Categotry Archives: Schools

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 – Families at Home

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With so many families stuck at home we thought we’d share ideas about how you can do movement activities throughout the day. Parents are doing a fantastic job home schooling and brain breaks are really important when learning. Also, young children learn really well whilst moving, just see our Educating Dance blogs to find out more.

Many children, and adults, are doing morning PE (us included!). This blog isn’t really designed for that, we will share some excellent PE session links soon though. This blog is about little moments of activity throughout the day for fun and for bonding.

A Little Boogie

Some of the TRS Teachers have been filming themselves dancing our participant’s favourites. Georgie has filmed I Love Rock and Roll to start with and there will be others soon. Participants from some of her dance clubs will recognise them so maybe they could teach the people they live with!

You can find the videos on our Youtube channel, therightstepdc and we have created a playlist called Everybody Moving or click on this link… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=381I6FzN7N8&list=PLVZOGYX_NfRnJ7BIb7zLlu6AkxihRbulB

Have a flick through to see what you can find. 

Paint a Dance

get a piece of paper, any size, and drop some random blobs of paint on it in lots of different colours. Play some inspirational music and let your body dance to move the blobs. This could be done with fingers and hands, feet or a paint brush! Maybe you could do a huge table sized family one?

Follow The Leader

Play some music and follow the leader. Everyone in the household has to copy the leader exactly. This could be a great way to sneakily get some chores done. You could use props too. We’ll be getting a list of props we have at home out soon!

Disco Dress Up

Find sparkly clothes, accessories and wigs. Use whatever you can find. Put the disco music on, turn it up and have a family disco!

Trigger Word

This one gives the adults some power! Think of a trigger word and choose a movement such as an octopus wiggle or freeze shape such as a star (arms and legs out). Whenever the trigger word is shouted throughout the day, the children have to do the movement or freeze shape. You could also do a run to the nearest wall when the trigger word is shouted.

Air Guitar

Put on some classic rock and air guitar your hearts out.

Make a Shape

Choose a shape announcer or take turns. Say a shape and see how you can make that shape with your body. Try using your whole body, not just your hands. We’d love to see them so please share your ideas.

Material Fun

You need a quite a large piece of material that you can hold onto such as a single bed sheet or large towel and a small ball, or a few balls. Each hold a bit of the material, put the balls on and see if you can keep them there. Balfour Infants School demonstrate in the photo.

Adapt an Action Song

Choose a fun action song like the Cha cha slide or YMCA. The challenge is to change some of the movements to make your family’s own actions!

Dance Game

Not strictly all about moving, but a really fun idea. Older children could design a dance board game for the family to do. Forfeits must be dance related. Our mini challenges blog might be inspiring. 

Just a few ideas. We will add more so keep an eye out. You can also read more on our other blog posts.

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Props

 

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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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Book Week 2020

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Thank you Georgie for compiling this blog post…

This year we had lots of wonderful Book Week sessions. We went back to schools we’ve been to before such as Halling Primary and Balfour Infants, but we also got to go to new schools to, like Rosherville Primary and Palace Wood Primary School. The TRS teachers has some wonderful lessons and they wanted to share their experiences with you, so here you go….

 

Rebecca Ashton – Company Director

“I opened The Whale by Vita and Ethan Murrow expecting to read it before planning my dance lessons, but was surprised to find out that it was a picture book! A really beautiful picture book. The artists have done an amazing job and I was excited to find lots of inspiration for the workshops with Year 4 at Palace Wood.

I already knew some of the dancers from dance club and it was lovely to see how excited they were to do dance during school time. We started off with a warm up about the things that are negatively affecting whales. 6 out of the 13 great whale species are endangered and it’s no surprise when you look into what their up against. We had a movement for each item such as frantically trying to get out when ‘Entangled’ in a net or doing stretches that cover your ears for ‘Noise Pollution’.

Next we did some improvisation and I was so impressed with how everyone did. Although many were shy to start with, once they got into it, they surprised themselves and were very inventive.

