Hello EC Community,
One of the wonderful aspects of the art of dance/movement is that it can be used to teach virtually any subject. This activity incorporates a lively movement game with the learning of important national landmarks, which can supplement a social studies, geography, or history lesson. I like to add one or two local landmarks too whenever I present this activity to children or to teachers to use in their classrooms, which personalizes the lesson. You might want to incorporate a field trip to the local landmarks!
In this activity, the kinesthetic learning happens as the children attempt to make the shapes of the landmarks with their bodies. The sentence I just wrote reminds me of an aspect of creative dance that is extremely important and that I repeat often: The process is what is important in this type of kinesthetic learning, not the finished product. If the children see a picture of the landmark, think about how they might make that shape in their bodies, attempt to make the shape, and then repeat the attempt several times (all the while having fun!), this is the important part of the activity. So, if the children attempt to make the shape of, say, a bridge or a statue, and it doesn't look anything like the object, don't worry -- they are learning!
Adapted from One, Two What Can I Do? Dance and Music for the Whole Day (Redleaf Press, 2006)
by Connie Bergstein Dow, with music by Debbie Clement
|Make yourself into the shape of the St. Louis Gateway Arch!|
What You Need:
*Any space will do!
*A fun instrumental musical selection (such as an instrumental from one of the two CD's by Debbie Clement which are included with my book)
*Pictures of the Statue of Liberty, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, St. Louis Gateway Arch, and any local landmarks you wish to incorporate
What You Do:
Show the children pictures of the landmarks and help them recognize and name them (adding any information you wish about the history and geography of the landmarks). Try showing them in random order until the children can recognize them visually.
If you have a small space, the children will perform the activity in place. If you have a larger space, the children can move about the shared space as they dance.
Now tell the children:
We are going to dance about these statues and landmarks! When the music plays, you may dance freely. When I stop the music, I will call out the name of one of them, and you will make the shape of it in your body. You will hold that shape until the music begins again.
Continue this game until you have gone through the list of statues several times, and the children are engaged in the activity.
Now we are going to play this game a different way. This time we will do it while we are each standing in one spot. Stay on your spot, and listen while I call out the names of the statues one by one. You make the shapes as soon as I say them.
Call out the names of the statues one by one, in random order, and ask the children to make the shapes in succession. Then ask the children to try it faster. Repeat, using a faster tempo each time.
(Finish the activity)
Take the shape of your favorite statue, and try to hold that shape as long as you can while you melt to the floor!
Next up in the DANCING THROUGHOUT THE DAY series:
Part 7: SPECIAL FALL ACTIVITY:
A Movement Exploration That Addresses Science
Keep on Dancin',
Copyright 2012, Connie Bergstein Dow