School Days: Just An Old Song? Tuning Education For The 21st Century!

Creative Commons – Public Domain (Front page of original music 1907)

I have spent my last couple weeks researching 21st Century Skills, reflecting on my teaching, remembering my own education, and even pondering a little bit of John Dewey. In the process of this reflection I was reminded  of an early post  from my blogging career. Hope it gives you an opportunity to think! Please, enjoy and share. – Mike (twitter at mjgormans)

Many people suggest that school really hasn’t changed through the years. I  invite you to take a trip back in time and listen to the  song “School Days”  written by Will Cobb and Gus Edwards. Be sure to read about the song’s history. Also listen to the original 1907  version sung byByron G. Harlon on both cylinders and 78 rpm recordings.  The Cylinder Restoration Project is an interesting visit and could stimulate some interesting lessons. My point; times really have changed, but has instructional transformation kept up with the pace of this change?  I’ll let you decide. Below,  I have added on to those original verses in order to help us reflect on changes made, not made, or still to be considered. Feel free to sing along with the newly created lyrics and enjoy a moment of reflection.  Maybe someone in 2110 will discover this posting and reminisce! After all, these are the good old days!

School Days– Edison Records – Writers Gus Edwards/Will Cobb – Artist Byron G. Harlon – 1907

The Original Song: First part of the 20th Century – days that our parents and grand parents were so familiar with
School Days, School Days
Dear old golden rule days
Reading, and writing and ‘rithmetic
Taught to the tune of a hickory stick
You were my queen in Calico
I was your bashful barefoot beau
You wrote on my slate I loved you so
When we were a couple of kids

Oh, but times have changed. Please take a moment and read through my new lyrics to reflect the progression of time in education.

Second part of the 20th Century  – days I grew up in along with many of you. Remember the excitement of watching a movie backwards?
School Days, Schools Days
Let’s go challenge the rules days
Lectures and filmstrips in monotone
Taught with the threat of a note sent home
You were the girl in a mini skirt
I wore bells with a bright red shirt
I sent you a note and tried to flirt
When we were a couple of kids

First part of the 21st Century – I think anyone in education can relate with the changes we are seeing
School Days, School days
Oh, what are the rules these days
Powerpoints and Smartboards and Ebook Time
Daily updates of grades on line
You were the girl whose jeans would drag
I was the boy whose trousers sagged
I’d text on my cell, replies would lag
When we were a couple of kids

Yes, times are a changing and as educators we really do have to set priorities. For this reason I have written the song with two different sets of lyrics. You can chose how you want to sing the song. Perhaps both are important and when integrated together help transform learning and bring real harmony to an old song.

Second Part of the 21st Century – these lyrics really will depend on educators’ responses to necessary transformation and how they create a new tune.

Lyric One
School days, School days
Didn’t need no rule days
Distant, and online, are we alone
No need to leave the four walls of home
I was the pink haired avatar
You were the girl from oh, so far
In Second Life we drove a car
When we were a couple of kids

Lyric Two
School days , School days
Mutual respect of rules days
Learning and solving with goals in mind
Amazed at all the solutions we’d find
You were the high tech collaborator
I was the designer and fabricator
We dreamed of what we’d all be later
When we were a couple of kids

Wishing you the very best as you keep trying to integrate the technology and transform instruction. I really do believe that the very best of School Days are still ahead of us! I appreciate  the emails and comments each and every one of you sends. It really is a true inspiration! I also appreciate  any twittering or passing along of this blog. I will get back to finding some great resources to share for the next post! – Mike  (Twitter at mjgormans) (email (Wiki at 21centuryedtech Wiki)


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18 responses to “School Days: Just An Old Song? Tuning Education For The 21st Century!

  1. Kaylene

    I loved your poetic substitutions, Mike. You inspired me to neglect my study and devote time to make an attempt myself!

    School days, school days
    Indefinite lessons in a global maze
    Podcasting, blogging and following a link,
    Guided and watched and facilitated to think,
    You were my mentor in Fort Wayne
    I was your friend in far Brisbane
    You wrote on my site to help me so
    Generous advice on the go!

    Cheers, Kaylene

    • brette lockyer

      Thanks Kaylene – smile!

    • Kaylene,

      Sorry I was so slow on my turn around. Trying to complete a school year. I really appreciate your verse, it was a wonderful addition to the song! It is so awesome how we can all learn from each other! Even as far as Fort Wayne to Brisbane is! I wish you the very best as you continue to grow as an educator and please continue to communicate and return! Have a wonderful week and as always thank you so much! – Mike

  2. So succinct!
    Love how it flows so well- 🙂

  3. Nice drawings! I really like it.

  4. Hi Alfonso,

    First as always thanks for the kind comments and your always positive outlook. Sorry I was so slow on the turn around, end of year! I agree with you and must say that teachers must learn to listen and when they do they will be able to tell the difference between the productive noise of learning and just plain noise. You are so correct about moving outside of those comfort zones! As I stated, I always enjoy reading what you have to say whether here, in your posts, or on twitter! Please continue to keep me posted as you continue to learn and grow as an educator! Have a great week and an awesome summer! – Mike

  5. MBQhiker

    Well said! I stumbled across this page after reading about the 25% failure rate of recruits taking the US Army entrance exam. If we keep doing what we’re doing and expect different results…

  6. 🙂 FUn! Here in France, I am researching material for my first Fun in English workshop of the year starting up again, and thought I’d teach them School Days, which I LOVED growing up. These are French 10 year olds, barely starting English, so it’ll be something if I get the orginal lyrics in plance, but I’d love to find lyrics for them today.

  7. arlene sturm

    How can I get the sheet music to the song?

  8. Pingback: What I'm Reading, Thinking, Doing - 8/14/15 - Jess Connell

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