Categotry Archives: Ideas for Schools

Pom Pom Making

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Written by Georgie, South Kent Franchise Owner, TRS Teacher and Active Armchairs Facilitator

We use pom poms in our lessons all the time. From cheer dance classes to Active Armchairs, these props are a favourite for all.

You can make your own quite easily, and here’s how…

Here’s what you need:

Cardboard
Scissors
Wool (any colour you like)

First cut 2 circles from cardboard. Make sure they are the same size, but the size is up to you!

 

 

Then from each circle, cut out an inner circle so that you have a type of thick hoop shape. 

 

 

 

Place both pieces of cardboard together, making sure the circles both on the outside and inside match up.

 

 

From there, get the wool and start wrapping it around the cardboard. Use a small knot at one point, put the wool through the centre circle, out and around the outside edge repeatedly, do this all the way around the hoop and keep going until you have filled the hole in the middle.

 

 

 

Once your pompom is full, using scissors, cut the wool all the way around the edge. Your pom pom must be full or the wool will fall out at this point. This should allow you to see the two pieces of cardboard in the centre.

 

 

Wrap an additional piece of wool between the two pieces of cardboard, pull it tight and tie a knot, making sure that the wool has come together in the middle securely. This holds your pom pom together and you can leave a trail of this piece of wool if you want to. Remove the cardboard and…

…you will have your own fluffy pompom!

Let us know if you give it a go! Here is a photo of TRS Teacher, Hayley’s dog, posing beautifully next to the pom poms she made! 

 

 

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Everybody Moving – Easter

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It’s almost Easter weekend and there are a lot of things we would usually be doing, but can’t. Let’s find some new, active traditions to get us moving and learning throughout the day. 

As always, please adapt the ideas to suit you and the people you’re with. Many of our photos are of the children the TRS Teachers are with at home, but the ideas are great for adults, including care home residents, too. 

Hunts With a Difference

Hunts don’t have to be saved until Easter day and they don’t have to involve chocolate. You can hunt for other things and link it to learning too. 

 
Phonics Egg Hunt

The child writes the new words/sounds they’ve learnt on cardboard egg shapes, the adult hides them and the child finds them. You can adapt this for the child’s phonic stage, perhaps using common exception words (used to be known as tricky words), the spelling words for their year group or putting sections of words on different eggs and asking the child to make words when they find them. 

Number Hunt

Print some bunny rabbits and number them. Hide them in the garden. The child has to find them, count them and sequence them. They could re-hide them in order for you too. Maybe the bunnies have to line up in order so they can come back inside too.

You now have 10 or 20 little bunnies that can be used for all sorts of number learning. Older children could make number bonds to 10 (adding up to 10). You could extend that to make number bonds to 100 by using multiples of 10 on the bunnies. 

Inside Hunt

You can visibly hide things so that they can be found from a wheelchair or walker. Or you can make it a bit harder. Adapt to your group. You could hide printed things or cardboard eggs that have been decorated by residents. 

Dance Hunt

Every time you find an egg you make up a dance move and add it to the last, a bit like ‘what’s in the supermarket van’. By the end of the hunt you’ll have a whole motif (sequence of movement). You could combine the Dance Hunt with any of the ideas above.  

 

Chance Dance Egg

Draw a giant egg on an outside floor, divide it into segments and write dance moves in the segments. If you’re inside you could do this on a big piece or multiple pieces of paper too.

Throw a dice, ball, beanbag or other object and do the movement it lands on. You can put them together to make a motif (sequence of movement). 

 

Egg and Spoon

This idea was used by Active Armchairs Facilitator, Steph, to encourage partnerships and team work. Plastic eggs are essential unless you want to turn this into a very messy game! 

Whilst seated or standing still, pass the egg from spoon to spoon, person to person. See how many times you can make it around the circle or how many eggs you can have going around at once.

You could also try a traditional egg and spoon race or the not so traditional race of passing the eggs over the head and through the legs to get to the end of the line. You need a large household for that though! 

Make Egg Shakers

For anyone of course, but if you’re going to be holding one of our Remote Live Lessons over the coming weeks, these would be a great prop to have! You can get plastic egg shapes from Poundland, usually. There are places online too though. Try Baker Ross. Fill them with whatever dried things such as rice, lentils or beans you have available or include bells and other things that shake well. Tape them up with normal tape followed by pretty washie tape and, if needed at a bit of extra tape to cover the hole. An excellent prop to join your collection. Check out our Everybody Moving – Props Blog for ideas of props you probably already have at home. 

