Skip to main content

All Art Lessons

I Love the Mountains – Damen Doiya

I Love the Mountains – Damen Doiya

Lesson Summary

  • Compare and contrast two songs
  • Identify Utah’s three main geographic regions
  • Learn about the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation

Lesson Plan and Procedure

Lesson Key Facts

  • Grade(s): 3, 4, 5
  • Subject(s): English Language Arts, Music, Social Studies, Native American, Tribe Approved
  • Duration of lesson: Two sessions, 45 minutes each
  • Author(s): Patty Timbimboo-Madsen and Emily Soderborg
Seal for Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation

The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation selected this lesson content in answer to the question, “What would you like the students of Utah to know about you?” Patty Timbimboo-Madsen, the NWBSN History and Culture Specialist, represented the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation in crafting the lesson to provide expertise, accuracy, and authenticity. 
Before teaching this lesson, please explain to your students that there are many Native tribes in the United States and that this lesson specifically focuses on the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation and does not represent other Native American groups. We hope that other Native tribes will respect the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation's choice to share this aspect of their culture.

Note: Not all Northwestern Shoshone songs are appropriate for students to sing in a classroom. However, Patty Timbimboo-Madsen has given permission for classroom teachers to have students sing this specific song, "Damen Doiya." She believes that singing this song will help students to better understand how Northwestern Shoshone people see their surrounding environment. This song is traditionally sung while passing time, perhaps when a Shoshone is outside and sees something that brings this song to mind, like the clouds floating or being near the mountains.

Session One: Learning I Love the Mountains

Make one copy of each vocabulary cue card and hang them up. Open the PowerPoint found in the Equipment and Materials section to slide 1 or have the “I Love the Mountains” Music Map PDF ready on a document camera or projector.

Teacher: Here is a picture that fits with a piece of music. This picture is called a music map because the lines represent the flow or movement of the music. The map begins when the singing begins and ends when the singing stops. Using your finger in the air, trace the music map as we listen to this piece of music today.

Listen to “I Love the Mountains” from the Utah State Board of Education Elementary Songbook.

Teacher: What did you notice as we listened to this song? Were you able to stay right with the map? Listen and trace again and see if you can match each section of the map with the specific sections in the song.

Listen to the song a second time while tracing the music map.Tracing music phrases

Teacher: Was it a little easier this second time? This next time through, use your entire body to read the music map rather than just tracing it with your finger. Keep your feet in one spot while you find a way to show the highs and lows using as much of your body as possible.

Teacher: Thinking about the lyrics, how does each phrase start?

(“I love the…”) Write on the board as students answer.

Teacher: What are the five things loved in the song? Listen as we sing it again and see if you can remember all five at the end of the song.

Sing through the whole song and then have students give responses: mountains, rolling hills, flowers, daffodils, fireside when all the lights are low.

Teacher: How would you describe the last phrase? It’s made up of nonsense words. They don’t have a meaning but are just fun to sing.

Sing the entire song again.

Note: As students become more confident singing the song, it can be sung in a round with two or three groups, and the “boom-dee-ah-da” section can also be sung as an ostinato (repeated pattern) accompanying the entire song.

I Love the Mountians–Digging Deeper

Hand out the graphic organizer for digging deeper with a song. Show slide 2 or a copy of the graphic organizer.

Teacher: We are going to dig a little deeper into this song. Let’s see what we can figure out about this song from the words and music. On this graphic organizer take notes or draw icons (small, simple pictures) in each section that will help you answer the questions and remember what you learn. I want you to use your ideas, but if you don’t know what to write, feel free to use my words and icons until you figure out what you would like to write.

Put up vocabulary cue cards for students to reference and move to slide 2.

Teacher: As you fill out each section for this song, if you need a reminder of what types of things to put in the sections, you can refer to the vocabulary cards hanging up.

