Thoughts on Teaching #2: The First Day of Dance Class

Our lab program meets Saturday mornings. We run two rooms simultaneously.  There are generally 12 children in a class, who have chosen to take this class (self-selected). After our first day with the children (ages 4-5, 6-7, 8-10) here were some remarks I made in response to my college students’ comments.

Building Trust and Emotional Safety

  • Get on your students’ level, physically (particularly important with younger children). Go ahead, squat down!
  • Give them something to do right away (we always have interesting props set out on yoga squares so everyone can go to a spot and find something as they come in the door)
  • Be enthusiastic and supportive
  • Be honest and caring
  • Show interest
  • Be loving
  • Never be afraid of your students. You are the Alpha dog in the pack!
  • Give freedom within structure, which conveys permission to be expressive
  • Consider the “V” of freedom. Start narrow and gradually open out. (As with good parenting).
  • Plan activities that help kids get comfortable with community (like sharing yoga squares with more than one person) and a get-together, welcome, name song
  • Be flexible with the shy kids; the transition may be harder on them. But expect that by 3 days into the semester, they will have adjusted. (although our class rule is no parents in the room, I make an exception for the separation of that one child on that first day).
  • Make sure all voices are heard (call on others besides the raised hands)
  • “No” is a ‘wall’…..look for ‘window’ options instead. “No” is reserved for safety and boundaries (such as it’s not okay to hurt yourself or other people in class)
  • Learn and use students’ names frequently. We take pictures of every child wearing a name tag the first day, then never have to use name tags again.
  • On Day #1, the room should be creative, but structured enough not to be overwhelming. Otherwise, with too much freedom, issues would arise.
  • Set boundaries and expectations the first day, and have an easier time thereafter. Example: Always give instructions while students are seated.
  • Establish audio cues the first day that indicate “clean up, time to warm up”.  My go-to instrument for the start of class is a recorder (block flute) upon which I play a series of 3 simple motifs based around the notes B-A-G.  Each motif guides students to pick up, put away, find a spot for warm up.

 

October 6, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Behavior Management, Kate Kuper on Teaching Creative Dance, Lesson Plan Organization, Studio Teaching, Teaching Skills, Teaching Tips, Thoughts on Teaching Series, Transition Magic. Leave a comment.

What to do with…Down By the Station

With early childhood, in the school setting, when the children come to me, I use Down By the Station (from Songs for Dancing) as the transition to entering the gross motor space and forming a circle.

It sets the stage for imaginative play, reminds children that they have not come to ride the bikes or play on the climbing structure, and ends us in a desirable spatial formation.

From there, we either sit or stand for a welcome activity, followed by our warm up.

After doing this song/activity every week for many weeks, the children were no longer ‘transformed.’ Spirited children were getting into other people’s personal space, etc. It has become one more single file line, and we know there are already plenty of those in the school setting!

I DO know that children like to MOVE, and, once the newness wears off, walking on the beat just won’t cut it.

SO…I told the children we were going to do a special kind of train. First it was a JUMPING train. Then, after we’d pointed out all the different animals and plants we saw on our train trip and returned to the song, we were a HOPPING train.

This changed it up just enough to add interest, it was aerobic and exciting, and accomplished the activity objective (get into the space, end in a circle, sing, move, imagine).

Look for different locomotor movements (stomping, turning, tipping side to side), energy qualities (shaky, sharp), or levels (high and low) to spice things up in your own train….or when leading ANY SINGLE FILE LINE.

Think outside the box (car)!

May 18, 2015. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Behavior Management, Kate Kuper on Teaching Creative Dance, Teaching Tips, Transition Magic, What to do with...., Working with Kate's Material. Leave a comment.

Foot Song

Once in a while I get an inspiration while the children are standing in line waiting to leave at the end of class.  If there are dawdlers, why penalize the ones who are in line? That’s how Foot Song came into being.

Foot Song is a way to keep children engaged during transitions such as the one I just described.  It’s also a fun song to use at the start of a lesson on teaching parts of the body or to shake sillies out. You can be in any group formation to do it.

Here it is, with notation.

Foot Song
(to the tune of Old MacDonald) – key of F

F                  C               D             C       A               G             F
I see feet that are standing on the floor, what can those feet do?

