Lesson Ideas for a Successful Open House
We just has our “Informance” which is what we call a ‘stay day’ for families and guests. Chairs for adults, mats for children, along the perimeter on two sides. Parents and family members are encouraged to participate or take pictures or video. Throughout the class, I continue to invite people in when we are transitioning to a new activity.
Here’s an example of a successful, 4 and 5 year old’s open class
(see below for 6-7 ideas)
We have two posters that show the schedule of the day (for 4/5s) Creative Dance Daily Schedule and one of The Sequence (like the BrainDance, we call it the Developmental Movement Pattern Sequence or “The Sequence” for short The Sequence chart). We refer to those as we teach.
We choose from favorites of the semester and select a conceptual framework that aligns with them.
For the 4 and 5 year olds, we chose SPEED and PULSE because they had loved A Trip to the Zoo (Songs for Dancing) which we did as an “Explore” activity and it would work well with any of the pattern dance activities that we could bring the parents in on.
Here’s what we did:
Pre-class Activity 5 minutes Scarves and Yoga Mats
As families entered, we had scarves out for our Free Dance time. Easy to use and clean up. Younger siblings could relate to that props.
We gathered for the warm up. I explained the lesson format, using the chart, and launched into a brief explanation of the 8 patterns in the Sequence and why we do them. I only talked about each pattern as it came up, or did a group of three patterns and explained afterwards.
Warm up 10 minutes Live Vocal
Using Warm-Up nursery rhymes. Emphasize pulse and speed. Explain format with chart.
Introduce the Concept 5 minutes
Use see, hear, say, and do (Explained to parents that we “see” the word, “say” it, “hear” it and “do” movement associated with it)
Speed: Fast Slow and Pulse
In the space, we moved fast and slow to a rhyme about a snail, and one about a mouse.
Sit ready position for “Explore” instructions and visual supports while assistant makes a line of yoga squares to bisect the space into fast and slow lands.
Explore 7 minutes Songs for Dancing visual supports*, mats
Fast and Slow emphasis: Trip to the Zoo
*Visual Supports can be found on the Songs for Dancing CD.
Reflection Question: Show pictures. Which animal was fast? Slow?
Transition: Make a pancake pile of the yoga mats and line up for across the floor.
Locomotor Movement 5 minutes live music yoga mats, cones
Gallop to first dot. Jump on the dot. Gallop to the second dot. Punch on the dot. Run and leap. Make a shape freeze.
We did this with a ‘gatekeeper’ opening the gate for each child. It was performative…. parents applauded after each child completed the circuit. An unexpected and delightful outcome. No child was too shy to take a turn, and some parents did this “developing skills” activity with their son or daughter.
Resting 5 minutes Songs for Dancing #38
Here, I talked about the importance of constructive resting, as opposed to ‘napping.’
Creating 5 minutes Step #1
Apples and Oranges
Encourage parents to join. We did this with half the circle as Apples, half as Oranges. Because this is a young group, we turned around on our spots for ‘circle ’round.’
Closure Goodbye Song 5 minutes Songs for Dancing #21
I invite (strong emphasis on bringing EVERYONE in here) the whole room to join us, and do it as a spiral in and out. See the demonstration on the “Songs for Dancing” DVD for modeling on this.
BEFORE I TEACH THE DANCE: Here’s where I make any final remarks about when the next session will begin, etc. and thank everyone for coming.
We end by gathering at one side of the room for a group shot.
For 6-7 year olds, the concept was SHAPE and RELATIONSHIP
1. Warm Up using Over the Top (Step on the Beat)
2. Shape Museum changing between Symmetrical and Asymmetrical Shapes (music:Free Dance from Songs for Dancing)
3. Across the floor with partner: side slides holding hands to warm up. Then a pattern with partners to “Skip to My Lou”
Dancer 1: Skip 4 beats, Make and hold a symmetrical shape 4 beats
Dancer 2: Skip 4 beats to your partner, skip around your partner 4 beats
Dancer 2: Explore your partners shape and end in a freeze over 8 beats
Dance 1: Same thing
Both: Melt, rise and take hands facing over 8 beats
Both: Side slide off!
5. Zombie and Magician for ‘Creating’ (music:Shape Maker/Shape Explorer instrumental only from Step on the Beat)
Repeat as Audience and Performer, splitting the group down the middle. “Watch with a purpose.”
6. Goodbye Song and photo op!
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