River of Dreams
Featured on the CD, "OH YEAH!"
Words and Music Copyright John Farrell
 
A raindrop falls high in the mountains
It trickles on down to the stream
The stream winds its way to the river
The river rolls down to the sea

CHORUS: River of life, river of dreams
River of hope, river of peace
May you run strong and forever be
A river of love, a river of dreams

The sun calls the water back into the clouds
The wind paints a masterpiece sky
A snowflake drifts down, it kisses the ground
The wheel is renewed by and by

The river brings power, the river brings life
The river's been tainted and hurt
We can protect her if we respect her
Our voices must rise and be heard

< Listen to sample

Background:
Explain to students that this song was written for the "Kids for the Columbia" festival in Portland, Oregon. The festival is presented by the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership (
www.lcrep.org). Although the song was written to be about the "water cycle" and the Columbia River, it is also about a metaphoric, or symbolic, river composed of all the young people in the world, including children in Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan, Korea, China, Africa, South America, Australia, the United States, Europe and every other place on earth. Our children are the "River of Life," and our greatest resource and hope for the future.

Discussion and Activity: The first and second verses of the song describe the WATER CYCLE. Raindrops that fall to the earth become part of the stream, rivers, and oceans. In time, the water is drawn back into the clouds and falls again as rain or snow.

Before or after listening to the song, have a discussion about the water cycle with students. Find out if they know what it means. Ask them to talk about some of the things that happen to that water in its journey from cloud, to earth, to river, and back again.

Ask students what role they think humans can play in protecting the river and our water supply.

Ask students to illustrate scenes showing some phase of the water cycle.

Ask them to show people in their illustrations and to create captions for their drawings. What are the people doing? Are they doing things that will help or hurt the river? Are they acting in ways that respect the river?

Display students artwork as part of your exploration of rivers and the water cycle

SING AND SIGN: Add simple signs and movement to your performance of the song. Listed here are movements to add to the chorus. These directions are not exact and are only intended as a reference. To learn more about Sign Language consult a book such as "Joy of Signing" by Lottie Riekof. This is an excellent resource that includes illustrations. You can also find information on the internet at
www.masterstech-home.com/ASLDict.html

River of Life:
With palms facing your body and fingers parallel to the floor, wiggle the fingers of both hands while moving your hands up toward your shoulders. This means "LIFE."
River of Dreams: Touch the index finger of the right hand to the right side of your head near the temple. As you move your hand up and away from your head, bend and straighten your finger repeatedly. This is "DREAM."
River of Hope:
With palms facing each other and hands held in a right angle position, put both hands above your left shoulder near the side of your head. From this position, have hands wave to each other several times. This is "HOPE."
River of Peace:
You can look up the ASL sign for "peace," but I have found children doing the two-fingered 1960's version of the "Peace Sign."
May you run strong: Lift the right arm up and make a muscle like a body builder. Trace the shape of the bicep with the left hand. This means "STRONG."
   
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