  • Composer means the person who wrote the music. This section doesn’t have to only include the composer’s name, but could also include additional information that helps us know more about the composer. That information might include where they are from, when they lived, what type of music they wrote, when this song might have been written, and any other information that helps us know more about the composer.
  • Consumer/Audience means the people who listen to or perform the song. Again, it doesn’t have to only include names, but can be entire groups of people and can include any information about those people too.
  • Place could include both where the song was written as well as where the song is performed.
  • Structure/Form means how the different parts of the song are arranged, and how we label those parts.
  • Sound means describing what we hear as we listen to the song. Use any words or images to describe what you hear.
  • Purpose means why you think the song was written. This is similar to author’s purpose for literature.
  • Theme is defined as the main idea or an underlying meaning. We will need to pay attention to the lyrics to figure this out.

Model filling out the graphic organizer using a document camera or projector as students fill out their own graphic organizer.

Teacher: Who wrote the song “I Love the Mountains”? Let’s look at the music. (See sheet music on slide 3.)

Teacher: There isn’t a composer named. Other online sources list this song as a traditional American folk song. We don’t know who wrote it or when it was written. We can only piece together information from what we do know. The music itself has a 1950’s doo-wop chord progression. You might recognize another piece of music that was one of the first songs written with this same progression. It’s called “Heart and Soul” and was written in 1939 by Hoagy Carmichael. Some of you might even be able to play a duet of “Heart and Soul” on the piano.

Teacher: “I Love the Mountains” was also known as a campfire song and was sung by families in Utah in the mid 1950s. Because of these two known dates, we can guess that the song was probably written sometime in the 1940s or early 1950s.

Teacher: What type of people might sing this song? This will be in the consumer/audience section. Where might they sing it? This will help us fill in the section about place.

Possible answers could include the following ideas. People who speak English, and more likely Americans because the song is a lot more popular in America than other English-speaking countries. It might be sung when people are camping and/or sitting around a campfire, so those people could possibly be families or youth groups. They might sing it while they are camping in the mountains or somewhere in nature, as they are traveling in the car, or anywhere else they like to sing.

Teacher: Before we decide on the structure for “I Love the Mountains,” we are going to quickly learn how to label form in music. Letters can be used to label the structure or form of any piece of music. Each section of the music is labeled with a letter, the first section being labeled A. If another section is exactly the same as the first, it is also labeled A. If it is similar to the A section, but with a few differences, it is a variation of A and can be labeled A’ (pronounced A prime). If another variation of A shows up later in the piece it would be labeled A” (pronounced A double prime). The first major section of the piece that is very different from A is labeled B, and other sections that are like it can be labeled B, B’, B”, and so on. Sections that are not like A or B are labeled C, and so on. Sections may be referred to by letters, but also often have generic names such as introduction and coda. A coda, which is Italian for "tail,” is a passage that brings a piece to an end.

Look back at the music map on slide 1 together and have students describe what they see and the sections they hear.

Teacher: Knowing that, what kind of structure or form does “I Love the Mountains” have? Look at the music map. How many phrases do you see and hear? Are there distinct sections that are different from each other? Does it have a coda?

Teacher showing codaTeacher: The accompaniment in the recording we listened to had an introduction, but if we sing without the recording, there isn’t an introduction to the song. This means the introduction is part of this specific arrangement, but not part of the actual song. Knowing this, if we were to label each section with letters we could write AA’A’’BB AA’A’’BB coda or AA’A’’BB :|| coda.

Teacher: This symbol :|| means repeat. When you see that you know to go back to the beginning and go through everything again. It makes it so I don’t have to write all the letters out twice.

Teacher: The next section on the graphic organizer describes sound. What does “I Love the Mountains” sound like?

Possible answers might include children’s voices, bells/chimes in accompaniment, individual voices singing phrases and then voices singing together. The meter of the song is 4/4. Each measure in the song starts one note higher, creating a step-wise scale until the “boom-dee-ah-da” section.