 
A     A#         C                      A    C           A#                   A#        A

Can they jump, jump, jump? Can they jump and jump? Can they jump, jump,

 

G                   F        (spoken or sung)

jump, jump, jump?          STOP!

 

Repeat with tap, tip/toe/turn. Open it up to children’s suggestions: kick, hop, swing, etc.

(Note: The more more kinds of movement the children know, the more ideas they will suggest.)

April 2, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Favorite Music, Kate Kuper on Teaching Creative Dance, Transition Magic. 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.

Creating flow in a performance setting

As a director of movement performances, I value the ‘flow’ of an event.  This gives it polish and lowers the stress level for everyone!

 

Here are some tips for creating flow.

 

1. Blocking – Everyone needs to know where they supposed to sit before they perform and where they are supposed to go and stand to perform. Enlist the help of teachers, etc. to ‘wrangle’ each of the performing groups if they are – for example – several classes in an early childhood center.  They can even begin by sitting on their own classroom rugs, brought into the space for this occasion.

 

2. Use ‘magic hands’ to cue transitions. Hands with palms facing up and rising = ‘stand’.  Palms facing down and lowering = ‘sit.’ Hands separating, or pointing = ‘go to your assigned places.”

 

3. Use shorthand vocabulary for body positions. My words are ‘sit ready position’ (that’s the criss-cross apple sauce we all know and love), ‘stand tall one and all’ for the standing neutral position. Magic hands tell people to do these things.

 

4. Use a song that the children know that helps them line up and move from one place to another.  This makes the transition to ‘places’ part of the fun for them and the audience and keeps the pacing lively and interesting.   I use
Down By the Station (from Songs for Dancing) for this because a train is a single file line that moves down a track.  You can signal groups, one by one, with magic hands, to get them to their feet, and use your adult helpers to lead off the train.
This is an excellent exit strategy too, as groups leave the space one by one at the end of a program.

(I based this on the assumption that you have already taught and used this song/activity before and that it is comfortable and familiar to the children.)

 

I also use The Goodbye Song (from Songs for Dancing) to start off the transition to end the program, and keep the music going as they move towards the exit.  (Of course, first I say all the closing stuff, then make The Goodbye Song the ultimate activity, starting in self space, then dismissing group by group, using eye contact with the leaders and ‘magic hands’ to signal)

September 25, 2013. Recitals, Studio Teaching, Transition Magic, Working with Kate's Material. 1 comment.

Controlling the Creative Chaos. Part I: Moving through space

I’ve been thinking about how challenging it is for many teachers to ‘allow’ their younger students to travel from one place to another. It’s so much easier to have children move on their own spot: jumping, turning, melting and popping up, shaking, etc.
Each child is beside another, oriented towards the leader/teacher. That’s the way music teachers often work with children as they sing and dance.

While this is good for the individual, it does not promote negotiating relationships with others, and therefore does not build holistic social competence.  Sure, kids have to keep their hands to themselves, but they aren’t taking turns, sharing the same space, moving with another person.

When I start out with a new group of young children in a school setting, I first teach them how to make a circle.  Typically, we do Down By the Station (Songs for Dancing #1) to travel in a line to a circle.  This teaches, or reinforces, the basic skill of following in a single file line, which every child has to be able to do successfully in public school.  Then we do a series of activities from the circle.

The first time I teach children to  work in a formation that is NOT a circle, I use yoga squares (one mat can be cut into ten squares.  I recommend yogadirect.com as a source for inexpensive mats in lots of bright colors).

I toss the squares (which I call ‘dots’) out in the space, then travel around the circle touching each child on the shoulder, singing (to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”) “When I touch you on the shoulder find a spot (or dot).”  You can also ask them where to touch: knee? back? This is a great way to work on parts of the body.  After we’ve done this a few times, I just sing, “When I touch you on the  _____” and they suggest.  I toss 5 squares, and touch five people, and repeat the process until everyone has found a spot.   When we are ready to transition back to the circle or to line up to leave, I have them make a “pancake pile”  of the dots.  I use the “1,2,3, transition” strategy for this: 1= stand up with your dot.  2 = walk to make a pancake pile.  3 = line up (or make a circle).  As I say each number, they do each thing.  Sometimes I’ll play a three-line melody that ‘says’ the same thing.  (I use a recorder for this, but it could be pitched percussion, guitar, etc.)