The choreographic task was about teamwork and the senses the two children in the book used to find the whale. They had to include certain things such as balances as starting positions and a movement to represent each sense, except taste (we laughed that we wouldn’t be tasting the whale!). For one class I asked them to do this in groups and for the second I asked them to work in pairs or threes. It was interesting to see the difference, they all did really really well and every single dance was very different.

They showed each other the dances and gave each other thumbs up to show they enjoyed watching.

To finish we had cool down. We made a long whale shape out of partner arches down the middle of the room. I led the class under the arches and we did a follow the leader cool down that finished in a line near the door.

The groups did really really well. We only had an hour for each, but if they wanted to, they could extend the dances and create a class dance using the movements from warm up to create a motif, the improvisation section to lead into their group work and their traveling movements to get into the cool down whale shape as an ending position. There are a lot of ideas that could be used for dance in The Whale!

I’d like to say well done to all of the year 4s. They did fantastically, I had a wonderful time and I hope to see them all again soon.”

 

Georgie Tedora – Level 3 TRS teacher and Educating Dance Facilitator

I have been going to Halling Primary School for dance clubs and events for some time now so when the opportunity for a Book Week session came up I jumped at the chance! Especially as their theme was ‘Fantasia – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ which is one of my favourite stories.

We started off with a simple 4 corners type warm up. Each corner had a different magical move to go along with the story. The students got really involved and made such big movements that they were very warmed up afterwards!

I then taught them a choreographed piece using the three main characters – The Sorcerer, the apprentice (in this case Mickey Mouse) and the broomstick. I taught the whole class the routine, which told the story and then they decided what part they wanted to play. We then had 3 groups and we put the entire dance together. They did amazingly, really getting into the characters and performing!

Lastly, we did a creative task in pairs. They chose who was ‘A’ and who was ‘B’ and had to take turns mirroring each other and being the leader. After some experimenting with movements, I then told them they had to decided who was the apprentice and who was the broom. They  choreographed short dances showing the apprentice teaching the broom what to do, and then the broom misbehaving and not being a very good ‘human’. The participants got really involved and there were so many wonderful ideas. Each duet was completely different and definitely sparked more ideas for me in the future!

I always enjoy my time at Halling Primary, but this time I was blown away by their enthusiasm and ideas. Thank you for having me!

 

Jess Smith – Level 2 TRS Teacher and Educating Dance Teacher

Balfour Infants Year 2 – The Owl Who Was Afraid of The Dark

While at Balfour Infants we explored explosive movements to mimic fireworks and the movements of an owl. We had a discussion and practice of the different movements an owl would do. We started our owl movements with waking up, working together to stretch and practice our flight movements ready for our big jump down to the fireworks.

In groups we used different props to explore firework movements, we had egg shakers, scarves and liquid gold.

There were some great creative ideas when it came to creating the groups’ firework pieces, well done!

Balfour Infants Year R – Pirates

A day in the life of a pirate!

We worked together to choreograph our day, this included raising the mast, climbing to the lookout point with our telescope and treasure maps, using our canons to shoot down other pirate ships, fighting off the enemy with a sword fight, and hunting and digging for buried treasure.

There was a masking tape outline of a boat on the floor (and an X to mark the spot of buried treasure) to assist us with our positioning and activities for the day in the life of a pirate.

This worked really well as it helped with a visual representation of the tasks.

We had time in the class for the dancers to create their own day using the movements we had done already.

This led to some great exploring and imagination from everyone. Well done!

 

Rosherville Primary Years 4/5, 5 and 6 – Where the Wild Things Are

While at Rosherville we made our own journey to the Wild Things using exploration and imagination.

We rowed our boat, made our way through the forest by swinging on vines, getting ourselves out of mud and swimming through a lake.

In groups we created our own ‘rumpus’ using movements we had already done in the warm up and throughout the session, then headed back to our room by making our way back through the forest.

This was my first time at Rosherville Primary School and I was very impressed with the creativity and imagination from all year groups. Good job everyone!”

 

Louise Spearing – Level 2 TRS teacher and Educating Dance Teacher

This Book Week I explored the story of ‘The Lost and Found’ by Oliver Jeffs. Making the story come alive and taking the children into the book through movement. The adventure was set out by different sections around the room including an outline of a boat and magical snowball game corner. The children were able to engage with the book physically.

