“More Than A Number” is a song written by educator Barry Lane (author of numerous books about teaching writing); Lyrics by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (if the SoundCloud embed doesn’t come through on an RSS Reader, you’ll need to click through to the post).

Here’s a message from them:

The minds and spirits of children will always rise above numbers. Let us hold this truth and use it to guide our policy and our decisions.

We are making a YouTube slideshow version of this song and will need about 50 photographs to do so. If you have a photo of your child doing anything in the song – or a photo of play, creation, exploration, joy, learning, immersion in activities of the child’s own initiative – we would love to see it!

To submit a photograph, please send your picture (landscape preferable) with a note of “permission to use this photo as a part of the MORE THAN A NUMBER slideshow” to amy at amylv dot com

We hope for the slideshow to be a true multicultural mix of beautiful children in love with life….

Many thanks!

– Barry & Amy

Here are the lyrics:

Music by Barry Lane & Lyrics by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (2012)
Cover art by Georgia VanDerwater (2005) copyright 2012

More Than a Number (lyrics)
I am quiet in the classroom.
I don’t always raise my hand.
I don’t always answer questions.
I don’t always understand.
But I always have ideas
when I stare up at the sky.
My sister likes to tease me
for always asking, “Why?”

I am more than a number.
I am more than a grade.
I know the constellations.
Here’s a painting that I made.
I read books in my closet.
I will not be a ‘2’.
I am more than a number.
I’m a person just like you.

I speak one language here
and another in my home.
I daydream in both languages
whenever I’m alone.
I’m good at climbing trees.
Mom’s teaching me to sew.
I am full of secrets
a test can never know.

I am more than a number.
Watch me fold this plane.
I snuggle with my beagle.
There’s music in my brain.
Someday I’ll go to Egypt.
I will never be a ‘2’.
I am more than a number.
I’m a person just like you.

If you think I can be measured
by numbers on a screen…
…if my whole school becomes a test
where will I learn to dream?
I love to do hard problems.
I write stories, and I laugh.
My gifts are so much greater
than the data on your graph.

I’m more than a number.
I invent things when I play.
I collect shells and fossils.
Please hear me when I say
I will not be a ‘1’–
a ‘2’, a ‘3’, or a ‘4’.
I am me. I’m a mystery.
I’m a child – not a score.