Teacher: Why was this song created? What is the purpose of the song (like author’s purpose)? Is it to persuade, inform, entertain, describe, explain, recount, honor, or even something else? Why do you think that?

Teacher: Given the details of the lyrics, what is the theme of the song? Remember, no answer is wrong as long as you can give a reason using details from the lyrics.

Possible answers include love for nature/being outdoors or valuing things around you.

Teacher: In the song it talks about loving mountains. What mountains could that be referring to in Utah?

Show students the different mountain ranges and geographic regions in Utah on slide 4.

Teacher: We are going to sing a new verse about Utah’s geographic regions using the “I Love the Mountains” melody.

Show slide 5 or PDF of sheet music for “Utah’s Geographic Regions.” Many students prefer to sing this without musical accompaniment. However, if you feel accompaniment would be helpful, it is available from the USBE elementary songbook.

The Rocky Mountains have the Wasatch and Uintas too,
Colorado Plateau’s rocks with rivers eroding through,
Great Basin’s Great Salt Lake, deserts and ranges too,
Rocky Mountains, Great Basin, Colorado Plateau,
Rocky Mountains, Great Basin, Colorado Plateau.

Go through the graphic organizer again as a class and make sure all sections for “I Love the Mountains” are complete.

Sing through “I Love the Mountains” again.

Damen Doiya Music Map

Show slide 6 or “Damen Doiya” Music Map PDF.

Teacher: Let’s learn another song and compare “I Love the Mountains” with this song. Like we did with “I Love the Mountains,” we will use a music map and follow it as we listen to this new piece of music. Using your finger in the air, trace this different music map as we listen to the song.

Listen to “Damen Doiya” and model tracing the map to the music with the students following along.

Teacher: What did you notice as we listened?

Acknowledge responses.

Teacher: Even though this song isn’t in English, what word or syllables do you hear repeated the most? Pay attention and tell me after we trace the map with our finger again.

Listen to “Damen Doiya” again and follow the music map. Have students give responses to what word/sounds they heard repeated most.

Teacher: The most repeated word is bagina [‘ gɪ nə] (for pronunciation key see the phonetic guide). How many times was the word bagina repeated? Listen again and count silently.

Listen to “Damen Doiya” and count how many times the word bagina is repeated. (16)

Teacher: Continue to pay attention to any other patterns you might notice as we move to the music map with our bodies. Remember to keep your feet in one place, but use as much of your body as you can.

Move through the music map with the body while listening to “Damen Doiya.”

Session Two: Damen Doiya – Digging Deeper

Sing through “I Love the Mountains” and then follow the music map for “Damen Doiya” on slide 6 to review both songs with the students.

Teacher: We’re going to explore information about this song as well. Write details that stand out to you and/or draw icons to help you remember what we discuss. We’ll compare our two graphic organizers before we finish today.

Hand out another copy of the graphic organizer for digging deeper with a song. Show slide 7 or the graphic organizer PDF.

Teacher: The title of this song is “Damen Doiya.” What type of music do you think it is? What language do you think it is in? (The language is a detail about what the song sounds like.)

Teacher: This is a Native American song, but we can’t just say this is Native American because there are over 500 different recognized Native American Nations in theNorthwestern Shoshone elder, Helen Timbimboo United States. Each of these nations has different customs and languages. We need to learn more about the specific culture associated with this song.

Show slide 8, pictures of Helen Timbimboo.

Teacher: The singer in this recording is Helen Timbimboo, a tribal elder in the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, but she didn’t write the song. It was passed down from her ancestors. We don’t know who wrote the song, but we do know they were a member of the Shoshone nation, or Newe, meaning “The People” as they call themselves.

Teacher: Where do you think the Shoshone people live? The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation is one of the federally recognized tribes here in Utah. To be a federally recognized tribe means to have a government to government relationship with the United States. The tribe has certain rights to self-government.

Show Native Utah Tribes Map from the PDF or slide 9.