We built the boat on the floor and rose higher to make the side Then we moved our arms up and down and across the midline to ‘paint the boat’. In a seated line they rowed ‘the boat’ through calm and choppy oceans exploring fast and slow dynamics to the south pole. Arriving at the south pole, they were wobbling about, skating, swimming and belly sliding.

We did a Magical snowball competition to see who could collect the most snowballs. They had to put a scrunched-up scarf under their chins, waddle to the hoop and place it down until all snowballs were gone. 

At the end of the session, I asked the children to create a little bit of movement to show their favourite part of the adventure, which they performed in front of the class. All year 1 were really engaged and creative when it came to group work. Well done!

 

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Contemporary and Robots

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Written by Georgie, Director of TRS South Kent and Level Three TRS Teacher

After an amazing first term at Singlewell Primary last time, I was so excited to get back to it this term. And, well this term has been a bit of a rollercoaster! I had two very different dances to teach this term, Contemporary and Waltz. Contemporary was for year 1 and Waltz was with year 4.

Contemporary, for those of you who know, can be a difficult dance style to learn and has a huge variety of styles within itself. For year 1, I didn’t want to focus solely on technique as this would have been difficult to get within 5 weeks, but I did use that for warm ups. I started with a roll down to get their bodies moving and learning about the spine and how everything connects with it. They really grasped this and I was so impressed. I then did a ‘swing’ exercise. I told the participants the swing was my favourite at the park, and most agreed. We pretended to be the swings at the park, using different ways of swinging… with our backs, our arms and even our legs! We then did a bit of improvisation with floor work. I gave examples of how to move from one end of the room to the other, but only using the floor. They had to stay below a certain level and they absolutely loved this! They had such creative, expressive ideas that I even learnt a few more moves.

Our theme for our dance was emotions. I know lots of children learn this in schools and I wanted them to express themselves as much as possible in the dance, so I thought emotions would be a great way to do this. I chose the song ‘This is me’ from The Greatest Showman, as I hoped a lot of them would already know this and the lyrics to the song really suited this idea. Over the weeks I taught them the dance and we used 5 different emotions. We started off sad, then used: scared, disgust, anger and finally joy. With these students being year 1, I used images from the Disney film ‘Inside Out’ which helped them to understand each emotion better. They performed the routine amazingly and really got into character. Both the teacher and I loved watching their final performance.

They also got to be creative in groups. I split them into 5 groups and gave each group a different emotion. When they first started there was a lot of talking and sounds as well as being very literal in their movement. This was to be expected. However, by the last week, all talking was gone and they really thought outside the box to use movements to express their given emotion.

Year 1 worked so hard this term and I was so impressed by them! Well done all of you!

My next session at Singlewell Primary was with year 4’s. I was a bit nervous as I had been given the Waltz to teach them, and that age group would possibly not like the idea. However when I spoke to the teacher on the first day, she wasn’t happy with that idea either. I asked what they were doing in class and she mentioned The Iron Giant… which just so happened to be one of my favourite films growing up! I quickly developed a plan on the spot for that lesson and then later revised the ideas to come up with a medium term plan from the next week, and here’s what it was…

I started off with a simple warm up, using the idea of robotic moves. In each corner was a different specific movement and they had to walk around the room in different ways until I clapped my hands, when they would go to a corner and do that move. We had robot turns, robots running out of battery, ‘Iron Man’ style flying jumps and old school robot dancing.

Next was a teacher led part, an additional warm up focusing on very sharp movements, mainly involving right angles. I also used a bit of ‘tutting’ from street dance which the group grasped really well, but they soon realised how tiring it could be!

I then started to teach them their dance. Which involved a lot of robotic movements and canons. We were using the idea of restarting a faulty robot. So, one minute they would be really strong and the next they would flop and need rebooting. Dynamics soon became apparent and they really got the idea of this and enjoyed going from one part to another.  