Dance Around The Kitchen 

Turn the music up loud whilst cooking something from the list…
Easter nests
Chocolate Eggs 
Slow cooker Easter fudge
Easter cupcakes with icing nests on top
Chocolate Bark

TRS Teacher Lou made some Chocolate eggs!

 

 

 

Bunny Feet

Make or buy some bunny footprints. Lay them in a pattern and jump or hop from foot to foot. This is a great way to teach young children how to jump. For older children you can set challenges such as do it on one foot or go backwards. You could also have a prize for the best bunny impression so think about those whiskered noses, paws and ears! 

 

 

Lots of Easter themed keep moving ideas there! If you would like to see more of our Everybody Moving Ideas you can read our other blogs. Perhaps you could adapt some of those ideas to make them Easter themed? Here are the links…

Everybody Moving

Mini Challenges

Dance The Tale

Magic Spells

Everybody Moving – In Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home

Everybody Moving – Props

Please keep in touch, we love to hear about what you’ve been up to. #EverybodyMoving 

 

 

 

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Everybody Moving – Props

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Props are very important in our lessons and the TRS Teachers have lots of different things they can use. We even have the TRS Library Service where we share props so that there’s always something new and our lessons are always interesting!

Props are a great addition or inspiration for dance and movement play and there are things you can use that aren’t specific to dance.

If you’re a family at home you might be lucky enough to have some sensory play things to use or have props such as scarves, pom poms or ribbon sticks, but not everyone has these things so here are some ideas for everyday objects you can dance with.

The picture is of Steph’s prop collection. Steph works with people of all ages so there’s something for everyone! 

Dusters

Colourful and cheap, but make sure they’re clean! You could dance to ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’ or songs about sunshine because they’re bright and colourful.

Hair ribbons

We use ribbons all the time for lots of different things. Orange and black for Halloween, Blues and silvers for a Frozen or sea theme, Multi coloured for flying kites with Mary Poppins. Hair ribbons work just as well, in fact, the ribbon we use could just have easily have ended up as hair ribbons. We also have ribbon sticks, large and small. Why not find some straight sticks in the garden or get some dowel from the shed if you can. Tie the ribbons on and you can do so much with them.

Socks

Odds, pairs or lots tied together, these could be an alternative to pom poms or even a fun prop on their own. 

Torches

Something for the evening when no natural light’s coming in. You can either give everyone a torch or take turns. Turn the lights out, put some inspiring music on and dance in the dark with the torches. You can also try shadow puppets, explained in the first Everybody Moving blog

Pom poms

Not the cheer dance pom poms we have, you can make these from cardboard and wool. There are lots of instructions online so find out how to make them, use whatever wool you have an dance with them. Leave a long length of string on to hold or use them like balls. TRS Teacher, Hayley has been making pom poms, her dog has been enjoying them too!

Tea Towels

A great alternative to scarves. Check with the person in charge of the kitchen first though! 

Wooden spoons

You can use these as rhythm sticks, tapping them together like Morris Dancers. 

Poufe

An alternative to a Pilates/gym ball. It could also be a mini stage if you have a suitable poufe and a small dance!

Dining Room Chairs

An alternative to a ballet barre. Some of the TRS Teachers have been delivering online ballet lessons and dining room chairs have become essential equipment!

Thank you to TRS Teacher, Clare, for sharing her photo of an online Bridge Academy Ballet Lesson.

 

Tights

Any tights so long as you have permission from the owner! They will end up stretched and out of shape. They can have holes in them, that doesn’t matter. You can use them like you might use a giant elastic in a circle, stretch them across the room to create a web or each hold two different pairs, have someone tangle them a bit and do a dance. They look fantastic as they move! The photo is of the spider web at Little Court for Halloween!

Pillow Cases 

Pillow cases could be used like scarves or you could put your arms inside and experiment with how they move. You could also sit down and put your legs into the pillow case and see how you can move. If you’ve got a big, safe space, you could sit in the pillow case and slide around the room on your bottom or tummy being caterpillars, worms or cars! 

Brooms and Mops

Be careful with these, but they do make fun props! Pretend microphones or dance partners or as walking sticks or umbrellas to use like in old musicals. 

