This summer l’ve been training five new Educating Dance teachers to deliver curricular and cross-curricular PE lessons in primary schools across Kent. It’s been a lot of fun, as you can see from the photos, but we’ve also all come to the conclusion that lessons like this would have taught us so much in school.

Below I’ve written a little about the process, included cross-curricular ideas for school staff to try in their settings and shared the fun we had along the way!

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As with all of the TRS Training, this course went into detail… we were face to face for two days and worked remotely for another. The first and third days were face to face and this meant we could do lots of practical activities and learn in a creative, kinesthetic way, much like our pupils do in lessons.

On the first day I shared the ‘Cross-curricular Flow Chart’. This is something I developed many years ago with fellow dance artist, Sophie Fuller, when we were asked to train some teachers in order to improve their dance provision. It was so successful that we now deliver this approach across Kent to school staff and TRS Teachers.

Whilst sharing the flow chart I also shared ideas and experiences from over the years. They also got to read a huge range of term and lesson plans from topics such as Egypt: Recipe for a Mummy, Forces and Magnets, Rocking Through The Stone Age, Music Through Time with Doctor Who, Opposites and Paleontology: Dancing Dinosaurs and many more. This was a day of discovery and inspiration.

“I liked the amount of creativity and variety in the use of props that we could use at various points within a lesson. It was fantastic to share ideas between us and gain inspiration. I was surprised how any subject or topic can be taken completely out of the box to enrich the learning of children. I can’t wait to get into schools to implement and try out all the wonderful ideas I’ve seen and experienced… to see the children’s’ faces learning through dance.”

Next was our online session. This was the first time we’ve had a remote element to this course and I’d replanned the entire thing to shift all the elements around for it. It worked really well for many reasons. This day was about the curriculum frameworks (we work with two) as well as Take Your Plan and Make It Better. Looking at things like integrating ourselves into the school, differentiation and supporting staff with evidencing.

“I enjoyed trying out the variety of starters from Rebecca’s previous lesson plans and gathering a wide variety of ideas. It was surprising that any curriculum topic can be taken and turned into a fun and educational dance lesson with creative thinking. Creating my first Educating Dance lessons and helping all types of learners to gain knowledge and enjoyment from a topic they may have struggled with before is what I’m looking forward to most.”

Of course, there was homework, there always is on these courses! There were reading tasks, but the main piece was to plan an MTP and a lesson which was then shared on the final day. The trainees got so stuck into this. They picked the topics and year groups by chance from my box and they’d chosen The Water Cycle, Living Things and Their Habitats, Life Cycles, The Stone Age and, our favourite challenge, Bar Charts and Line Graphs.

“I really liked the playfulness and creativity of the activities presented for us as ideas that we could use. Good choice of music can turn a good activity into a fantastic activity that transports you into a world of imagination. I’m looking forward to fuelling imaginations.” Georgina

So how on earth do you teach Bar Charts and Line Graphs in a dance lesson? This is the type of challenge we love to sink our teeth into and Lara did really well with this… Bar Charts and Line Graphs in Mario’s World. Linking with Mario Bros made the topic interesting and current. We did a starter and warm up involving the power ups and collecting data using coloured egg shakers. Lara made it so that we didn’t have to know much about the game, we could still learn and have fun. By the end of the lesson there was a large masking taped bar chart on the floor and we’d learn lots of keywords such as horizontal, vertical, right angle, axis, data, plot etc. By the end of term they class would have choreographed a dance that brought the Mario Bros world to life in bar charts and line graphs. If was a really inspiring way to approach it.

“I liked getting a snippet of everyone’s lesson plan and getting an insight into all the different creative ways of thinking that can be implemented into cross-curricular activities. The creative ideas I had myself surprised me. Sometimes I don’t find creative ideas easy to come up with, but this training really helped me approach ideas with a new angle and inspiration. I’m looking forward to putting this training into practice, exploring new ideas and how it impacts students’ learning experience.” Lara

This group are so committed to creativity and imaginative in their approach. I cant wait to see the cross-curricular dance lessons they plan for schools in Kent now they’re ready. Here’s to making learning fun, bringing learning into the PE lesson and appealing to different learning styles! We love it!

“I most enjoyed the practical elements of the training whereby we all shared ideas in a completely supportive environment. I was most surprised that you can literally make a dance lesson out of the most obscure curriculum topics. I’m looking forward to implementing my new found knowledge within the school environment and watching the learning that will take place. I also am looking forward to seeing how different learning styles will benefit from our cross-curricular dance lessons.” Kirstie