What to do with…The More We Are Together

What to do with….
The More We Are Together (from AlphaBeat)

Use this to teach the concept of Direction to ages 3-5.

The form is

1)   Sway side to side

2)   Swing forward and backward

3)   Sway side to side

Musical Interlude: Make your hands into butterflies.  Fly up and down, and then fly away (hands separate)

1)    Swing forward and backward

2)   Sway side to side

 

How To Teach:

Formation: Circle, sitting Ready Position (Legs crossed)

Teach the word direction.  Clap the syllables: Di-rec-tion.  Do it as call and response.

Teach the six directions.  Point and say each direction, then students respond.  Do this twice.

Forward! Backward!

Up! Down!

Side! Side!

 

In the first part of our dance, we’ll sway side to side.  Let’s do it!

(Sing: The more we are together, together, together, the more we are together the happier we’ll be)

In the next part we’ll swing our arms forward and backward as we sing.

(Sing: For your friends are my friends, and my friends are your friends)

We’ll end this part by swaying side to side again.

(Sing: The more we are together the happier we’ll be)

Stand Tall! 

Now let’s do it standing. (Sing and do.)

Add on:  Let’s add some forward and backward movement with our legs when we swing our arms forward and back.

Model: Step forward with one foot and close the other foot to it.  Step back with one foot and close the other foot to it.

Our feet do “go/stop!” forward and “go/stop!” backward as we swing our arms forward and backward.  Let’s practice!

“Go/stop!” “Go/stop! “Go/stop!” “Go/stop!”

How many times did we do  “Go/stop!”?  Four!

Let’s do it again.

(This teaches body control and shows the children that we only take ONE step forward and close to it before we repeat backward.  Otherwise, most children will run multiple steps forward and back, or ignore body control entirely)

 Now let’s do our dance from the beginning.

Side to side sways!

(Sing: The more we are together, together, together, the more we are together the happier we’ll be)

 

Forward and backward swings

“Go/stop!” “Go/stop! “Go/stop!” “Go/stop!”
(Tip: Sing the prompts to the melody of the song)

 

Side to side sways!

(Sing: The more we are together the happier we’ll be)

Teach the musical interlude:

Sit Ready Position.  Now let’s do butterflies.

Reach your arms straight in front of you, palms up.
Cross your wrists, palms still face up.
Hook your thumbs.  Now you have a butterfly!
(Fingers flutter)

Butterfly flies up … Butterfly flies down…

Butterfly flies up … Butterfly flies down…

Stand Tall!

Let’s do butterflies standing. (Repeat the whole process.  Fly up, fly down, then up to a middle level and butterflies ‘fly away’ – two hands separate, ready for the forward and backward swings.)

 We’ll end with ‘Go/Stop!’ and side sway!

Let’s do it all with music.

After a while you can replace ‘Go/Stop!’ with the lyrics (For your friends are my friends, and my friends are your friends).

Always give the basic cue before the transition, until they know the dance:

Side to side!
Forward and backward!

Make butterflies!

Butterflies fly away and swing forward and back?

Side to side!

 Enjoy!

 

 

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January 31, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Creative Dance Lesson Plans, Elements of Creative Dance, Kate Kuper on Teaching Creative Dance, Studio Teaching, What to do with...., Working with Kate's Material. 1 comment.

A music and movement educator to know about

I just discovered an early music educator named Judy Caplan Ginsburgh.

Check out her website  (http://www.judymusic.com) to watch her 15 minute in-service in which she teaches music and movement activities.

One of the songs is called “Everybody’s Got a Little Music in ‘Em.”  I’d heard this song before, by Rabbi Joe Black.

Judy uses the form and melody of “Everybody’s Got a Little Music in ‘Em” to teach elements of music.

Download the song at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sing-along-smile-with-judy/id6069397

Here’s how she front-loads the song/activity.

“You are going to be a music band.  Your body will be the instrument.  Experiment with your making sounds on your body – only your body, no one else’s. Use your hands by clapping, snapping, tapping, and patting your body like an instrument.  You can make sounds with your tongue by la-la-la ing during the singing part.