Mop heads

The top of your mop can be a pom pom! 

Sponges

They feel similar to our fake snowballs and could be used in the same way. They squish well and then bounce back. They could be stepping stones, balls or for balancing. 

Material

We use all sorts of different types of material in our lessons. From Liquid Gold to stretchy lycra, a bit of material makes a great prop. You can use whatever you have. Maybe blankets or the big scarves that open up wide. You could use them like parachutes, as props to wave as a group, for games like keep the balls on or for many other things depending on the material. Be inspired by it!

 

We’d love to hear about the props you’ve found. Please share them with us using #EverybodyMoving

For more ideas, see our other blogs…

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home

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Magic Spells

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This is definitely ideal for those who love Harry Potter, but it can be for anyone interested in magic or who just wants to feel like a witch or wizard! 

This is an idea for people at any age, for any ability. Just adapt it to suit you and the people with you. 

Please make sure you have a safe space to do this in, warm yourself up appropriately and adapt everything to suit your needs.

You can begin by talking about Harry Potter or generally about books that include magic in them. This is a great idea for care homes due to the reminiscence and learning elements. It would also be fantastic for families who could have their own Harry Potter duel afterwards. There are also so many home schooling ideas that could be undertaken with Harry Potter as the theme. 

Cast Your Spells!

Each person needs a magic wand. This could be a stick from the garden, a lolly stick, spoon held backwards or, if your lucky enough to have them rhythm sticks. Some people may also have some really Harry Potter character wands at home if they’re big fans!

Next, learn some magic spells from Harry Potter. Think about the type of movements you would do for the result of each spell. Some people might know the real movements for the spells to. Swish and Flick!

Wingardium Leviosa – this spell levitates objects (or trolls) so swish and flick then hold your wand as you levitate the object.

Accio – the spell to bring things to you, you’ll have to hold onto this spell until the object arrives of course.

Alohamora – A little tap that unlocks doors.

Augmenta – Create water. Shake your wand as if water is coming out of the end.

Expecto Patronum – The Patronus charm to ward off Dementors. A big sweeping arm movement.

 

You can take this further by making up movements for how you might react to someone casting a spell.

Engorgio – make things larger

Reducio – make things smaller

Ridiculous – used for defeating a Bogart. This spell makes you look hilarious.

Expelliarmous – Disarming spell

Lumos – Turns the lights on, they might be quite bright!

 

If home schooling you could also think about your Patronus might be and why. You could draw it or make a model.

Reading is so important for all of us at the moment. Why not have a Harry Potter marathon and read them all!

 

For more ideas about how to keep moving at this time please read our other blogs designed to help people have fun and move throughout the day.

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home

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Dance The Tale

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Anyone can do this, it’s good serious or silly fun at any age, for any ability.

All you need is a well loved story, (short or long), some music or if the book is short, someone to read the book and some dancers. For those who are home schooling at the moment this could be a fun English lesson. If you’re in a care home or retirement home you could do this with residents in the main room or just outside their doors. If you’re a family at home this is such a fun bonding activity.

Just adapt it for your needs.

Please make sure you have a safe space to do this in, warm yourself up appropriately and adapt everything to suit your needs.

Dance The Tale

We love to ‘Dance The Tale’. We celebrate World Book Day by making books come to life in our Educating Dance workshops and you can read more about it here: https://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/2020/03/29/book-week-2020/

Here are two examples. One that is a children’s book that could be danced as a family and the other one is aimed at older children, adults or care homes. The Snail and The Whale and The Chronicles of Narnia! You can do your own ones easily though and we’d love to hear about them. 

 

An example from The Right Step’s Director, Rebecca Ashton

The Snail and The Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The easiest way to do this is to read the story and have the children improvise (find out what that means here) around the themes on each page. You’ll be amazed what they come up with.

Here’s a list of words and themes you could pick up on for each page, just take it as it comes though. Let them be free with their moving story telling!