Once we are on the yoga squares we can do all kinds of bigger movement that the circle won’t allow.  More room on either side of us!

Young children need to have the concept of ’empty space’ explained.  “Look for empty space for ‘freedom and safety.’ ” Empty space is where ‘the dot is not.’  It’s ‘nobody space.’ Point to empty space.  Everybody points to empty space. It’s above us!  Beside us!  In all the ‘preposition places.’

The first time I teach children to travel, we practice moving ‘where the dot is not’ and then ending on a dot.  A really fun song to practice this is Stick Together Game (Step on the Beat #3) because it asks the dancers to dance around through all the empty spaces, to different places and then stop, stick parts together, then move different ways with their parts stuck together.
Of course, there are lots of other ways to approach this. You  can use any music, including live music, and have students dance in the empty spaces, giving them a nice cue for when to find a spot.  Once they are on a spot, they can dance on their spot (you control the energy and speed here….is the spot a chance for them to recover from big locomotor movement and move gently, such as swaying?  Is is a chance for them to use a lot of energy after doing something controlled, such as tip-toeing, like  jumping or exploding?)

What happens if MORE THAN ONE PERSON ends up on a dot?  I disaster-proof this, by modeling it the first time we are going to travel and find a spot.  I demonstrate ending on a spot with another person and pretending several ‘wrong’ options: getting mad, pushing, etc.  Naw!  That’s not what we do!  Ask your students for a solution that would work better.  How about sharing?
I follow up with a dance-and-find-a-spot activity in which I take away several dots during the dancing time.  When you end on your spot, hold up your fingers to show me how many people are on your dot.  I see two fingers up (for two people)….three.

Continue this activity until everyone has has the opportunity to share a spot.

April 20, 2013. Kate Kuper on Teaching Creative Dance, Transition Magic, Working with Kate's Material. Leave a comment.

Great Transitions Tips for Early Childhood

Complied by Brigid Finucane (March, 2011) and used with her permission.

KID TESTED MANAGEMENT IDEAS THAT WORK!

I. I’ll BE PEACE AND YOU BE QUIET / A QUIET COYOTE
-“Voices turned down to zero!” I love the imagery of turning a volume dial down. -Carole Stephens (Macaroni Soup)
-Say “If you can hear my voice, clap two times.” (“Clap one time.” “Say yeah!” etc.).
Adapt to specific needs. Use normal to soft volume. It defeats the purpose to use a loud voice. –Micki Groper et al
-Sing or chant- “If you can hear me, clap your hands once. If you can hear me, look at the floor.
If you can hear me, look at the ceiling. If you can hear me, look at the door. If you can hear me,
clap your hands once. If you can hear me, look at me.” This works charms and it’s fun.
You can add things to look at until all the students are paying attention. – Amy Lowe
-“Put a bubble in your mouth.” (for quiet!) Shortened to “Bubble!” –Liz Buchanan
-Hocus, pocus. Everybody focus. –Begona Cowen, 2nd grade teacher
-“Give me five.” Everyone holds up their hands and quiets down. –Liz Buchanan
-When the kids want to ask a question or say something, they raise one hand in the air and put the other one over their mouth. This helps them realize that they don’t need to   shout their question while raising their hand. –Jenny Heitler-Klevans
-Clap a short 4- beat rhythm pattern. Students echo exactly. Repeat until everyone is
focused. OR Continue clapping 4 beat rhythm pattern until everyone is clapping the
same pattern. –Sulinha et al
-“Eye’s watching (point to eyes) / Ears listening, (point to ears) / Mouth -sh sh sh (put finger to lips) / Body ready to follow my lead.”(hands quiet at side or folded in laps). – Amy Lowe
– I use a hand gesture when kids are getting too loud. It’s the Quiet Coyote. index and pinky up (ears) and thumb pressed together with two middle fingers like the Coyotes mouth. I teach it to them early in the year and explain that the coyote’s mouth is closed and his ears are open. Then I move all my fingers to demonstrate that when the coyote’s mouth is moving his ears flop and he can’t hear. If kids are too loud, I stop everything and just hold up my quiet coyote. -Jeanie B

