St Mary’s Primary School invited us in to lead dance classes for every year group for the third year running. The school celebrates Book and Art Week with exciting workshops and unusual classes. Steph and Georgie went along to deliver a varied and extensive timetable of dance!

Written by Georgie, Level Two TRS Teacher, Level Two Active Armchairs Facilitator and Educating Dance Teacher

Wow! What a week I’ve had with St Mary’s Primary school and their Book and Arts Week! When  I saw the subjects I would be teaching I was so excited!
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Firstly I taught year 1 – Aliens and Space. What a great subject! We created our own rocket and flew into space. We explored space and had some great slow motion spacewalks. Then we spotted the aliens! After teaching the short phrase, they went onto group work where I handed them a picture of a different alien each which they had to create a starting position that looked like the alien. The children did this so well! Without even looking at the pictures I could tell who was who. They then created movements like their aliens. When we showed these at the end I was so impressed with what they had done and how much they had learnt and choreographed in that time. What a way to start my week.
Next was Year 4 and Gumboot dancing. I could not wait for this! As the classes came in, the teachers told me that they were very good at dancing and loved it. They were right! I started off with an ‘echo’ game where we would walk around the space and when I stomped the class had to echo back the rhythm I had done. Then I chose some of them to do a rhythm too, and some were very hard! After this, I taught them 3 gumboot phrases and then they had to create their own. We had such variety with these, they used different levels, cannon and formations! They had all practiced them to perfection which sounded and looked great!  The last part, I handed each group a set of gumboot steps to follow. But they weren’t allowed to show other groups. At the end they performed these too. I was quite cheeky and played a little trick on them. All the cards said the same thing! It was really good seeing how each group interpreted the steps!
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Then I had Reception class – Seasons and Weather. We started off with the 4 corners game and in each corner was a season, each having their own different action to help the children remember what season was what. I then taught them a phrase, using the different seasons and the different weather in each season e.g. snow in winter, sun/hot in summer. After they got into groups and decided on a season then created some movements for it. These were really good, we had sitting by the fire in winter and swimming in the summer! Lastly in groups I handed out some cards and we played pairs – what weather goes with what season. Most of them did this perfectly! I was really impressed!
Year 6 Street Dance was next. They learnt so much! I started off with body popping, which is quite hard in itself and they really grasped it. Then I taught them tutting, some top rock and finally a bit of break dance / floor work. They were very happy when I played the music (Ed Sheeran –  Shape of You) I heard a lot of whispered ‘yes’s’ when the song came on! And we put all of these styles of street together to make a routine. They looked great! Giving me some serious attitude and really understanding the different stylistic qualities of each part. They then added on their own routine in groups, and my they were a talented bunch! Each group was so good that I really wanted them to share with one another, so they ended up teaching each other their routines! Such a fantastic group to work with.
Lastly I taught Year 5 – Astronauts and Planets. As the year 1 went so well I decided to use some of these ideas in this one. We started of with a bit of friendly competition and they chose Girls vs Boys. They all wrote down each planet including the Sun on paper plates. I then took each set and really shuffled them up. They then had to put them in certain orders, and the team to get it write and put it in the correct order one the point! The first order was closest to furthest away from the sun, the boys did this in around 15 seconds! The next order was in order of size. The girls one this time which created a tie break situation. Lastly they had to group them into terrestrial planets and gas planets. Anddddddddd *drum roll please* the girls won! It was very close though. After I taught them a short phrase about exploring space, and again we started off in our own rocket position which they created and it looked so good! They then got into groups, chose a planet and had to create a short dance about that planet. Each group came up with such good ideas for their planet and they really went into detail. Year 5 knew so much about space they even taught me a thing or two!
I really enjoyed my time at St Mary’s Primary School, it was so lovely to see how all the children really wanted to get involved and I had so many thank you’s which was lovely to receive. I really hope I can go there again!
Steph taught Country Dancing and Space whilst at St Mary’s. Here’s some feedback about the classes.

“I really enjoyed that, I felt like I was in space!” Year 5 Pupil, St.Mary’s Primary School, March 2017

“The group work really challenged the students, they had some wonderfully creative ideas. I have 5 minutes of film to play back to them” Year 5 Teacher, St.Mary’s Primary School, March 2017

“That was fantastic, it took me back to my school days! We’ll try to remember it so we can keep doing the dance in PE. Thank you” TA about Country Dancing, St.Mary’s Primary School, March 2017

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