Pg 1 – “Tiny snail”, “great big blue humpback whale”, “the sea is deep”, “the world is wide”
Pg 3 – “The silvery tail looped and curled”, how does the snail move?
Pg 6 – “This is the whale”, how ford the whale move?
Pg 7 – “This is the sea”, how does the sea move?
Pg 9 – “Firey mountains”, explode and jump like a volcano
Pg 11 – “These are the waves that arched and crashed”, how do the waves move?
Pg 12 – Fish and sharks swimming
Pg 13 – “Thunderstorm”, “Lightening”, “Flashing”
Pg 16 – “I feel so small”
Pg 17 – “Zigging and zooming all over the place”
Pg 20 – “I can’t move on land! I’m too big!”
Pg 21 – “Sit straight! Don’t talk!”
Pg 22 – “This is the trail”, write your name as a snail
Pg 23 – “running” , “digging”
Pg 25 – “Travel safely away”
Pg 28 – All the words about the journey coming back excitedly!
Pg 30 – “On the tail” looking around ready for the next adventure

You could take this further with some of these ideas. I’d love to plan a workshop or medium term plan about this book. There are so many options!!

The snail loves to write with his body. You could do other things to do with writing with your body such as writing in huge letters with your arms or feet. You could link this to art and use crayons on their sides to write like the snail, great for fine motor skills!

Saving whales and the ocean in general is a really important current theme. Whilst home schooling children could use persuasive writing to discuss conservation, draw posters about whales or play more dance games around the theme. We also have a blog about conservation in the pipeline so keep an eye out. 

 

An example from TRS South Kent’s Director, Georgie Tedora

For another story that’s well known, you could use The Chronicles of Narnia. As these are novels, they are a lot longer to look at page by page and there are also 7 of them, that’s right 7! So I’ve chosen, not only my favourite, but probably the most well known one: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. This is a wonderful story set in war times and really uses the imagination from not only the writer, but allows the reader to interpret it too.

Like I said, this is more of a novel so I have chosen some key parts to give you some ideas, but feel free to add more!

Starting off with the setting of war time and when children became evacuee’s. There are 4 siblings who are moved away together. For this you could use the simple idea of packing your things, or even the train the children travel on. Remember, it was wartime so the train would have been a steam train, lots of mechanisms and noises. You can really experiment with that.

When the children are in their temporary home, which is quite a large country home, they are playing and exploring the house when Lucy – the youngest sibling – stumbles across a wardrobe. She hides inside and discovers something amazing. The wardrobe is a magical door that leads to a new world called Narnia. You could use lots of ideas here, creating magical worlds to your liking. You may create a world entirely under water, something in out of space, or a snowy kingdom (like Narnia itself).

As I mentioned, Narnia is covered in snow. The White Witch has put the land under a permanent spell to always make it winter. Lots of ‘cold’ movements here. Perhaps even winter games like snowball fights!

The children, unbeknownst to them, are in danger in Narnia. The White Witch has ordered any humans to be captured, anyone who breaks these rules will be turned to stone by the Witch. You can really break down this part, by getting participants to imagine each singular part of the body becoming stone and unable to move. You can also reverse this (which is what happens later in the story! It is a happy ending I promise).

The children meet some more animals in Narnia, but they end up getting chased by a pack of wolves. You can use the idea of a chase, or hunting even searching for this. Or you could use the idea of the wolves fur. Imagining what they feel like, soft? Coarse?

After they have run for a while, they bump into…. Father Christmas! Yep, that’s right. Lots of ways to interpret this part of the story. You could pretend to be Father Christmas. You could use your favourite part of Christmas to move, like decorating the tree or cooking Christmas dinner?

From Father Christmas, the children each receive a special gift to defeat the White Witch. A Magical horn, a bow and arrow, a healing potion, a dagger, a sword and a shield. Lots of images to use here. Stretching the arms to pull the bow and arrow. Swiping motions for the sword and lots more. Really use your imagination to create different moves for the story.

The next part is where the ‘hero’ of the story comes in. Aslan, a beautiful, brave lion who has set up an army to defeat the queen. Each participant could become the lion. Show of their manes. Big strong powerful movements, but graceful at the same time. After all, Aslan should be king.

The Battle! The army takes on the White witch and her army. You can use some army moves (some of the participants may remember the movements). Again, using strong powerful moves. Different ‘weapons’ in battle. Really get involved in the movements here.

Finally, the happy ending! The children and Aslan defeat the witch and in doing so, Aslan undoes the spell the White Witch put on a lot of animals by using his breath so they are no longer stone. As well as this, the seasons go back to normal and the sun comes out with lots of flowers and trees growing. You can imagine yourself being a plant and growing from a seed to enjoy the sunshine.

Those are just a few key parts you can use from the book. But, like I said, there are more and there are also 6 other books! Enjoy dancing the story and let us know how you get on.