Over the weeks they also worked in pairs, creating their own version of the story – The Iron Giant. One of them would be the robot, and the other the small boy who helps him on his journey. I wanted the class to show the difference in the way each could move. For example, a robot would be really stiff and a human would be able to flow a lot better. Before I even mentioned this to the class, the majority had already picked up on this idea which was fantastic! Once they had choreographed the first part, I then told them to switch roles. Within their dance they each came up with a creative way to transition and show the change between them.

By the time we were showing the routines, I couldn’t believe the support they showed one another and even those who weren’t so keen to begin with really enjoyed themselves and came up with some great ideas! I really enjoyed watching this group progress further week by week. Well done year 4!

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Egyptian and Charlston

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Written by Georgie, Level Three TRS Teacher and Educating Dance Teacher

This was my first term at Singlewell Primary. I had heard lots of wonderful things from previous teachers and was excited to go, even more so when I found out the two themes for this term; Egyptian and Charleston! What a great way to rekindle my Educating Dance sessions than with two of my favourites!

Year 3 were doing Ancient Egypt in their lessons so they went for some Egyptian dance. I chose not to focus on ‘up-to-date’ Egyptian dancing, as this is mainly belly dancing and not my forte. However, I was very excited to introduce them to Ancient Egyptian dancing.

Firstly we discussed Egyptian Gods, I gave each corner a God, explained key parts and together we came up for movements. We had Ra; the God of the Sun, and we created a huge sunshine movement. Then we had Horus; God of the sky, who looked like a bird, so we did huge wings. We also had Hathor; the Goddess of love, we gave ourselves a hug. Finally Bastet; a feline creature, where we acted like cats, very proud showing off our coat. I loved seeing the ideas they created. Each week I would test them on names and meanings and the class got better and better each time!

We then worked in groups, I asked a student from each group to close their eyes and pick out a God. We had; Osiris, Ra, Hathor, Seth, Nut and Bastet. The groups each came up with a starting pose to do with their Gods, either with they way the looked or their God traits. Each group was so different it created a wonderful scene for the start of our dance.

The next task was done individually. I gave them the alphabet in Hieroglyphics and asked them to dance out their names. Some of them found this quite difficult as they had longer names! I also did it myself which was fun.

For the starter for this group we created a giant Pyramid (not all climbing on top of one another though!) We used different levels in lines and finished with tiptoes and points to make the top. Each week I challenged them to come into the classroom and make their pyramid before the music ran out.

We then learnt our dance to ‘walk like an Egyptian’. The class really liked this and they had so much focus when learning it. I also included a bit of ‘tutting’ as they use Egyptian like moves in this. The class enjoyed the modern spin that I put on that. The final part of the dance was done in pairs, they had to create strong Egyptian moves using ‘opposites’ as the theme. The class grasped this very well.

The last couple of weeks we put it altogether. Starting with our Gods, then creating a wall of Hieroglyphics at the back of the room. They then came forward and performed their names. Finishing with the walk like an Egyptian dance.

The last week I split them into two groups as we performed them to one another. It was great to see the progression and how much they had developed. It was a lovely start to my time at Singlewell!

 

Year 2 had Charleston for their subject, I was very excited about this. To start with I went over some very basic steps, as the full Charleston is a difficult one! We started with diagonal jumps, twists, flick kicks and crazy knees. This was their warm up, they would walk around in ‘Jazzy’ ways and when I tapped the tambourine they would go to the nearest corner and perform that move. This was a great way to introduce the style to them and they picked these movements up so quickly I was very impressed!

We then came to the centre and worked on the moves a bit more thoroughly, repeating move after move and then finishing with a simple Charleston. I started saying ‘step forward, step back’ and by the end of the 6 weeks they were all saying it too!

For the next few weeks I wanted them to create a ‘Speakeasy’ as their starter so, they would come into the classroom and, as quickly as they could, get into the position to hold it. We have the band, performers, audience and bar workers. They all created their own position, but it worked so well when you put it altogether. I couldn’t believe how well they remembered it the first week and by week 6 they managed to do this in just 15 seconds! I think that’s the best yet!