Every group of musicians has a boss.  The boss is called the director or the conductor. A conductor signals when to make sound or movement and when to stop. When I move my baton like this (wave baton) that means ‘move and make sound’.  When I do this (signal stillness) that means ‘stop, hands down and listen’.

Let’s learn a little bit about music.”

Song

Verse – Leader: Everybody’s got a little music in ‘em, music in ‘em, music in ‘em,
Everybody’s got a little music in ‘em, I can hear it when you sing (cue group to join)

Chorus – Group: La, La (and make body percussion)

Verses:

2) Rhythm (rhythm is the beat)… when you sing and play
3) Melody (melody’s the tune)
4) Harmony
5) Music

Adapt this for dance elements (and write more for different elements)

Everybody’s got a little dance in ‘em
I can see it when you (bounce and twist)

2) Level … I can see it when you move high and low
3) Size … I can see it when you get big and small
4) Pathway…. I can see it when you move curved and straight
4a) Pathway…. I can see it when you zig and zag
5) Everybody’s got some di-rec-tion in ‘em… I can see it when you move side to side
5a) Everybody’s got some di-rec-tion in ‘em… I can see it when you move up and down
5b) Everybody’s got some di-rec-tion in ‘em…  I can see it in your for-ward and back
6) Everybody’s got a little dance in ‘em, I can see it when you (sway and turn)

Judy also has a really sweet song called “Colors in My World” which she does with multicolored streamers.  It could also be done with scarves.

Colors in My World
Scarf Dance to Beautiful Music

Download the song at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/youre-amazing/id199179750

(Disaster-proofing: “If I see these magic scarves being used a certain way that isn’t safe, they are going to magically disappear.”)

Chorus: There are colors all around, colors like a rainbow, lots of colors in my world (2x)

During the chorus options: twirl, sway, up and down, move them like a rainbow, change hands
Verses:
There is blue for the sky, where the birds fly way up high….
There is yellow for the sun, when it shines we play and have fun….
There is green for the grass, where we really shouldn’t throw trash….
There is red for the flowers, they grow tall when the rain showers….

During the verse: If you have that colored scarf hold it up and show to everyone on your verse. Or everyone has colored streamers and each person holds up that color in the streamer on the appropriate verse.

Thank you Judy for your lovely ideas!

January 21, 2014. Tags: , , . Favorite Music. Leave a comment.

Zipper Songs (and Dances)

Zipper songs (and dances) allow for variation within structure.  For example, zipper songs change one element of the lyric, “zippered” in, while the rest remains the same.

I like to sing zipper songs with the children while we are waiting (by the door, in the circle, by the bus, by the bathroom, etc.) The need for this came up in my teaching because I ask children to remove their shoes to dance.  It takes a while for shoes and socks to come off (and on). Because ‘down time’ can only lead to ‘off task’ behavior, we always want to have plenty of creative transition ideas at the ready.

In the following Weather Song, weather and body part are zippered in.
Use gestures, too.  And modulate your voice to reflect the quality of the words and actions.

 
Weather Song

(To the tune of Frere Jacques)

Snow is falling, snow is falling,

On my head, on my head.

Snow is falling, snow is falling,

On my head, on my head.

 

Other verses:

Rain…on my knees….

Meatballs…on my shoulders…

 

Good weather ideas:

Sun is shining…on my __________.

 

Weather: Fog, drizzle, hail…
Funny things: Cats, Frisbees, Basketballs…

Ask the children for ideas, too.
 

Find A Spot zipper song

This one is for finding a spot in the room to dance. I use yoga mats cut into 10 equal pieces as ‘yoga dots.’  As I’m tossing them out, students move from the circle to their spot as I tap them on shoulder, knee, etc.
I sing the intro, then touch 3 – 5 children.
As I’m singing the intro, I’m tossing out spots.
This fun transition moves quickly, gets everyone to a spot, and gives me the control to tap the most self-regulated students first.

After I’ve sung the pattern once, students get the hang of it and suggest other body parts.

I often pause by the next child I’m going to tap, look at them, and wait for that child to name a new part to use.

I might change the part for every line of the song.  I sing until everyone has a spot!