 

If you would like us to do more examples for Dance The Tale please let us know and we’ll see what we can do! 

If you would like some more ideas about how to keep moving throughout the day please see our other blog posts.

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home

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Mini Challenges

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The first of our big ideas for passing the time in an active way during Social Distancing… Mini Challenges! 

The big ideas are designed for people at any age, for any ability, but they will need adapting for the people you’re with. So make your space safe, decide what you want to do and enjoy yourself!

Mini Challenges 

Have a competition between residents or family members or do a challenge just for fun! If you want to compete, choose a few of the following, make a points table, carry out the tasks and find your winner!

Wheel Barrows

Who can do the most arm lifts in the wheel barrow? One arm at a time. See our Facebook post for examples and don’t forget to add your own photos, we love to see them.
Wheel Barrows on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therightstepdc
 
 

Describe your day

Think of a word to describe your day and make a gesture (arm movement) to go with it. One person chooses the winner or vote for the winner or placements.
 

Balance Dance

Have one person in the group choreograph a simple motif (short sequence of movement) or use one from on of our videos. Find something for each person to balance on their heads. You could try teaspoons, light books, washing up sponges etc. Everyone repeats the motif whilst attempting to balance the item on their head. The last person with their item balances wins.
 

Animal Races

You need a bit of space for this. Set a start and finish line and race with a different! Do some animal movements instead of running! Here are some ideas from Halling Primary’s Fun Fitness Club and TRS Teacher, Lou. Usually used as part of her warm up they’d be great for this challenge.
 
 
 

Limbo

How low can you go? Can you dance your way under? If you have some lei (flower necklaces) you could put them on too. 
 

Emoji Dance

A partner challenge. One person secretly picks an emoji either randomly or by choice. Do a dance to represent the emoji, but you can’t face your partner. You have to be looking the other way so they can’t see your facial expressions! The other person has to guess which emoji it is and if they’re right, each team member gets a point.

Plank

Who can hold their plank for the longest? The last to fall, wins!
 

Guess the movie 

A partner challenge, so both members will get points if you’re playing in that way. Dance the key moments or themes from a film so that your partner can guess the movie. A bit like Dance The Tale, but for films.
 

Name and Shape

Take it in turns to say your name and strike a pose. Vote for the best or top three and they get the points. We love doing name and shape in dance lessons. It’s totally adaptable to any person and any theme.
 
 
There are a few to get you going. We will add some more so please keep checking back! If you would like some more ideas for how to keep moving whilst your indoors, try our other blogs…
 

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home
 
 
 

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Welly Walk, Welly Dance

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Children love a welly walk. They love to be outside and they love to explore. Why not bring the welly walk into the dance class and extend the fun! Some things to try for schools, pre-schools, nurseries and when at home.

What is a Welly Walk?

A welly walk is basically that, a walk in wellies. Along the walk the children are encouraged to collect things they see. At this time of year that could be leaves, acorns, chestnut cases and other things that have fallen from trees. It often involves some puddle jumping and could include some leaf kicking.

 

Into Dance…

There are lots of opportunities for movement play whilst on the welly walk, but I’ve put together some ideas for in a dance class, continuing the fun and extending the learning. These things can be done with parents at home or with teachers at school.

Collections

Collect things from the welly walk and bring them into the dance class as inspiration or props. A leaf is great for a cool down. Ask children to sit or lay down comfortably, leaf in hand. With calming music on, they can copy you or interpret your direction in their way. You could begin with stroking the arms, don’t forget the elbows. You could do a tickley arm pit or chin. You can twirl the leaf between the fingers. It can be balanced on different body parts. There are lots of things that can be done during cool down.

Link to English

Use the welly walk to encourage the use of different types of descriptive words (float, swish, splash, slide) then choreograph a dance using the words. This is an easy way to help children be more creative with the types of movements they do. For example, if you ask a child to pretend to be a falling leaf it’s likely that they will reach up and then wiggle down to the ground. If you ask them whilst also reminding them of some of the words they’ve thought of, their movements will be very different. They might begin high up, swaying, twitchy, swoop and then get lower as they float, twist, fly and land softly. If you don’t have real leaves, conkers and twigs etc. for this you can get craft leaves that work well throughout the year!