We then started our routine, which included all of the other steps as well as some partner work. It was great to see the development over the weeks, of how well they could remember the dance, as well as all of the moves. By the end they were facing their partners and going back and forth doing the Charleston. Definitely a proud teacher moment right there!

To finish the dance I had them get into smaller groups and put their own ‘mini’ dance together. However, the class did this so quickly, I had to give them a range of developments on the spot! Firstly, I asked them to create different patterns and positions to dance in. Some used triangles, others used lines and swapped through each other too. I then gave them the idea of using different levels, we had groups holding hands and turning on the floor! It opened up my imagination seeing all these wonderful moves.

By week 6 the class were complete professionals. I split them in half so we could do a show. It was lovely to see the support for one another and I really enjoyed seeing the outcome. They  were all so focused and worked so hard that I gave everyone a sticker at the end!

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December Shows

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This year there have been lots of festive performances and the TRS Teachers wanted to share the fun with you. Even if there wasn’t a show to friends and family, there will have been performances to peers within dance club. We love a show and a performance opportunity is essential to a dance class. So congratulations to every participant in our lessons who has performed this term. I know of at least 10 schools so far. Here are some words from the TRS Teachers and I about just a few. 

Palace Wood Primary School

Rebecca – I’ve been working with KS2 Creative Dance Club at Palace Wood Primary School since September. The theme has been The Lion King and we’ve looked at ideas from the films and the stage musical. By the show we had three pieces of music put together to make quite a lengthy dance. We even added Rocking Around The Christmas to the end and gave it a festive finish! 

We began with Timon and Puma. It was September so we explored friendships and greetings. The dancers, in pairs, used movements I choreographed for warm up as well as some of their own. Alongside this the group choreographed a dance altogether. They danced with feathers and movements were inspired by Zazu, a bird. Later in the term I showed the dancers a short video about how the dancers in the musical move like lions. They worked in groups, their prides, and choreographed dances as lions. Then, in the last ten minutes of the week before the show, we very quickly threw some moves together and danced to Rocking Around The Christmas Tree. By this point they were excellent at choreography and thought of some brilliant movements very quickly.

They were so fantastic in performance. Very professional, they concentrated, counted and smiled. The audience were really impressed and we were all very proud. Well done KS2!

Here’s a little clip of photos and videos from the final rehearsal and performance.

St William of Perth Primary School

Jess – The 19 performers at St William Of Perth performed their two dances in front of their school in an early morning assembly. For most of the group it was the first time they’ve performed, with more never having danced before. It was a very nerve racking experience but each dancer performed amazingly.

At the start of this term we were working on Rainforest animals, from tree frogs and snakes to tigers and sloths. We spent time learning how each animal moves and learning from each other, picking up ideas and exploring new movements. The class were separated into two groups who were given a small number of animals to explore the movements with. This allowed each dancer to work on their creativity, learn from their peers and gather new ideas.

A week before the performance we started a new winter theme, our song was “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let us snow!”. The dancers created the whole dance by listening to the lyrics and finding movements to suit. This allowed the dancers who were usually shy to have a big input, feel a sense of accomplishment and own part of the dance that was being performed by everyone. It was during this week, the dancers expressed an interest in performing their routines.

Performance week arrived. As the news of the performance was delivered, a sense of nervousness overcame a lot of the younger dancers, however with the encourage and support of the older dancers, everyone pulled through and performed together.

I am so proud of every single one of those dancers who overcame their nerves to perform two dance routines to their peers and class friends. Everyone did brilliantly. Well done.

Byron Primary School

Steph has been working at Byron Primary for many years now. Their club isn’t at a time that is good to invite friends and family in so they can be an audience, but this didn’t stop them! They did a video show and here is the fantastic result!

So a big well done to everyone, you were fantastic! 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Six Weeks at Greenfields

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This year we were invited back to Greenfields Community Primary School for their dance sessions. Georgie and Lou went along to work with every pupil for six weeks and the dances will be taken to competitions by the pupils who want to take dance from curricular to extra curricular. The choreography is excellent and we can’t wait to see where the pupils take it!

