Jeff Dayton Visit

Hillside Elementary School students create and perform music with Jeff Dayton
Posted on 05/20/2019
/UserFiles/Servers/Server_1217353/Image/News/Whats New/2019/May/19-0520 Jeff Dayton at Hillside.jpgFifth-grade students at Hillside Elementary School spent a week writing and composing songs with the help of Nashville-based musician Jeff Dayton before performing for their classmates on Friday, May 17.

Dayton kicked-off the week with a class assembly on Monday, May 13. At the assembly, he performed some of the songs he’s written and shared his musical history of working with stars like Kenny Chesney, Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson. Dayton worked with individual classrooms throughout the week to guide students as they chose song titles, wrote song lyrics, composed music and rehearsed for an all-school performance.

“Songwriting brings meaning to writing words to a whole new level,” said Diane Bezdicek, Reading Recovery Teacher at Hillside Elementary School. “This is the most authentic form of learning I’ve seen. The whole process, start to finish, of creating something meaningful to them was amazing to watch.”

Among the songs written by the fifth-grade classes were “Unicorn on the Loose,” “Sunset Trail,” “Maybe Someday,” “Fightin’ the Flame,” “Old Time Rodeo” and “The Winning Shot.”

The week-long residency was paid for by a grant from the Education Minnesota Foundation for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The grant was written by Chad Palmquist, a fifth-grade teacher at Hillside Elementary.