-The reality is, my most powerful teaching tool is EYE CONTACT – I make sure I make eye contact with every child in class. Now we’re “in relationship” and I don’t have a lot of need for lots of verbal reminders. –Carole Stephens (Macaroni Soup)
II. THE POWER OF SONG AND SOUND
-In classes with really young ones, I have found “Bats Are Sleeping,”

“Here’s a Little Bird,”
“All of the Terradactyls,” and “See the Little Bunnies Sleeping” to be extremely helpful in
focusing attention. –Susan Salidor
-One I often hear: 1-2-3 eyes on me. Kids (answer): 1-2 eyes on you. –Martha Leader
-Teacher says “Students, say ‘yes’ if you can hear me.” Children respond “Yes.”
If they don’t respond then the teacher repeats “Students say ‘Yes yes’ if you can hear me.” Children respond “Yes Yes.”
It must be something about the actual letter sound of “s” but it worked beautifully every time and only 3 repeats were required at the most unruly moments. I also liked its simplicity and the fact that is was a positive three letter word. –Katherine Dines
-A teacher I worked with used to softly sing “hey hey” (5-3 or sol – mi) and have the kids sing back “ho ho” – it was amazing how well it worked. –Martha Leader
-Teacher says “Peanut Butter’, students say “Jelly.” –Liz Buchanan
-Other Duet ideas from teacher websites:
T: Sponge Bob / S: Square pants! OR
T: Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? / S: Sponge Bob Square Pants!
T: Lis / S: ten. T: Everybody / S: Listen.
T: And a hush fell over the crowd. / S: (in a whisper) hushhhhh.
T: Hands up top / S: That means stop (students put hand on head and freeze)
T: Da, dada, da, da / S: Da da. (Tune: Shave and a hair cut – two bits!)
-“Ah-goh”/ “ah-me”, an African call and response (language unconfirmed)
Teacher “Ah-goh”, Kids answer “Ah Me” (pronounced “may”). Set -up : “When I say ( or, when you hear ) “Ah-goh” it means “are you ready to pay attention (listen)?
You (kids) answer ‘Ah-me’ which means ” I am”. We’ll start when everyone says ‘ah-me’.”
Note: Most effective when teacher speaks below the ambient noise volume. Yelling “Ah-go!” seems oxymoronic and drives me nuts when people do it. – Leslie Zak
-“AHHH-go; AHHH-may” (Phonetic). “AHHH—go” means “May I have your attention please?”
The teacher calls that out, and the kids answer back: “AHHH-may” and that means, “Yes. You’ve got my attention.”
This can go back and forth once or twice, but if the teacher has to ask for the students’ attention 3 times, that means the students are really not ready to refocus. Therefore, after the students’ 3rd response of “Ame”, everybody must clap 3 times, pad 3 times on shoulders with arms crossed, pop collar 3 times, and draw a circle with two palms moving outwards and reuniting in front of the heart while saying “Umoja” (unity). This signifies everyone is now ready to pay attention again!
II.A. FRIENDLY PERSUASION & THE POWER OF PRAISE
-When I see examples of good behavior, I sing “Good manners are a very nice touch – cha, cha, cha” from ‘Please Pass the Peas’ by Terri Mathis. The kids love it. –Tara Trudel
-“Pat yourself on the back. Shake your own hand. Congratulate yourself.” – Book: The First Days of School by Harry & Rosemary Wong.
III. MOVE IT!
-“Let’s all do an action dance -We’re going to move alot. But we won’t go from place to place. We’re going to move right on our spot.” – Kate Kuper, Alphabeat.
-Show me your best dance moves…now freeze! –Kate Kuper
-Yoga poses or breathing help to refocus fast: “Take a deep breath and hiss like a snake”
or “growl like a lion.” –Gari Stein
-For getting your ‘sillies’ out while waiting in line,do a silent roar. Start with your face and hands scrunched up tight and slowly open them……when they are as big as they can be SHAKE THEM!…..then slowly close everything up again. –Kate Kuper, dancer
-Yogic Breathing!!! After a big moment or a very active song, we ask the children to take a big breath in through their nose and let it out slowly and quietly. We do this 3-4 times. It ‘s a great way to let them settle and re-focus. –Beth Bierko
-My favorite is the pre-K class where the teacher has a child tap a triangle one time to announce it’s time to clean up. You would think this would be too quiet, but the kids can hear the sound through the hubbub. It is so nice to have something so quiet to call attention rather than yelling over everyone! –Liz Buchanan
-Use a drum pattern that means start, and another that means freeze. Works better than a voice, (and children) think it’s more fun than clapping. –Greta Pedersen
IV. DANCE, PASS OUT – AND DON’T LOSE YOUR SOCKS!
-You get what you get and you don’t get upset – Brigid Finucane
-When passing out eggs of different colors, I ask students to hold out their hands and close their eyes and when they feel an egg it’ll be a surprise. I tell them I don’t even know what color egg they’ll get. That usually helps cut down on the complaints or requests about specific colors. -Jenny Heitler-Klevans
-In getting instruments or scarves back from young children, one teacher we work with asked the kids to “Feed the Bag” and I pretend the bag has a big, hungry mouth and is grateful for the “treat” offered. It eliminates many of the reluctant returners. -Beth Bierko
-For dancing barefoot: “Put your socks inside your shoes / then your socks you will not lose!” –Kate Kuper, dancer
V. THERE’S SOMETHING HAPPENING HERE
– Eyes are open, mouth is not! – Kate Kuper, dancer
–3 eyes on me, 2 mouths closed, 1 listen for what’s next. –Teacher website
-SALAMI (stop and look at me immediately) –Teacher website
-“Make a better choice” or variations “You need to make a better choice” or
“Are you making a good choice?” is a phrase I often hear. It puts the responsibility for following the rules, working hard, playing well together on the individual, rather than the teacher. -Margaret Hooton
-If there is talking while I am giving directions, I say “When I am talking to you what are you doing?” They say “Listening.” And I say, “Show me.” And they sit quietly. –Pam Donkin
-I designate ‘student teachers’ to help others ‘find’ the perimeter of the rug, demonstrate the correct way to put hold rhythm sticks or put them in rest position, help pass out and collect scarves, etc. I choose engaged, participating students, and everyone is a candidate – a powerful motivator. –Brigid Finucane
-At my very first class I teach the signal for a cut-off. After that I just use it to stop (disruptive) behavior. I may say, “Did you see my signal for a cut-off” or “Do you remember what this means?” or “Good job, you saw the signal for the cut-off.” –Liz Hannan
VI. TRANSITION MAGIC
-Time to quiet down, clean up and switch
-“I’d like to invite my friends to sit on the rug (get ready for lunch, line up, etc.). It makes for friendlier transitions. –Brian Puerling, Pre-K
-An owl sat alone on the branch of a tree (raise one arm level w/ body and rest two fingers of the other hand on the arm.)
And he was as quiet as quiet could be.
Two brownies crept up on the branch of the tree, (Now the fingers are brownies
and they walk up the “branch.”)
And they were as quiet as quiet could be. (Quiet voice)
Said the wise old owl, tooo hooo, tooo hoo. (Kids love to make the owl sound.)
Up jumped the brownies and away they flew. (The 2 brownie fingers fly away.)
An owl sat alone on the branch of a tree (2 “owl” fingers back on the branch)
And he was as quiet as quiet could be. (very quiet voice)