Roots Game

Whilst on a welly walk, roots are great for inspiring movement, especially big gnarly ones that stick up out of the ground. When back inside you can play the roots game and remember what you did. Set up some bases around the space and at each base the task is different. Tasks could be root jumping (like a ski jump over something), root balancing (find something to balance on in a certain position or balance whilst walking along it), root hopping (a row of roots that need to be hopped or hurdled over) etc. This is circuits for dance and with a theme!

Gumboot Dance

Quite a specialist area, we have dance teachers who are trained to deliver authentic classes, but you could take some aspects of this African dance style into the dance class. Put wellies on and dance in them. Use the wellies to inspire stamping, clapping and welly slapping rhythms!

Acorn, leaf, muddy puddle game.

Get some pictures of these things and/or use your voice to announce each thing. Start slowly. Ask the children to improvise around each item, use descriptive words. See my blog about improvisation for more about this. Once they have some movement material for each one, speed up your announcements. A slow breeze to start with then speeding up so they are moving between each one quickly, switching movements fast and getting excited as they go. This idea could be used as a warm up or for a game anytime in the lesson.

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Dance Ideas for PSHE

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As a subject, the content, aims and reasons for PSHE change often. It has changed names multiple times since I was at school and most schools have different approaches to it. However, at it’s core, PSHE in primary schools, generally always covers similar values and subjects.  

PSHE stands for Personal, Social and Health Education. Sometimes it is taught to a whole class in a normal setting or in circle time, sometimes it is taught it small groups. It is also taught all of the time in terms of personal development, values and general knowledge. This means it is an excellent subject for a cross-curricular dance class. Dance also teaches many of the life skills found in PSHE without the teacher having to focus on a particular aspect. For example, team work and friendships are seen in all dance classes.

In this blog I’m going to share a few dance ideas for just a few of the subjects covered by PSHE. These could be put towards a dance class or used as stand alone fun.

Friendship

Dance About You – Put children into partners. Start with someone they know well, you can repeat the task with someone they don’t know at another time. Put a short piece of music on (about 2 minutes, Come on Everybody or Blue Suede Shoes are good) and let the children ask each other questions until they find out a new thing (3 things if able) about each other. Now they work alone for a few minutes to make up a movement or sequence about the new fact(s) they’ve learnt. Share the moves with partners and then the whole class. All the movements or sequences could be strung together and performed by the whole class as a team and this would be nice at the start of the year with a new class or if more togetherness or team building is needed within a class.

Teamwork

The Spider Web – Everyone holds onto the giant elastic in a circle. Teacher says a name and that person moves across the circle. This repeats with dancers going over and under the elastic in different ways until it is a big web. Now they have to undo the web! This is a dance class though so everything needs to be done with an interesting way of moving.

The Mexican Wave – you don’t just have to do this the traditional way, other movements can be performed in a similar way and in dance we call this is cannon.

Country Dancing – As a whole dance style, country dancing is great for teamwork. A do-si-do (moving back to back around your partner) is a well known example. A Grand Chain (Holding hands) or Weave The Ring (Not holding hands) are excellent whole class team work based country dance elements that could be used in a dance or as an exercise. All stand in a circle face your partner next to you, holding right hand. Move past your partner and towards the next person and hold left hands. Keep passing holding right then left hands as you go.

Trust

There are a lot of dance and drama trust exercises such as trust falls and trust walks and they are well documented. The following idea is just for dance though and it is also great for teamwork.

Trust Motif Development – teach a simple motif or allow the dancers to choreograph one. It must all be standing up. Once they’ve learnt the motif they have to partner up and choose a prop. Things that work well are solid, about half a metre in length and are not heavy. For example, scarves or giant pipe cleaners. To simplify, the teacher can give everyone the same prop. The partners hold the prop between them and have to perform the motif again, but with the prop connecting them. The motif might develop in various ways, it might be slowed down or one person might use the opposite side of the body, for example. To make things more exciting, the partners could unknowingly choose how to hold the prop. They choose from the options hand or foot, face front or face back and right or left. Then, once the teacher has explained, they hold the prop between them. For example, hand, facing each other, left hands.

