Written by Jenny, TRS Teacher

I have had the BEST book week! It has been so wonderful to deliver lots of workshops to the children and see the stories come alive!

I have visited Balfour Infants School and Halling Primary School throughout the week and have been blown away with the work that the children have produced. I like to have a wide variety of tasks within my lessons and like to challenge the children but they all rose to the challenge and produced some excellent work making my ideas come alive!

At Balfour Infants I got to do my favourite theme with Year R – Jungle animals with the book ‘Rumble in the Jungle ‘by Giles Andreae. We explored different animals of the jungle and looked at their shape and size and how they moved. The children learnt movement to the beginning of the book to the rhyme:

There’s a Rumble in the Jungle,
There’s a whisper in the tree,
The Animals are waking up
And rustling in the leaves.

We used different movements and dynamics to show the phrase and the children loved saying the words as they danced.

I then gave the children the opportunity to choose their favourite animals and they then had to create their own movements to show the animals. There were some excellent movements and also facial expressions!

We finished the workshop taking it in turns to go through the jungle under my jungle canopy that I made- the children loved moving through it and imagining their favourite animals. The children were awesome!

At Halling Primary I led workshops for Year 1, Year 5 and Year 6.

Year 1 had the book ‘The Day the Crayon’s Quit’. I loved planning this one with TRS Teacher, Josie, and we both taught the lesson to our groups. We explored the use the crayons in the book, played a game of dance snap with different movements that represented some of the colours and themes of the book and the children learnt a phrase of movement based on some of colours of the crayons.

I used scarfs in my lessons and the children used them to write a letter to Duncan with their colour. We also combined art within these lessons. We gave the children some different dance movements and asked them to draw them on the page – this was great and they produced some lovely art work too. We then did these dance movements inside a box on the floor representing the crayons in the box.

The children then had the task of finding an envelope with some coloured pens – they took them out and drew and wrote on the envelope key things that they associated with the colour. They then used these ideas to create their own dance phrase – There was so much creativity and combining art and dance brought a wonderful new layer to their work. It was fab!

For Year 5 their book was ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ by Lemony Snicket. As I researched the book I realised it was in fact a 13 book series and has multiple TV series and films so I was a bit overwhelmed. However, I picked 3 key themes from my research and we explored them in the workshop.

The first task explored the idea of Morse Code – each group had to choose a word that they would use to signal help. Some of the words were SOS, Help us, Danger, Warning and Save me. I gave them a key for morse code and they had to dance their word using different movements and levels for the Dot and Dash. I was so impressed by how both classes took on the task and the work they produced – there was so much variety!

We then learnt a dance sequence based on the idea of being on the run and hiding. I gave them some tricky movements but they all danced them really well and really thought about the emotion behind their dancing too.

For the last task they explored Violet and her inventions. I asked each group to think of an invention that they would create to get out of an unfortunate event. They then had to create a still position in their groups to represent their invention and then they had to make their invention move. They thought about how it would move – fast, slow, big movements, small movements. I was really impressed with their imaginations and their movements.

Year 6’s book was ‘The Light Jar’ by Lisa Thompson. I borrowed this book from the library to see what it was about and ended up reading the entire thing – it is such a gripping book. When I arrived to deliver the sessions I realised that the classes had not read the whole book yet and so I needed to adjust my plans so I didn’t create any spoilers!

First of all I gave the children a yellow or blue scarf in pairs. They explored the relationship between some of the characters of the book with the themes of trust. They had to keep connected to each other using the scarf and use the movements – leaning, leading, guiding and supporting! They created some great ideas and really did trust each other. They then learnt a sequence based on the idea of searching and survival. I gave them a variety of actions moving in and out of the floor and they really impressed me with how well they learnt it and performed.

Within the book there is a treasure hunt with 3 clues. I gave each group one of the clues and they had to choose 4 key words from the clue, create movements for them and link them together to ‘dance their clue’. They then had to guess where they thought their clue led and create an ending position to symbolise this. They hadn’t got to this part in the book so I didn’t tell them what the answers were but there were some good guesses and some amazing dances!

I have had so much fun this week and have been able to use my passion and love of books to create workshops full of creativity.

Find out more about Educating Dance HERE. Your school can dance the tale!