Tag Archives: cross-curricular

Medieval Castles

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This term I’ve been working with Year 2 at Miers Court Primary. Their topic for the term is Medieval Castles and, in dance, I chose to focus on parts of the castle and a Medieval style sequence dance that the pupils could perform at a special event at the end of term (more on that later).

Castle Parts
Battlements, towers, buttresses, draw bridges and moats, every part of the castle had a movement or shape in warm up and a different movement or shape for cool down. There were also bows to “THE KING” and Jester jigs. I was pleased to hear from Miss Baldock, one of the year 2 teachers, that whilst in the classroom learning about jobs in the castle, the children were able to tell her what the Jester’s job was.

CroppedIMAG4411Sequence Dance
I taught some sequence dances, The Pavanne, The Circle and The Chain that I adapted so they could be performed as one dance. At the end of term there will be a medieval style Banquet held for the Year 2 classes. Entertainment will be the dances they’ve learnt and choreographed with me.

Photo: Ready for the Pavanne

Freeze Frames
In groups, The Great Hall, the draw bridge, the ramparts and the portcullis were turned into freeze frames. Year 2 learnt that to make a good freeze frame you need to use different levels, facial expressions and interesting hands and feet. Then they added linking movements to turn their shapes into a motif.

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I’ve had a fantastic time working with Year 2. I think they’ve learnt a lot about medieval castles as well as dance. They’ve come a really long way. The first week they found it hard to do the step together in The Pavanne. By the end they had a whole dance of step togethers! They should be very proud of themselves.

The photos are in our gallery (http://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/gallery-2/medieval-castles/) and here’s an automatically created video, an Auto Awesome, about the project.

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Music Through Time

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This term I’ve been working with Year 5 at Miers Court Primary School. We’ve had a fantastic time exploring music of the past 100 years, with the help of Doctor Who, of course.

The first class began with a warm up about the various aliens in Doctor Who. Soon the dancers were making shapes and travelling like Judoon, Weeping Angels, Cyber Men, Darleks, Krillitane, and The Ood. For a few weeks we only used these shapes and movements in warm up, but by the time we’d finished the dance, everything became clear and we had managed to include all the different aliens in the dance.

There’s so much music to choose from over the past 100 years. I had to be ruthless and pick only 5 songs! I chose songs that were very different from each other and that already had a movement style linked to them. I mixed all the songs together, along with the Doctor Who Theme Tune to make the music for their performance.

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Week One – Vogue by Madonna, 1990
I taught a voguing motif and the dancers embellished it with their own ideas. They soon noticed how closely they had to listen to the music and each group work really hard to keep in time with the other. I was pleased to see that from the first class all the dancers were concentrating hard and excited to get on with it.

Week Two – Thriller by Michael Jackson, 1982
We made up a motif as a whole class. There were all sorts of grotesque zombie inspired movements. I think this was the favourite song for most of the dancers. Something about it seemed to appeal to them!

Week Three – The Twist by Chubby Checker, 1960
This time we did some improvisation and then each group decided on their own structure. The rules were that each person had to do a short solo at some point, but they also had to include twisting as a group.

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Week Four –  Sing, Sing, Sing, 1937
The hall space wasn’t available, but the sun was shining so we went outside and I taught the dancers some Swing Dance steps. The dancers had dance with a partner or in groups of three this time. They were so imaginative and I especially liked that some of the boys took a few football foot work exercises and adapted them into Swing Dance.

Week Five – Mars from The Planet Suite by Holst, written between 1914 and 1916
We didn’t use a dance style this time. Instead the dancers used the shapes and travelling movements from our warm up and at some point in this sequence they had to turn into their group’s alien.

The final week was our last rehearsal. By this time we’d put all the separate bits together and the dancers had worked really hard to remember everything. The classes watched each other and Year 2 joined us to watch as well!

The dancers performed so well. Both groups finally managed to stop talking as they danced (they did this accidentally in most rehearsals because they were so excited to get it right!) and the audience really enjoyed seeing so many different dance styles in one performance. The Year 5 were very proud of themselves and I was very proud of them.

I will be back in September to work with another year group and if they’re half as good as the groups I’ve already taught, they will be fantastic. I can’t wait!

To see all of the photos please go to our Photo Gallery.

Here’s a video that was Automatically created using randomly selected photos and videos.

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Maths and Dance and Such a lot of Feedback!

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Lorraine went to St Nicholas Infants School today to lead some cross-curricular dance workshops with a Maths and Dance theme! Here are some of the things the participants and their teachers said about the classes.

Comments from Class 1 (Year 2) after their Maths and Dance class
‘I liked my group doing the turn.’
‘Liked it all, was a good thinking game and fun as well.’
‘Liked going round circle saying names and going fast.’
‘Liked group balancing and turning.’
‘Great warm-up [think they mean the games as we didn’t do a normal warm-up’

‘That was brilliant! The children loved it. Was great to see how easily they could learn a sequence in a group, without pressure. We will use the station idea in our next session [country dancing].’
Year 2 Teacher, St Nicholas Infants School, June 2014

 

Comments from Class 2 (Year 1/2) after their Maths and Dance class
‘Enjoyed the jumps.’
‘Liked all of it. Liked watching group doing the snake move.’
‘Liked making shaped and ‘can you’ game.’
‘Wonderful. It was really fun. Especially spaghetti and meat balls [from the ‘can you’ game]’
‘I liked the station moves.’

‘I loved watching my class working as a team, and without speaking!’
Year 1/2 Teacher, St Nicholas Infants School, June 2014


Comments from Class 3 (Year R/1) after their Maths and Dance class
‘Liked balancing and low shapes.’
‘Liked turning.’
‘I liked everything. I liked the spinning.’
‘I liked balancing.’ 


Class 4 (Reception) after their Maths and Dance class
‘Liked the balances’
‘The lying on the floor, and spiderman picture’
‘Liked picture of girl balancing’
‘Liked picture and move for spiderman’
‘Liked the spin’
‘Liked the jump. Really high.’

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Mighty Metals!

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Last term I worked with Year 3 at Miers Court Primary School on a cross-curricular dance project designed to enhance the pupils’ learning.

The Plan
Each year group in the school has a different theme to focus on each term. Last term, the theme for Year 3 was Mighty Metals so, using a cross-curricular approach, we explored magnets, metals, forces and movement.

Miers Court Mighty Metals

 

The Process
We began by watching Honda Cog, a fantastic video that shows how parts of a car come together in an unusual way to make a car start. From this we got lots of ideas for words that describe movements. There were six groups and they each created their own production line, passing their group’s chosen object down the line of people in an unusual and interesting way. After a few sessions we ended up joining all the groups together to make one, very long production line. It was very impressive and all the dancers did so well to keep going throughout the long dance. One class even came up with a plan to make a robot!

 

The Performance
There were four weeks to get ready, on the fifth week was the performance! The year 3 classes performed to each other, to the year 5 classes and to staff who included the Deputy Headteacher!

The rehearsal on the day was tense and very busy. At the last-minute a robot dance, choreographed by everyone in each class together, was added for a spectacular ending.

The audience arrived and were asked to sit right in the middle of the hall, very unusual some said. It worked perfectly for the performance though, the audience were surrounded by the robot production line and then, towards the end, the robots came towards them, dancing, before collapsing to the floor, all tired from the hard work!

The Video
We were very lucky because Clare, The Right Step’s Social Media Guru was able to join us to film and take photos. You can find the photos in our gallery or on Pinterest, http://www.pinterest.com/therightstep/mighty-metals/

Here’s the video…

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