Teacher: This information helps us know this song might have been written and sung by people in Utah. However, unlike our political boundaries (country, state, county, city, and so on), traditional Native American borders were extremely fluid and changed with the seasons and over time. Before the coming of explorers and settlers from Europe, the Shoshone people lived in a very large area including the Rocky Mountains, the Snake River Plain, and the Great Basin.

Show map of United States Physiographics (also found in slide 10.)

United States MapRelate the scope of the Great Basin area to the students using familiar locations. For example, from Spanish Fork to downtown Salt Lake is about 60 miles and takes approximately 1 hour to drive.

Teacher: The Shoshone lived in an area that would take 8 hours driving east to west and 4 hours north to south. (Show slide 11 or open the link below.) This is a map of the Shoshone Territory submitted to the Government in 1863.

Teacher: (Show slide 12 or the open the link below) What locations do you recognize as we compare that map with a modern map?

Teacher: As we look at this map, we see familiar cities. Although Provo and Salt Lake are the ancestral lands of the Ute, because the boundaries were very fluid the Shoshone might have been in these locations at times as well.

Teacher: The Shoshone had no horses until the coming of the Spaniards in the 1500s. The ancient Shoshone people were considered semi-nomadic hunter gatherers. A nomad is someone who moves from place to place, rather than living in one place all the time. The Shoshone people traveled to be able to have enough food, and as they traveled they hunted and gathered plants to eat. Everywhere they went they lived according to what the land around them provided for them. The expression So-so-goi means “those who travel on foot,” which is what the ancestral Shoshone called themselves. They are called Shoshone people today.

Teacher: Patty Timbimboo-Madsen, Helen Timbimboo’s daughter, shared that the Shoshone people left things in places so they would be there when they traveled there again. Heavy items like grinding stones and sometimes even poles for tipis were left in the different areas where they were used, and the Shoshone came back to those same places each year. This meant they had all the things they needed without having to constantly carry everything with them from place to place.

Teacher: Do you remember how far it was from Spanish Fork to Salt Lake? How long would it take to walk that far? Now think about the fact that you have the grandmothers and grandfathers as well as the little children who all walk slowly. The people traveled from place to place, walking from water supply to water supply to get the food from the land they needed to survive.

Teacher: Today there are 450 people in this tribal band, with most members living in cities from Salt Lake City north to Pocatello, Idaho.

Teacher: (Show slide 7 again or the graphic organizer PDF.) Using this information, make sure you have filled in the sections for composer, including where and when the composer might have composed the song, who sings the song and listens to the song (the consumer/audience), and where the song might have been written and where it still might be sung (place).

Teacher: Next, we’re going to go out of order on the graphic organizer and look at what the theme of the song is based on details in the lyrics. Here’s a basic translation for each word. (Show slide 13 or the Phonetic Guide PDF.)

damme/damen=our [‘ mən]
toiya/doiya=mountain [‘doɪ jə]
bai=above [‘vaɪ]
bagina=fog/clouds [‘ gɪ nə]
havegin=lying while moving [‘ vi gɪn]
na=song word [‘]
haiyawainde=the end of the song/the rat's tail broke off [‘haɪ ju wɑ ‘]
(For pronunciation key see the phonetic guide)

Teacher: This last phrase is also used in Shoshone story telling. It signaled the end of the story or song. This phrase is similar in style, but not meaning, to how many commonly known fairy tales end with “And they lived happily ever after.” Do you remember the Italian music term that also means tail? Coda. What do you think about the fact that the words “haiyawainde” and “coda” are very similar in meaning (tail), but are from completely different languages?

Teacher: When tribal members of the Northwestern Shoshone were asked about this song, this is what was shared:

Our mountain, Damen Doiya has been here through ages of time. The clouds come to Damen Doiya with water; they are high, rolling in, yet stay at the top of our mountain, rich with the promise of water. Damen Doiya has held the snow through countless winters. Spring after spring the snows have melted from our mountain and run down to the valleys, swelling the rivers, making homes for the fish and water birds. Damen Doiya is home for us too. Home is where we are taught who we are. That we are the People. Home is where we are taught what is important. We honor our mothers and our fathers, our grandmothers and our grandfathers. They loved their mountain and valleys and they cared for them. In turn, their mountain gave them food, shelter, and beauty. They knew that it was good to share the land with the animals, plants, and even other people. Damen, our, means to share… Damen Doiya–“Our Mountain.”

