted, it may be useful to watch it more than once, following the viewing with another discussion on what the children saw in the wedding ceremony. It is important to emphasise the many generations present (grandparents, parents, children) in order to encourage students to consider the different stages in a lifetime. As part of the song is sung in Maria and Luis’ native Spanish, it would be useful to explain to students how different cultures celebrate the same events in different ways. This could lead to an assessment, in which students research their own culture and how events are celebrated, presenting this information in any form they deem appropriate (e.g. written, oral, video, etc.). As Enquiring Minds (2014) emphasise, teachers of Stage 1 must encourage students to draw on their own lives as a basis for asking questions about the lives of others (para. 2). Through first examining their own lives, children will develop a framework for understanding the traditions of others. Therefore, this video allows students to explore, not only the lives of their local community, but also a sense of the diversity of the global community.
Board of Studies (2007). Human society and its environment syllabus K-6. Sydney: Board of Studies NSW.
Enquiring Minds (2014). Our approach. Retrieved April 2, 2014 from http://www.enquiringminds.org.uk/try_it/our_approach/
Gilbert, G. & Hoepper, B. (Eds.). (2014). Teaching humanities and social sciences. South Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia.