Monday, April 22, 2013

Celebrate with an end-of-the-school year dance party!

photo of: End of the Year Dance Party Celebration: Connie Dow at PreK+K Sharing



Whether you want to kick up your heels with your students, or cut a rug with your students' friends and families, try any or all of these ideas:


1.  WARM UP WITH THE CUPID SHUFFLE (music:  Cupid, Time for a Change CD)

Here is a diagram I have made to show how to do the dance:

Song and dance by Cupid

1.  Step to right 
Step, feet together, step, feet together  (4 counts)            

2.  Step to left 
Step, feet together, step, feet together  (4 counts)            

3.  Kick 4 times, alternating feet

Kick 4 times, alternating feet

4.   ¼ Turn for four counts
                     (Turn in either direction, but always turn the same way)

Turn 1/4 turn for four counts


Do the phrase at least 4 times, so that you end up facing the direction you started.  There is plenty of music to do it many more times!





Bringing a story alive through dance and music is a way to enhance reading comprehension, reinforce sequencing, and learn new vocabulary words, as well as to give children a new way to express and dramatize the events and characters in a story.

Here is an example using the book Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton

What you need:  

1.  The book Barnyard Dance

2.  A large, unobstructed space, such as a gym or playground.

3.  An upbeat, lively musical selection (instrumental), such as Blue Grass

The Activity:

Read the book aloud.  Ask the children to spread out in the space.  

Say the rhyme from the first part of the book, and do these movements:

Stomp your feet! (Stomp three times)

Clap your hands! (Clap three times)
Everybody ready (Turn around)
For a barnyard dance! (Jump two times with hands on hips)

Practice this rhyme and movement with the children several times.  You will use it as the introduction to the dance story.

Play your musical selection.  Repeat the rhyme and movement above.
Now walk throughout the room as you read the book again, slowly to give the children time to respond in movement.  After each line, prompt the children to respond to the words with movement.  Begin:

"Bow to the horse
Bow to the cow
Twirl with the pig if you know how.

Continue until you reach the end of the book.  Finish reading the last two pages:

All take a bow, and the dance is over.  

Ask the children to make the shape of their favorite animal in the book to end the dance.

To expand the activity, play the music again, and repeat the introductory rhyme and movement together.  This time, ask the children to dance freely in the large space.  Before they begin, remind the children of the many movement words in the story (slide, twirl, prance, trot, and so on) and encourage them to dance about anything else in the book, such as the many different animals. Finish with a big bow all together.



Here is an idea based on a lesson from my book, Dance, Turn, Hop, Learn!  Enriching Movement Activities for Preschoolers (2006, Redleaf Press).  The lesson is entitled
A Celebration of Movement.

What you need:

1.  Any music that the children have especially enjoyed throughout the year
2.  Large roll of paper, like a roll of newsprint or butcher paper
3.  Crayons or markers

The Activity:

Unroll a long sheet of paper and lay it along the floor so that each child has a space to work. Pass out the crayons or markers.  Ask the children to take a few minutes to draw their favorite thing about this school year (it could be something they learned, a field trip, etc.).  When the children have finished with their drawings, display the large paper in the room, as a back drop for the dancing they are about to do.

Play a selection of music.  Either all together or in groups, ask the children to dance freely about their ideas.  

Play a new selection, and ask the children to dance about their idea some more, or to dance about anything they wish, including some of the other children's favorite moments from the school year.

To finish the dance, stop the music, and ask the children to each make their body into a shape which represents to them something fun about the school year.

Keep on Dancin',



Copyright 2013 by Connie Bergstein Dow

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