Confidence and Honesty

Telling the truth is often about having self confidence and that’s why I’ve put these two together. It’s also about how truth and lies feel to other people. It is quite a concept to grasp and from around Year 2 as it becomes more complicated than just, telling the truth is the right thing to do. You could use a story to support learning around telling the truth and use a cross-curricular approach in the dance class. The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig or, of course, the very famous, Pinnochio might be helpful

Peer feedback is good way to encourage positive, helpful, constructive truth telling. Ask for Nice and Helpful feedback, You did this and now you could try…

To encourage confidence in dance class I try to find an opportunity for every young dance to do a movement or shape on their own near the start of class. This could be during the register or part of name and shape. It’s important thay there is a ‘way out’ if they don’t know what to do. This could be by copying someone else’s idea or the teacher using whatever position they’re standing in as their shape or a move such as a shoulder shrug or head shake if they have indicated they don’t know what to do in this way. Either way, they have taken part and got through it.

Respect and Anti Bullying

Your Daily Dance has lists of music by theme, including one for songs about bullying. Appropriate versions would need to be sought for many of the song, but the list is a very useful starting point.  https://www.yourdailydance.com/songs-about-bullying/

Greetings Warm Up with a difference – Everyone walks around the space and, when teacher calls a number or colour, or holds up a sign or makes an instrument noise (there are lots of options!), they perform an action. Here are some examples.

– High five the nearest person
– Hand shake with the nearest person
– Fold arms and stop in front of the nearest person then turn away
– Stand in front of the nearest person with your arms and legs out stretched (open and vulnerable)
– Loop arms, link together

Afterwards, talk about how the actions made you feel. Progress this further in other lessons by asking the dancers for their own ideas, perhaps focusing on things that make them happy or things they think will make others happy.

 

I’ve just scratched the surface of how dance and pshe go hand in hand. Other aspects such as Golden Rules, worry and internet safety could all be explored using a cross-curricular approach and the things I have covered could be part of a lesson or scheme of work. As always with our work in Educating Dance, the options are endless!

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Dance Ideas for New Friends

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This month we’re focusing on friendship, new things and social inclusion so I had a conversation with the TRS Teachers about their ideas. Dance is a fantastic medium for making friends and learning about social interactions. 

It’s September and the schools are back, the children in our classes are meeting new people in their new classes and it’s a new school year, but we’ve talked about all classes for this blog, including Active Armchairs, because the social aspects of dance are present everywhere!

The TRS Teachers have shared lots of ideas for dancing around these themes below. I’ll also be writing a blog post about PSHE towards the end of the month and this will relate as well.
 

Meet and Greet Ideas…

Rebecca
Name and shape is a fantastic introduction game. It’s an old favourite that I first played when volunteering at Magpie Dance Company ten years ago! It works with any age, any ability and pretty much any theme! Its great for us dance teachers to learn names and to give all participants a chance to be in the spotlight if they want to.
 

How to play:
Everyone stands in a circle. Teacher explains that we are going to take it in turns to say our name and make a shape or do a little movement. Then everyone will copy the shape or movement and say the name back. As you go around each person can pass the turn onto the next person by gesturing that it is their go.
 
 
Georgia
“I like doing ‘Meet and Move’ we have selected movements and then travel around the space, when the teach shouts meet you find a friend (A different partner each time) and do the movement together and then continue. I have done this as part of a warm up where when we meet we circle a different body part starting from our head and then working towards our toes! By the end you will have danced with around 6 different people! for younger ones to make this clearer it can be when the music stops that you ‘meet’ with a friend to do the moments.”
 

Social Inclusion, how we can encourage it…

Steph
“I’ve been using the theme of holidays recently in Active Armchairs which has lead to some brilliant conversations and connections between participants. We have been sharing memories of places we have lived or visited, which has connected many people in conversation as they had visited the same place! It’s so interesting to hear how people have moved around in their lives, and lead to lots of revelations between the participants as they released that perhaps they might have even crossed paths before!”
 
Rebecca
Props are a brilliant way to include everyone in a session. I had a magic moment in Active Armchairs at Valley View Nursing Home and always share it with trainee facilitators…
 

“One lady has her table that when chooses to always sit at. The layout of the home means that she’s close enough to the seating area to see the tv and be involved with my sessions, but she is still comfortable at her table. She always sings and joins in with arms movements even though she isn’t in the circle. This is nice, but I thought she might enjoy it more and feel included if she joined our circle so I thought of some ideas. The prop that worked best was the giant elastic. I had excellent support from Dee the Activities Co-ordinator so we were able to work together. I laid the elastic out before the start and went to chat to the participant. I explain what we were going to do and asked if she would like to join us. Luckily she did and Dee helped move her to the main circle. It was a fantastic class and a real turning point.”
 

