This next set of 25-30 minute lessons would work best in a gross-motor space rather than the classroom. However, if you are restricted to your room, make sure to clear away the obstructions that will hamper your success. Guide children away from the edges of the space and into the open spaces.
I generally teach in a circle, the most democratic of spatial formations and also the one that leaves all that valuable real estate open in the center. Go ahead and have some students be ‘jelly filling’ inside the ‘doughnut’ when possible. Different children can have that privilege on different days. You can also have every other child scoot forward from his/her spot on the circle, to leave more space on either side.
Another strategy for spreading children out is to use tape markings or portable markers, such as yoga squares. You already may have carpets with designs on them that the children have become accustom to. Just make sure they aren’t jammed together.
Changing the way you use space is NEW and novelty always creates a little chaos.
Give this new spatial arrangement three times……by the third time of doing something differently, the children — and you — will have settled into a ‘new normal’ during movement time.
These lessons are on the concepts of Direction and Speed, Energy, Shape, and Body Parts. In the middle of the sequence is a new warm up, to change up what you are doing with the children. After you’ve done this new warm up 3-5 times, you can go back to the previous warm up and switch them out thereafter. This is also true of welcome and hello songs and dances.
My ‘Rule of Three’ applies here, too. Do a new hello song times, then switch it out with something different. The children will appreciate the novelty at that point.
This is the first of three posts. Each will provide you with a set of five lesson plans.
Here’s the back story: I have been providing creative dance instruction at an early childhood center every spring for the many years. Since teaching is always an opportunity to mentor the educators in the room, I also provide them with detailed lesson plans. The plans here are from spring, 2014.
These lessons progress through a variety of dance concepts, such as place, direction, level.
You’ll get a good idea for how to shape a curriculum that moves the children from simple to more complex learning over the course of time, and for the value of repetition. We know that learners benefit from the comfort of repetition and the excitement of novelty. Striking a balance between the two is part of our job as educators.
For the most part, I teach in a gross-motor room, blocking off part of the space if it is too large, and indicating where to start as children enter the room in a moving line. This start spot can be a yoga square or polyspot. From that start spot, we travel until we arrive in a circle.
I do this to model a different way of experiencing a space that is usually dedicated to tricycle riding, running and climbing.
When I teach in the classroom, we form a circle. Sometimes, when space is very tight, I bring spots to scatter so we aren’t bunched up together or bumping into the edges of the space (radiators, bookshelves, etc.)
If you teach in a studio, these lessons will work nicely as well.
I use a CD player or, when possible, I use an ipod or iphone with the playlist programmed in. I also carry a binder with visual supports that I’ve made by downloading images from the internet, drawing my own pictures, or using the downloadable visuals on my Songs for Dancing CD.
In a previous post, I gave you images for Imaginary Journey (a song from Alphabeat). Check that out to get an idea for how you can let the pictures explain some of the key images and ideas, and empower the children through visual literacy.
As always, I welcome your comments on your experiences with working with the material. Lesson 1 on Place 2014Lesson 2 Warm Up 2014Lesson 3 Direction 2014Lesson 4 Direction 2014Lesson 5 Level Direction 2014