Student doing music worksheetTeacher: Think about all that we have now learned about the song and the Northwestern Shoshone people. With that information guiding your thoughts, what do you think is the theme of the song? Remember, no answer is wrong as long as you can give a reason using details from the lyrics or from the information we have learned.

Discuss with students what they think the theme of the song could be.

Teacher: Now that we know the words, let’s try to sing the song before we finish filling out the graphic organizer.

Sing “Damen Doiya,” using the phonetic guide to help with pronunciation as necessary. Students might not get the words, rhythms, and melody all perfectly learned in one class session. However, with multiple exposures they will be able to sing it beautifully.

Note: Helen Timbimboo sings much lower than students can comfortably sing. If singing with her recording, sing an octave above where she is singing to have it in a range that matches students’ capability. There is also an additional sing-a-long recording provided in an easier key for younger voices. However, the sing-a-long recording is not sung by a member of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, and should only be used to help students sing in the higher register.

Teacher: Why was this song created? What is the purpose of the song? Here are a few thoughts to consider before deciding on the author’s purpose. As hunter-gatherers, the Northwestern Shoshone received food, water, and beauty from the earth and in turn gave thanks in ceremonies, dances, and songs. They were inspired by their surroundings, much like composers and songwriters today are still inspired by nature.

Teacher: Beverly and Earl Crum, members of the Western Shoshone band, shared, “These songs were handed down as heirlooms, while very few material objects were. . . . The people had to continuously travel a wide area in their quest for food. . . . Thus, the people had to travel lightly. Only the things they considered essential were moved along with them.”

Teacher: Think back about the song itself? What does it sound like? What about it is different than how you previously imagined Native American music would sound?

Teacher: The song was only one person’s voice singing. Even though some Native American music includes other instruments, this song doesn’t. You don’t always need a drum to sing Northwestern Shoshone songs. If there is a drum, someone could play it but it isn’t necessary. In fact, the Shoshone didn't use drums in the early days, but used rattles, or the music was sung a capella. A capella means no accompaniment, like how this song only had singing and no instruments. The drums actually came from the plains Indians, and were only adopted later by the Shoshone.

Teacher: Think back to the music map. How would you describe the structure or form of the song? What patterns did you notice? What parts were the same and what parts were different?

Have students describe the form based on the music map. Project the music map again, slide 6, and have students point out the specific parts during the discussion.

Teacher: Let’s double check how you labeled the song. As we listen to the song, see if the sections are exactly the same or slightly different.

Listen to “Damen Doiya” and have students double check how they labeled the sections.

Teacher: If we were to label each section with letters, we would write it AABB’. Do you hear how the second B is slightly different than the first B, so we call it B-prime? The whole piece then repeats again, with the final ending “haiyawainde” as the coda. The entire form would be written AABB’ :|| coda.

Note: If students are having a hard time hearing the difference in the B’ section, open the sheet music for “Damen Doiya” and have them look for the visual differences. (See slide 14.) If students hear the difference in the B’ section without needing the visual, skip slide 14 in the PowerPoint.

Go through each section of the graphic organizer again all together and solidify answers. (See slide 7.)

Sing “Damen Doiya” again as a class.

Compare and contrast the two songsStudent Worksheets

Pass out the Venn Diagram worksheet to each student. (Show slide 15 or the Venn Diagram PDF.)

Teacher: Using a Venn Diagram to compare the two songs, “I Love the Mountains” and “Damen Doiya,” what do you notice that is the same? And what is different? Look at your graphic organizers for specific details.