Written by Georgie…

This year I was really grateful to have the opportunity to go back to teach at Greenfields. They were amazing last year and I couldn’t wait to see what this year would bring. I not only had the joy of teaching years 5&6 again, but I also got to teach years 3&4 too!

I was really excited for my themes again this year, I did ‘Space Jam’ with years 3&4 and ‘Superheroes’ with years 5&6. Both sets of participants got really excited and into the theme which was great!

With ‘Space Jam’ I first got them into groups and asked them to create giant alien shapes in their groups. We had so much fun coming up with ideas, like antenna, how many legs, and of course alien faces! The dance started off with the music ‘Men in Black’ by Will Smith, so the dancers were acting really cool and slick like they were protectors of humans in case of aliens. One movement I put in the dance, as the music transitioned, was the break dance move, the helicopter (some call it coffee grinder), which can be quite a tricky move, but the students picked it up so quickly! I was really impressed. Then the music picked up as we went into ‘Space Jam’ and we had some really upbeat movements as we partied with some aliens!  Again, with some complex moves in there, but they all got it by the end and it was great to see their faces once they had got the moves. The music then reverted back to the Men in Black and they became cool and collected ready for the finish. They all did so well to learn a 3 and a half minute dance in just 6 weeks. I loved their enthusiasm and they came in each week really eager and excited which made it even better for me as a teacher. I really hope they do well in the competitions as they worked so hard and it looks fantastic!

I taught most of years 5&6 last year and it was so nice when they came running in saying ‘Yay!’ and ‘I hoped it would be you again!’ with some even saying they still remember the dance from last year (definitely a proud teacher moment!). When I told them their theme, Superheroes, they were even more excited! Last year I remembered them being so talented and definitely up for a challenge, so I went even further this year.

Again, I split them into their house groups and based the Superheroes on their house colours. So we had reds as Iron Man, yellows were Wolverine, greens were the Hulk and blues were Spiderman! Their dance was a mash up of songs, so it was also a mix of dance styles. We had street, contemporary, lyrical and jazz. We used the avengers theme throughout the dance and then filled it in with; Snap – I’ve got the power, Kanye West – Stronger, Alesso – Heroes and Little Mix – Power.

I didn’t tell them the songs, so when we got to that part of the dance it was a surprise for them and they really enjoyed that. Each week they came back even better than the week before. I even managed to put it a lift. I was so impressed by their behavior with such a risky task. Each class all worked so hard, and I was so impressed with how quickly they picked up the moves. By the end the dance looked like it was being performed by professionals! They were all getting really into character and really performing. It was a bittersweet end for this year group as a lot of them realised they wouldn’t be there if I came back again next year. So the year 6’s all came up and gave me a hug. I wished them all them best, and told them all to continue dancing as they were all so amazing!

Lastly I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Greenfields and especially Wendy Ball for allowing me to come in and teach these wonderful students. It’s a great build up to Christmas and I wish them all the best and good luck in their competitions!

 

Written by Lou…

This term was our 6 weeks of dancing at Greenfields primary school. Working with years 1&2, I choreographed a dance with the theme of power and strength to the song Roar by Katy Perry.

Throughout the 6 weeks we explored the idea of confidence and independence. This was achieved through the warm up where the children would improvise dance moves to travel across the space by themselves. As the weeks progressed the dancers had become more confident in traveling across the space.

We also explored working in teams on different themes of Hero, Bees and Butterfly; allowing the groups to work as a team to create a short motif. I rotated the creative task so everyone could explore each theme, it was inspiring to see how each group interpreted the themes. Also, I taught the choreography week by week, introducing new sections each time.

Using the lyrics from the song I created movement that used different levels and showed the idea of being pushed down and jumping back up. In the second week we explored formations of two teams facing each other, repeating parts the chorus in a questions and answer structure, like a dance off. In the third and fourth week we worked on changing of directions and spacing. This was allowing them to work harder on their coordination and special awareness by creating different facing and altering the choreographer.

In the final weeks we worked on refining and performing the dance. All he classes remembered and put their all into the choreography. They all had so much enthusiasm and energy throughout the whole six weeks.

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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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