NOTE: These days it is usually necessary to explain (or better yet, show a picture)
what brownies are—i.e. not chocolate cookies. –Beth Nord
-My current favorite non-verbal is ‘the magic flute.’ I play a motif on my recorder and that signals clean up – just a simple B-A-G motif. I even have a 1,2,3 transition signaled by ‘the magic flute.’ 1 = pick up your supplies. 2 = put them away 3 = line up. –Kate Kuper, dancer
-Are you ready to switch? I get (students) to stand up and stretch way up over their heads on their tip toes, reach up to the light fixture and “switch” on/off a light. Or— chug their arms like a train with sound effects whooo hoooo! For 15+ seconds and “switch tracks.” They can be seated or standing. –
Katherine Dines
-From standing to sitting:
Two litte hands go clap clap clap / Two little feet go tap tap tap
One little body turns around / Everyone here sits right down. – Brigid Finucane, traditional
-If I want them to sit down, I sing “Come on everyone and sit in the circle”
using my “Clap your hands now” song. –Pam Donkin
-Teacher: “Circle sitting (or standing) on the floor by the time I get to four! Count with me … one (clapping rhythm), two — etc.. For the laggers, teacher/kids can count in ” 3 1/2, 3 3/4 (don’t be late!)
FOUR! –Leslie Zak
-“Please be my echo and copy what I do.”
Hands on your waist.
Hands on your knees. (Sometimes I walk my fingers down my legs to my knees)
Touch the floor.
Sit down please.
Cross your legs.
Reach for the sky.
Wiggle your ears. (You can change this to whatever works)
Blink your eyes. – Liz Hannan
– Clap your hands….tap your legs…
Turn yourselves around….
Clap your hands… tap you legs…
Jump up from the ground…
Clap your hands….tap your legs…
And please sit down….
(Give children time to do each movement). –Gari Stein
-From sitting to standing:
Tall as a tree / wide as a house / thin as a pin / small as a mouse. – traditional
For children in line, do movements with chant, then whisper “Quiet as a mouse.” -Allison Ashley

