These dance education activities are great for almost any Primary classroom. The best thing about them is that not only are they fun to do but they all have positive literacy outcomes as well. It’s WIN WIN in a busy classroom.
1. Descriptive mirroring activity
In this movement activity students are moving and describing as they build on their existing vocabulary by using the Elements of Dance and listening to the descriptions of peers. Teachers can check on students’ prior knowledge about the dance elements as well as investigating their descriptive language skills.
The development of this dance activity into a writing task, results in students transferring communication skills from the oral to the page.
In pairs, one person describes the movement and then the other partner tries to do what they are describing. The person descriptions need to be detailed so it helps if they are imagining the movement before they start describing. Ask students to close their eyes so they can really imagine the movements. Encourage the students to describe using the Elements of Dance.
You might put a list of guiding questions to help start this activity.
- What level do you want them to move on?
- How fast will they move? Is the timing even of does the rhythm or the tempo change?
- What body parts are they using? Are they moving multiple body parts? How close is one body part moving to another?
- What facial expressions are they using?
- What kind of dynamics are they
Then you both write down the description of the dance from your memory image. Try to use as many new ways of describing as you can.
2. My Personality
Finding dance activities that support students choreographing about themselves can be difficult. Many children experience a reluctance to come out and share details about themselves in front of their classmates.
Many icebreaker activities are very confronting for many children.This activity gives children a safe starting place for sharing.
The fact that it is talked about in the abstract, can also lead young choreographers into creating in the abstract through movement.
For this activity you will need a range of objects. Some suggestions include a can opener, hairbrush, umbrella, crayon, book, CD, or a cup.
- Place items on the floor in the centre.
- Everyone comes up one at a time, choosing an item about which they are willing to say, “I’m like this because……” and “I’m unlike this because….”.
- For example, “I’m like this book because I like to tell stories.” “I’m not like this book because I don’t like people to touch or hold me”.
- Students then create a movement to represent each of these positions. They should consider using contrasting elements for each movement.
This dance activity is also a starting point for talking about contrast. Students need to consider how their ‘like this’ movements are distinct from their ‘not like this’ movement.
3. Flower bouquet
You can theme this dance activity around a time of year when specific plants flower or when looking at native flora in your community. I like to have students draw and label the parts of the flower before we start to help them observe the flower in greater detail.
Children cut out a picture of a flower that they like or have some real flowers in the classroom. Ask the students to describe the flower in writing and how it might move in the wind.
Sitting in a circle, place a hula hoop on the floor in the middle, explaining to the class that it is the vase. When the teacher taps them on the shoulder, they will be a flower moving towards the vase and placing themselves, making a shape like their picture.
Repeat the exercise but have the wind blow as they move towards the vase. Ask them:
- Do they tumble, turn, twist and roll?
- Do they move slowly or quickly?
- Do they change levels in the space as they move?
- Are different parts of their body being different parts of the flower?
- What shapes do their bodies make?
- Are the shapes repeated or do they change all the time?
- From which way is the wind blowing?
Now go back to the original written description and add to it. On completion encourage the children to compare the two versions and self-evaluate their descriptions.
This fun dance activity helps students to develop self-editing skills, more detailed observations of things in their world and a new way of exploring language.