Go through the song information on the graphic organizers to compare and contrast each section, highlighting cultural influences. Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics from the two songs.

Teacher: What ideas or concepts that we learned about these songs did you find most interesting? If you were to write your own song with a similar theme, what ideas would you include in the lyrics? What things in the world around you do you value?

Have students select their favorite version of the songs to sing again.


  • Build models and/or create maps of landforms and geographic regions.
  • Dig deeper into the weathering and erosion of landforms.
  • Use the “Digging Deeper Into a Song” graphic organizer to study “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver and compare and contrast it with the two songs in this lesson.
  • Have students select different songs and use the “Digging Deeper Into a Song” graphic organizer to explore them. Have students share their findings with the class.
Read More

Learning Objectives

  • Develop a deeper understanding of the Northwestern Shoshone people.
  • Identify Utah’s geographic regions.
  • Follow music maps.
  • Sing in tune.
  • Identify and describe the form as well as other elements of music found in two contrasting pieces.
  • Determine the theme of two poems (song lyrics).
  • Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes.

Utah State Board of Education Standards

This lesson can be used to meet standards in many grades and subject areas. We will highlight one grade’s standards to give an example of application.

Grade 4 Social Studies

  • Standard 4.1.1: Use a variety of geographic tools to identify Utah and its surrounding states: latitude, longitude, hemisphere, climate, natural resources, landforms, and regions (for example, Rocky Mountains, Colorado Plateau, Basin and Ridge Region).
  • Standard 4.3.1: Use primary sources to compare experiences of at least three groups’ migration to Utah between 1847–1896
  • Standard 4.5.6: Choose one of Utah’s cultural institutions and explain its historical significance as well as the cultural benefits to Utah families and our nation.

Grade 4 Music

  • Standard 4.M.P.4: Sing folk, traditional, and call-and-response songs in tune, with good vocal tone and clear diction.
  • Standard 4.M.R.1: Listen to and interact with a variety of contrasting music.
  • Standard 4.M.R.2: Recognize form, meter, beat versus rhythm, timbre, mood, dynamics, tempo, melody, texture and harmony/tonality.
  • Standard 4.M.R.5: Identify and describe elements that make contrasting music selections different from each other.
  • Standard 4.M.CO.2: Draw upon interests, knowledge, and skills developed to inspire and inform the creation, performance, and appreciation of music, and deepen understanding of another content area through music.
  • Standard 4.M.CO.3: Experience and explore music which connects us to history, culture, heritage, and community, and identify connections between a music genre and cultural or historical contexts.

Grade 4 English Language Arts

  • Standard 4.R.6: Read a variety of text types, including those from diverse cultures to determine a theme or main idea and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize texts using textual evidence. (RL & RI)
  • Standard 4.R.14: Compare the treatment of similar themes and topics and patterns of events in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures. (RL)
Read More

Equipment and Materials Needed

Read More

Additional Resources

This lesson was created thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Utah Division of Arts & Museums.

  • The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation’s website is a wonderful resource.
  • A folktale illustrated by Northwestern Shoshone tribal children also includes reference information in the back of the book. Shoshone Nation, Northwest Band, Coyote Steals Fire (2005). All USU Press Publications. 81.
  • Additional information about the Northwestern Shoshone Band can be found in Newe Hupia: Shoshoni Poetry Songs, by Beverly Crum, Earl Crum, et. al. This incredible resource also includes sound files of many more Shoshone songs.
  • This website includes information about song mapping. The maps used in this lesson would be considered lead maps, but student initiated maps could be created as well.
  • Barrett, J., McCoy, C., & Veblen, K. (1997). Sound Ways of Knowing. New York, NY: Schirmer Books. This book was used as a resource in developing the graphic organizer.


Read More

Image References

Images 1-2: The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation
Images 3-4: James Huston
Images 5-6: Patty Timbimboo-Madsen
Image 7: James Huston

© Brigham Young University and the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation