Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Folk Dance Collaboration with PE

Ya'll- My March has been SO FUN!

Grades 2-4 have been doing an awesome folk dance unit where we combine Music and PE and dance together in the gym.  Students (well, most of them) are LOVING it! We have danced a little in general music, but it was neat to be able to focus entirely on dancing- especially right before testing season starts. We are in our 3rd week now and our plan for the unit was as follows:

Week 1- Dances in Longways Sets
Week 2- Circle Dances
Week 3- Square Dances for 2-3 and Tinikling for 4th

For warm-ups each day we did a popular line dance or scatter mixer and those seemed to be favorites.  We did: Cha Cha Slide, Cupid Shuffle, Electric Slide, Sasha, Macarena, and more!

All of the folk dances we did come from the New England Dancing Masters Books. Each week- Monday was terms/ figures that students needed to know for the type of dances for the week, and then Tuesday-Friday was learning new dances each day (though sometimes a dance took 2 days to master)!

Next year, I want to be able to add Sicilian Circle Dances, as well as Contra Dances- Especially for the older grades.

Through our unit, students were able to master many of the common folk dance steps and figures like:
Casting Off
Two- Hand Turn
Elbow Swing
Right and Left Grand
Allemande Left and Right
Right Hand Star
Left Hand Star
and many more!

Dances in Longways Sets: 
Chimes of Dunkirk
Alabama Gal
Sweets of May
Kings and Queens

Circle Dances: 
Heel and Toe Polka
Lucky Seven

Square Dance: 
Simple Square

A few phrases I found that really helped when teaching/ learning were:

Connect Hands (instead of HOLD hands)- for some reason, lots of kids are ok with connecting, but not holding.

Face Your Way - When teaching circle dances, students were given identifiers *a bracelet or not* and then all partners with a bracelet faced one way, while those without faced the other.  Instead of having to say bracelet face right, while non face left, we just say "face your way" after explaining which way each group should start or stay.

Out of the Longways sets, Circle, and Square Dances- it seemed students like the Longways set dances the most.  They were the most requested when time was left after we completed the goals for the day.  We found that learning Longways Sets and Circle Dances first really helped with square dancing because we already knew many of the different steps and just had to figure them out in a new formation.

We plan on doing the same unit next year, but with slightly different dances for each grade (this year was both mine and the PE teachers first year at this school- so this was a new experience for ALL).  We also hope to coordinate a Family Folk Dance Night in conjunction with our schools Arts Night that happens in April to bring families in on the fun. What are your favorite folk dances?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tuesday Book Club- My Many Colored Days

My Many Colored Days- By Dr. Seuss     Paintings By Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

I LOVE this book.  It seems more and more that kids need to know that emotions are ok, but also find good ways to deal with those emotions.

Many schools are starting to talk about the Zones of Regulation and I think that the Dr. Seuss book- My Many Colored Days ties into Zones perfectly.

For my MCD lesson, first we read the book and talk about each of the feelings mentioned- mad, sad, happy, silly, etc.  We then listen to a song I picked for each color and act out the moods to the music.  All the music is instrumental to show students that you don't need lyrics to convey a mood.

Check out my youtube playlist for the songs I use, already in the order of the book.

Red- Theme song to Bonanza - students gallop around the room
Blue- Aviary from Carnival of the Animals- students fly around the room
Brown- Tortoise from Carnival of the Animals- students slow motion walk around the room as if it is full of jello
Yellow- Flight of the Bumblebee- students buzz around the room like busy bees
Grey- Moonlight Sonata- students sit criss-cross and rest
Orange- The Entertainer- silly dance time! I have had students pretend to be mimes, clowns, do their favorite silly dances, and more.
Green- Aquarium from Carnival of the Animals- students swim around the room like they are exploring the bottom of the ocean.
Purple- Chopin Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2- students walk around acting sad and alone
Pink- Carnival of the Animals- Finale- students hop and jump around similar to the Fantasia Flamingo Short.
Black- Beethoven's 5th Symphony - Students stomp around and glare at each other
Mixed Up - Mozart 12 Variations on Twinkle Twinkle (I usually only listen to about 2 or 3)

Obviously, any other songs you choose could also work.

After we are tired from acting out all the colors, we tie the lesson into Zones of Regulation and the 4 Zones that a student can be at school.

Zones of Regulation are:
Green- Ready to learn, calm, focused, happy
Blue- Sick, tired, sad, moving slow
Yellow- Worried, annoyed, silly, wiggly, frustrated
Red- Angry, out of control, yelling, terrified

No Zone is inherently bad. Let students know they will have days, hours, or minutes in every zone and that is OK!  Green is Ready to Learn and where we want to be mostly in school. Talk to your counselor about different strategies for when students are in Red, Yellow, or Blue to help get them back to Green without invalidating the feelings they are having. You can also get a great ZONES cheat sheet HERE

After we talk about the zones a bit, we go back to MCD and decide if the colors match. In first grade, because we are working on quarter notes and beamed eighth notes, students then compose a rhythmic pattern using the Zones colors (Red, Yellow, Green Blue or Green Green Yellow Green).  If students finish quickly, they are allowed to add their own B section explaining a zone or feeling.

Don't forget to check out other Tuesday Book Club posts using the tab at the top of the page!