Modeh Ani Song and Activity

Modeh Ani Song and Activity

Experts from many fields agree: reflecting upon and articulating gratitude is a great way to start the day.

This Modeh Ani song is inspired by a prayer in the morning liturgy, traditionally recited before getting out of bed (before the Talmud, people said Elohai Neshama, but then that moved to the morning liturgy).

There are many ways I like to share this tune- I use it often, in many settings with people of diverse ages. In this song demonstration, I want to share three different ways I might use this Modeh Ani song- because it can be a tool to teach Jewish prayer, a reflective exercise to cultivate gratitude, a ‘STEAM’ activity that connects writing, art, and technology, or and opportunity for community members to connect to one another…and more. Take the ideas that resonate with you, leave the rest, and make up your own.

Teach that the Modeh Ani prayer can be done first thing the morning. Of course, ‘done’ might not be the best verb- because it can people can listen to it, sing it, play it, write it, read it, or …. the opportunities are nearly endless.

One playful way to introduce this Modeh Ani song is to pretend that the children are sleeping before starting this song. Allow children to lay down, pretend to snore, or even curl up with a blankie, pretending to sleep through the night and then let them ‘wake up’ to the sound of the song, encouraging them to rise up singing.

This “zipper” song is a versatile tune that works with many ages in classroom, sanctuary, and family settings. A

Encourage every person to consider their sources of joy and ask community members to wants to to contribute their word to create a song, everyone says something for which we are thankful. I usually do a verse of the song where I say each child’s name, as well. Make sure to model an attitude of gratitude by sharing for what you are thankful!

Click here for lead sheet.

Be warned- the audio on this clip isn’t pretty- but honestly, it doesn’t need to be.

I used the audio recorder on my cell phone to capture the live, unrehearsed singing of a group of 4 year olds that I later used, along with their illustrations, to make a ‘music video’ of ‘their song’.

This is one of my favorite ways to highlight children’s thoughts and work for a ‘performance’ to avoid those inevitably teary moments when little kids are pushed onto a ‘stage’ for a ‘show’. If kids know and love a song, adding their art to it can be a great way to enhance their own expression and provide another ‘medium’ for display.

The families of the children who ‘wrote and recorded’ this song were delighted to be able to witness and share their children’s thoughts and artwork.

This is one of my favorite ways to highlight children’s thoughts and work for a ‘performance’ to avoid those inevitably teary moments when little kids are pushed onto a ‘stage’ for a ‘show’. If kids know and love a song, adding their art to it can be a great way to enhance their own expression and provide another ‘medium’ for display.

Here is another example of how this Modeh Ani Song can be shared- spontaneously created with a large group.

Allowing participants to sit or stand in a circle or line and then go straight through the line so that children can anticipate when their turn will be and reduce the distraction that is raised hands.

 

 

Finally, an example from a Jewish Family Jams class. Verbal skills are not required for participation in this Modeh Ani Song.

Lyrics:

Modeh Modeh, Modeh Ani
I’m as grateful
As I can be
Wake up each morning
First thing to say
Is thank you to God
For this day
Thank you for____________
Thank you for____________
Thank you for ____________
Thank you for ____________
REPEAT

Want to learn more about how and why some Jewish people say Modeh Ani?  This My Jewish Learning explainer video can help you do just that!

Looking for another tune from the shacharit (morning) service to add music and meaning to your routine? Maybe this Asher Yatsar (My Body) Song and Video will fit the fill.

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