Professional Development Learning Opportunities

You may not know about the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO).  This organization has recently started offering on-line courses through the program they call the On-line Professional Development Institute (OPDI). Check out the link to see their summer and fall course offerings.

I was particularly taken with two course offerings:

OPDI-104: Creative Process for Dance Integration

Professor: Marty Sprague; Tuition $500; 3-NDEO endorsed CEUs; 10 weeks; 2 Undergraduate Credits available from University of North Carolina / Greensboro (UNCG course # DCE 245) for additional $300.

In this course, participants will explore arts integration using the creative process as a method for developing movement and integrating dance with other academic subjects. Participants will work through the steps of the process, documenting their thinking throughout using process portfolio forms as well as creating original movement and choreography. Created movement and dances will be videotaped and posted on the private (secure) discussion board for instructor and peer feedback. Participants may use their own students OR work through the process as a solo. Participants follow a logical progression of movement activities increasing in complexity from inspiration and dance design to creation of an integrated project. Book required: Dance About Anything by Sprague, Scheff, & Mc-Greevy-Nichols.


OPDI-114: Teaching Dance to Students with Disabilities

Professor: Theresa Purcell Cone; Tuition $500; 3 NDEO-Endorsed CEUs; 12 weeks

Dance for students with disabilities is a means for them to express and communicate feelings and ideas, collaborate with others and learn new movement possibilities. All students need opportunities to learn, create, perform and respond to dance in all its forms. Through this course educators will learn instructional strategies that successfully include students with disabilities in the P-12 dance program. The course also addresses legislation related to students with disabilities, current issues for inclusion, people first language, characteristics of different disabilities, Individual Education Plans (IEP), Assessment and Goal development, accessible learning environments, and content and teaching modifications for learning in dance education. Educators who teach in the P-12 schools, private studios, higher education, and community dance programs will find this course can assist them with the knowledge and learning experiences to provide meaningful dance education programs for students with disabilities.

Check out the site. The application fee is reasonable if you are not an NDEO member.


June 23, 2016. Tags: , , . Curriculum Integration, Recommended Resources, Special Needs, Teaching Skills. 1 comment.

Fantastic Forces, my new dance and science book, now available

I’m so excited to share the news that my dance and science integrated curriculum book has just been published. Fantastic Forces is a book, CD and DVD combination, designed like Songs for Dancing and Step on the Beat. It’s based on an evolving unit of study I first experimented with in 2000 and have revised and improved over many dance residencies, primarily with 3rd grade classes.


I created songs and rhythmic speech music, with long-time collaborators Neal Robinson and Rocky Maffit, and documented demonstration teaching with long-time video collaborator Bill Yauch.
To give teachers a nice broad plank of science understanding, I also collaborated with Troy Vogel, a science professor at the University of Illinois.  He kept my ‘magical thinking’ at bay, and his explanations appear throughout the book as “science corners” to enhance understanding.
The material is a big unit of study, integrating music, movement, and all the integration strategies I use so that students can gain understanding through multiple points of entry – seeing, hearing, saying and doing.
There are many opportunities for students to problem solve in pairs, adding the collaboration component to critical thinking.

My hope is that music, classroom and physical education, and dance/drama teachers can even work together to implement the material.

You can order your copy directly from the publisher.

I’m also available for professional development workshops to help ignite and launch teachers in implementing the curriculum.

May 17, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , . Creative Dance Lesson Plans, Favorite Books, Kate Kuper on Teaching Creative Dance, Working with Kate's Material. 1 comment.

An Arts Integrated Perspective on the ABCs of Learning


The most rewarding arts integration projects, as you all know, balance arts learning with other study.  But how can you honor each alone and together?  I believe it’s a matter of celebrating the common threads of art and content in other subjects through meaningful experience and interaction.


When I first choreographed and before I ever worked in education, I looked for connections between dance and other forms because my interests are broad.  I asked myself what the equivalent would be in my genre, and played with translating one medium to another.


Initially when working in schools, I chose as my point of departure the action, expression, shape, and motion inherent in any subject matter.  Then, since time is a key element of my art, I would look for ways to organize and sequence the ideas to reflect the content. Science is a natural fit with dance because they both involve processes over time.  Dance links to social studies because they share emotion, expression, story, and culture. Dance connects to language because of eloquence; that which is done can be named and remembered. Pattern, design, structure, and organization are big ideas where dance and math intersect.


The choreographic projects that evolved out of this process were creative and exciting, but the point of departure was too general. I needed a more refined organizational system than the action, expression, shape, and motion model if students and teachers were to be able to learn and remember the dance concepts.


After studying a concept-based technique with Anne Green Gilbert in Seattle, I changed from teaching dance activities as a means of understanding other content areas to presenting the dance concept first and then teaching the companion subject through the dance concept.  This change has allowed me to honor both areas in a balanced way and be able to backtrack with the students to the conceptual threads of each.


Now when I research other content to teach through dance, I look for the simplest, clearest, and most direct conceptual path between my art and content comprehension.  If I can distill it, I can translate it clearly and efficiently for the children.  If they are clear, they can remember. The art and the content in other subjects are in flow, each keeping its own integrity while supporting the other.  Throughout the entire process I am vigilant about interaction so that social and emotional intelligence gets a workout too.


It’s my ABCs of learning:

A – Arts Content

B – Behavior Skill

C – Curricular Content


Now when I teach an integrated lesson, I make sure I am covering all three of my ABCs.  As a result, students come away from the experience having related to one another, learned an important arts-based concept, and learned content from another curricular area.

I like to reinforce the learning with reflective journal writing based on prompts that guide thinking, drawing, and analysis.  While writing, students extend themselves outside their comfort zone to try to express what they experienced in the movement lesson.  They reach for new vocabulary, which is very exciting to see.  This further integration makes the lesson holistic; three areas are touched: arts, literacy, and other curricular content.



October 29, 2011. Tags: , , . Kate Kuper on Teaching Creative Dance. Leave a comment.