 

(To the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It)

When I touch you on the _______________ find a spot (tap, tap, tap, tap)

When I touch you on the _______________ find a spot. (tap, tap, tap, tap)

When I touch you on the _______________ find a spot, find a spot. (tap, tap, tap, tap)

When I touch you on the _______________ find a spot. (tap, tap, tap, tap)

 

Options: shoulder, knee, back, head, wrist, elbow…

 

 

January 15, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Favorite Music, Transition Magic. Leave a comment.

Creative Dance Activity Categories, Teaching Skills, and Examples

Many creative dance (and song) activities that we use with young students fall into these categories: pattern dances, guided explorations and improvisations, and gross motor coordination.  Some activities are blends.

Pattern Dances (and Songs)
Activities that require following a specific movement sequence to a beat.

1) Some pattern dances are teacher-centered with all aspects of the dance laid out by the teacher.

Teaching Skills

  • Be able to describe and demonstrate the pattern. Scripting help.
  • Be in the present and a little in the future (in your thinking and cuing)
  • Feel the speed and evenness of the beat
  • Become comfortable with using your voice as an instrument
  • Demonstrate one step at a time, then have children repeat that
  • Chain on each new idea
  • When guiding as the music plays, provide verbal transitions ahead of time

Examples of Pattern Dances

  • Sodeo (AlphaBeat)
  • Walking Song (Songs for Dancing)
  • Here We Go ‘Round and Round (Songs for Dancing)
  • The More We Are Together (AlphaBeat)

Examples of Pattern Songs

  • Clap Along Song (Step on the Beat)

2) Some pattern dances are student-centered where some ideas come from the students and are then used by the whole group as part of the dance. Many pattern dances can be adapted to be more student-centered, creating greater group ownership of the experience.

Additional Teaching Skills

  • Be able to provide prompts and choices for student input.
    Example: For this part should we gallop or side slide?  Should we clap high or low? Should we turn slowly or quickly?

 

 

Guided Explorations and Improvisations
Activities that give children room to make their own movement choices.

Teaching Skills

  • Be able to describe and demonstrate the rules. Scripting help.
  • Use a student demonstrator if the activity involves more than one person (e.g. interacting or changing partners)
  • When using props (e.g. scarves), demonstrate and describe first, then pass out the scarves (so children will concentrate on the demonstration)
  • When working with another person, demonstrate and describe first, before choosing a partner (so children will concentrate on the demo)

Examples of Guided Explorations and Improvisations

  • Stick Together Game (Step on the Beat, voice prompted and instrumental only)
  • Action Dance (AlphaBeat)
  • Haunted House (Brain Bop)
  • Imaginary Journey (AlphaBeat)
  • Drumtalk (AlphaBeat)

Gross Motor Coordination  (Developing Skills)
These are activities to hard-wire skills, such as galloping and hopping.  Obstacle courses are typical for this, with a starting and ending point.

Suggested Music: Free Dance (Songs for Dancing #18)

Teaching Skills

  • Be able to demonstrate the skill or use a student demonstrator
  • Feel the speed and evenness of the beat
  • Become comfortable with using your voice as an instrument
  • For an obstacle course, assign tasks to other teachers and aides:
    ‘gatekeeper’ (at the starting point, to let children in one at a time)
    ‘encourager’ (positioned at the mid-point of the obstacle course, to cheer on individuals) – Usually the one who taught the activity
    ‘line supervisor’ (makes sure the line keeps moving up to the start   point)
    ‘spotter’ (generally at the end of the line, spotting to see that individuals complete the course (Body Shape!) and travel to the end of  the line)

 

Blends
“Blends” are activities that combine two or more categories, such as “pattern dance and improvisation” or “exploration and gross motor coordination.”

Blend Examples:

  • Everybody Do This (Songs for Dancing)
  • Little Birdies (Songs for Dancing)
  • Apples and Oranges (Step on the Beat)
  • Step on the Beat (Step on the Beat)

 

 

January 6, 2014. Tags: , , , , , . Developing Skills, Elements of Creative Dance, Exploring, Kate Kuper on Teaching Creative Dance, Studio Teaching, Working with Kate's Material. Leave a comment.