What to do with….
Apples and Oranges (from Step on the Beat)
I’ve talked about Apples and Oranges in other blog posts, connected to teaching galloping, for example.
(If you don’t already have it, you can purchase Step on the Beat through my website, katekuper.com, or from West Music.)
The children asked to include this dance as a favorite activity for our Informance (Open House, informal presentation of a lesson).
We identified “Body Parts and Energy” as the conceptual through-line for the 4 & 5 year olds’ Informance.
For 6-7 year olds, the concept focus was “Body Parts and Shape.”
Here’s how we adapted Apples and Oranges for each age group, conceptual focus, and lesson plan component:
1) For 4-5s, as a Creating activity
Creating includes invention and/or improvisation. We decided to make the A section focus “Body Parts.”
After learning the clapping pattern A section, we asked the children to suggest using a different body part other than the knees for the ‘slap.’ What should it be? We performed that part in the section, with the ‘circle round’ that we do in place with younger children (or when we want to go quickly through the dance), where we just turn around on our spot .
After practicing, we chose ANOTHER body part for the second ‘slap.’
Then we put it all together: slap/clap/slap/clap/ And turned the other way for ‘circle round’//
Time for the B section focusing on “Energy.”
Next, we designated half the group as Apples, half as Oranges. (Since parents were dancing with the children, we had people choose by raise of hands, rather than half and half or every other one).
Leader modeled how Apples would ‘dance away’ and ‘dance back home’ WITH A SPECIFIC ENERGY while Oranges would stay and clap on the pulse. We chose swinging movement away, and shaky movement home.
But wait! Why should the travelers have all the fun? Those who stayed had to keep the pulse tapping on A SPECIFIC BODY PART.
Everyone practiced. Then MUSIC GO!
2) For 6-7s as a Developing Skills activity
Developing Skills is about hard-wiring technical abilities and challenging memory within sequence.
First, we focused on Body Parts. We practiced the B section traveling movement in scattered space: side slide with head going up toward the ceiling and center (area of the belly button) drawing a letter “U” with every slide. Skip with knees lifting up. Gallop with one foot chasing the other, pointing the toes … like a real chassé!
Second, we emphasized Body Parts and Shape for the A section.
Find a partner and a spot in scattered space. Practice slap & clap. Add one body part for the slap (idea from the children that we all use) and clap. Add second part and clap. Sequence first-part slap/ clap, second-part slap/ clap. Teach ‘angular elbows’ around for an elbow swing with your partner. Ask for prediction, when we repeat, what will happen with elbow swing? (We’ll go the other way).
Here comes the shape emphasis.
Decide who is an Apple and Orange in each pair.
Apples will travel. Oranges will stay.
Travelers will use two of the three locomotor skills we practiced earlier. (Travel away with the side slides and back with the gallop.)
Oranges will MAKE A BODY SHAPE and keeping the pulse WITH ONE BODY PART (can be audible or visual). Nod a head! Tap a foot! Bounce into one hip! (Etc.)
All practice shape and keeping the pulse.
Then practice travel and shape/pulse. Practice trading.
MUSIC GO! On second travel, skip away and gallop back.
(from Songs for Dancing and Brain Bop)
Flea Song teaches the Tactile pattern from the Developmental Movement Pattern Sequence (also known as the Braindance).
While singing the song, you do one tactile pattern up the body and down, and repeat three more times.
You can find a version of Flea in Early Childhood Warm Ups Part 1 on Brain Bop. I also have it as a stand-alone song on Songs for Dancing.
When I sing it live, I often short-cut the pattern to do one type of tactile up, a different one down and repeat that process, thus doing four tactile patterns but only two repetitions of the song.
I usually do this song as a part of my complete Sequence warm up.
Some people use the song differently.
I recently had a conversation with a teacher at Head Start in Savoy, IL.
She said she used Flea as a stand-alone ‘reset’ activity in her classroom, after coming in from play or during the first gathering time. It’s part of the daily ritual of class.
The entire group sits in a circle to do the song. One child, who may need a little ‘extra’ that day, gets to sit on her lap* and she does the patterns with him/her while leading the whole group activity. During the year, different children get honored with this special attention.
What I LOVE about this is that it provides an individual child with physical calming, focus and attention while simultaneously addressing the needs of the whole group.
A leader can establish eye contact with every child AND serve the needs of the individual at the same time.
* A word about laps. I teach my college students to NEVER allow a child to sit on his/her lap in class because that prompts a child to try to ‘own’ the adult. I believe very strongly in setting those boundaries. However, under this circumstance the children know that this is a special, one-time or rare treat. The boundary is clear: one child, one activity, and each will get a turn during the year.