Jess

Parachutes are such a sociable prop. Call a colour and the participant runs underneath and swops places with someone else. Yoy could adapt to include a high five under the parachute.
 
Our ideas for the best props for social inclusion…
Giant elastic
Huge piece of lycra
Big balloons or beach balls
Knotted scarves
Feathers used for mirroring
Shakers for call and response
Parachute
 

Exploring Friendship…

Becca T
A nice dance idea is people bring an item to share or the teacher brings a small selection. E.g stone, feather, cube. The dancers explore the texture/shape/pathway/feeling of the item to make their own phrase. Progress: partner up and combine 2 items. Suitable for all ages and abilities.
 
Steph
I covered the theme of Friendship last term in schools. We discussed what we felt made a good friend, and then used those ideas to create movements. We made sure we danced with people in class that perhaps we didn’t know very well or were in different year groups and kept swapping partners throughout the dance. There were lots of brilliant buzz words like ‘supportive’ and ‘caring’ which lead to some lovely trust and support movements. Then together we put all of this together into a dance to ‘You’ve got a friend in me’ from Toy Story.
 

 

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Inspiration April

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This months our social media focus is Inspiration. We’re going along the lines of April, new and inspiring things! With this in mind, we thought we’d share what inspiration we use to plan some of our dance classes and Georgie has written a blog about it. It’s just a little introduction to the many things the TRS Teachers get up to, but it might be helpful when planning a dance lesson. Enjoy!

Written by Georgie, Manager of TRS South Kent

There are so many things you can use for your inspiration for dance classes, from the style of dance to the class topic of the term. Here at TRS we follow guidelines to help us both in our Educating Dance classes as well as our usual dance clubs.

 

You can start with the learning styles to develop your inspiration for your class. These include auditory, visual, kinesthetic (practical/learn by doing) and read write. This will help the dance teacher appeal to all pupils and their various learning styles. We also explore social inspiration and tactile inspiration alongside this. 

Visual is a popular one to use in our classes by our TRS facilitators. Using images throughout the lessons allows those who are visual learners to really grasp the idea. You can use images such as the stages of growth for a plant, the water cycle as well as lots more. Also using videos from online can be very useful and participants respond well to them.

 

For auditory inspiration you can use music, perhaps a particular song that you like or think that the participants will respond well too. Sounds like rain forest, the sea etc. would also work or you can even use some of the participants to create the sounds for the dance, using instruments, instruments they’ve made themselves or body parts like in Gumboot Dancing (photo on the right).

Tactile can be very exciting to use as inspiration, especially for younger ones. You can use different materials and express how they feel through movement, furry, shiny, slimy, rugged, squishy and so on. You can also bring in objects for the participants to explore and study like historical artefacts. Props are also used in many TRS classes and can come in all shapes and sizes, whether you buy pompoms or make your own jingle sticks, these are a great to get everyone involved. A TRS favourite is our tactile scarf. It is made from lots of different materials all tied together to make one giant scarf.

There are also a lot of practical ways to find inspiration for your dance class. These are experienced things so they are often things that are experienced elsewhere and brought into class in other ways such as current events. Fireworks (the bonfire flames in the photo on the left) is a fun theme. You may want to use certain holidays like Easter or even what’s happening around us now. For example, when The Greatest Showman came out everyone was so inspired and excited to use the ideas and music.

Styles of dance can be used as inspiration, you maybe looking at a world theme and you could explore different types of dance from around the world such as Latin, line dancing or Bollywood. Practical inspiration can be as closed or open as you want it to be when using it in your lessons or for your inspiration and it can be shown through other sorts of inspiration that is auditory, visual or tactile. 

Book Week is a great opportunity for us to use read/write inspiration. Books are always a useful tool.

Other ways to find inspiration can include things like focusing on a particular area you want to develop with your participants, for example motor skills, balance or extension. 

So as you can see there are so many ways to find inspiration for your dance class. You can also use a combination of these ideas, especially the learning styles as that way you can ensure that all your participants are gaining from the lesson. TRS teachers will always use a combination in their lessons. Start off with a focus and then you can extend and explore further.

We also love hearing your ideas at TRS, they inspire and challenge us as teachers and that always makes our classes interesting and enjoyable.

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