I know what you’re going to ask. Why would you want to play this game?
- It’s fun and kids love it.
- It can set the focus for the lesson if you spotlight the learning.
- You can check on prior learning through the instructions you give.
- It can be an effective review of the elements of dance.
Freeze is a game that is used in classrooms all around the world. It embodies the underlying strengths of all games in that it teaches about resilience and following the instructions or the rules of the game.
The Freeze Game
Learning about following the rules, even if they are different from what you first thought, is important for children to comprehend. Be sure to articulate at the beginning a clear set of instructions, rules and guidelines to scaffold how the game will be played.
You may need to stress that every time you play this game in the class that the rules will be slightly different, so it is important to listen carefully. Playing a practice round at the beginning can allow the teacher to check for understanding and clarify any rules that may be ambiguous.
Children need to be able to navigate our competitive culture and to tackle problems with determination and perseverance.
Games teach about resilience and restraint and about coping with missing out. The structure of the game supports the growth of skills that enables children to manage feelings of disappointment and to adapt to change. This is a part of the emotional challenges that the Primary classroom should present.
Playing it safe in the Freeze Game
As important as emotional safety and well being, the physical safe dance practice of the students is crucial in the Freeze Game.
You should always alert students to the space in which they are moving. This assists in developing spatial awareness between self and others and objects in the space.
- Try to remove any objects that may be dangerous.
- Ensure the children understand when and how they may touch other classmates within the game.
The Basic Rules of the Freeze Game
- Everyone dances when the music is playing
- When the music stops you must freeze straightaway and hold the shape until the music restarts
- If you are the last person to freeze you move to the side of the space and run on the spot lifting your knees high until the next round. This is effective for fitness and participation.
- If you are the last person to freeze you move to the side of the space and you are out of the game.
- If you are not moving when the music is on, you move to the side of the space and do jumping jacks until the next round, and then you may re-join the game.
Freeze Game Variations
1. Spot on Connect
Place large spots or hoops on the floor when the children freeze making a still shape. Each round, a spot is removed. Then the child who is left without a spot joins their shape with someone else. At the end everyone is joined on one spot. The ending parts of this version of Freeze are really funny and the children love it.
2. Move with me
The same as the version above except the children who join must continue to move together with the music until the next freeze. Then they join with someone else and that grouping must move with the music.
You can be specific about what king of shape you would like them to form or which body parts they will connect. For example, make a curved shape that connects your elbow and your hand.
3. Elements of Dance Freeze
In this version the teacher gives instruction about how (dynamics, time) they must move to the music or about the shape (curved, angular, high/medium/low level) they freeze in.
If the focus of the lesson is on levels then they will be asked to move at different levels, or freeze using body parts at a low level.
4. Move like a ….
They move like something…an animal, a robot, like they are really cold, like their arms are really heavy. You could try moving like an emotion to introduce them to the idea of meaning making through movement.
You can change the instruction after every round of the game. Try having the children make suggestions of an animal to move like.
5. Stop and Listen
Edit the music to have different pieces of music after each freeze and the students must adapt their movement to the changes of the music. Try Giant music or ant music. I love using spy music!
The music does not have to be upbeat in fact the more contrasting the better.
6. Props Freeze
Each child chooses a prop to move with. This could be a scarf, a cloak, a feather boa or perhaps a hat. The prop will suggest how they are going to move. For example, they may use the cloak to be mysterious and creep through the space.
You could choose to do this with music or without. Using a percussion instrument focuses the movement on the prop rather than the music.
You can do another version where they choose a different prop after each round. If they are changing props make sure you keep the pace of the change fast.
7. Sing and Freeze
Choose a favourite song so that the children can sing along. They sing and dance at the same time and really try to stop singing and dancing when you stop the music.
Playing the freeze game in the primary dance classroom encourages controlled competitiveness, increases motivation and assists in trialing new knowledge.
Teachers who play games with a positive sense of joy and involvement, will foster equality and cooperation in their classroom. These versions of the Freeze Game give teachers an opportunity to focus on students’ success and creativity and their ability to solve problems, not just about winning or losing.
For more ideas to use in your classroom look at the ready made lesson plans and teaching resources available on Dance Teaching Ideas.