-For making a circle or gathering:
– For making a circle, I sing Let’s make a circle. –Gari Stein
Let’s Make A Cir cle
G E A G E (teasing melody) na-na-na-na -na
2 1 1 2 2 Counts
-“Make a Circle Like the Sun”—–Barb Tilsen
Tune: Skip to My Lou
Make a circle like the sun
Holding hands everyone
Make a circle like the sun
Circle like the sun.
-Dividing groups and taking turns:
-Of all the ways groups of children can be divided in two, by gender wins hands down. … (but there are) creative ways that don’t divide by gender, race, class. Maybe for Ks you could do January to June birthdays and July to December, what else? If it’s for the moment, you can do “this side of the room.”
With older kids you can do “Odds and evens (birthday dates).” -The odd/even (idea) came from some New Games article, and when (children are) playing the game the evens could say “The odds are against us!”–Nancy Schimmel
-Have (students) count one/two, then have ones go together and twos. Have
them line up by height, then divide the line, or take from each end. Divide by
first letter of first name, or what color they are wearing that day, sneakers and boots, or sandals, jeans or camo, until the numbers work out. –Kim Wallach
-Set your own groups – someone wearing gray, or purple, or pink, or who has shoelaces on shoes… -Greta Pedersen
-Lining up and getting ready to go:
–Teacher puts arms parallel in front of her while facing the group and says:
“I want to see you between my arms.”
Next time: “Stand between my arms and show me all your charms.” –Kate Kuper, dancer
-See which table (or group) can move most quietly. –Greta Pedersen
–After children have lined up and are waiting to exit the classroom, I rhythmically chant or sing “Are you ready” (4-1-m2-1) and children sing back “Yes I am” or “Yes we are”. –Annaliese
Katek, 1st grade teacher
-Waiting in line:
-Shake your hands in the air, put your hands on your head, put your hands on your shoulders, flap your elbows instead.
-Wiggle your fingers, wiggle your toes, blink your eyes, wiggle your nose.

-Tilt your head from side to side, now stretch up straight and tall
Shake your hips from side to side now FREEZE, don’t move at all!
-Nod your head, shake it “no”, bend your knees and touch your toe.
– Obey the previous command (start a pattern, students begin as you move to the next thing)
-Arm gestures: different levels, speeds, qualities, “preposition places” (spatial relationships)
– Finger play (Here is the Church, Here is the Steeple, etc.)
– Emotion game (Show me a sad face, a mad face, a scared face, a happy face)
-Moving from one spot to another:
-Have students ‘swim’ to the new spot. (This) seems to make them go more slowly, i.e. not run.
-Greta Petersen.
-We’re following the leader, the leader, the leader.
We’re following the leader wherever, she (he) may go.
We’re following the leader, the leader, the leader.
We’re following the leader, we STOP and make a pose.
(Everyone copies leader’s pose). Tune from Peter Pan. –Gari Stein
-Be a Train! – Kate Kuper

September 15, 2011. Transition Magic. Leave a comment.