Start the New Year with dance in your classroom

The New Year offers a fresh start after a holiday break.  This is an opportunity to get to know your students better and try new things in the classroom that you may not have tried before.  If you haven’t tried dance with your students before, now is a great time to use this physical learning tool in your classroom.

Dance in the classroom

Dance suits many different learning styles and it is an adaptable and creative way to introduce and explore new concepts.  It is also a great way to see how your students can apply their prior knowledge in learning areas ranging from literacy through to science.

Don’t just save dance as a part of brain break, make it central to your new year’s teaching strategy. Dance is a great way of team building, growing confidence skills, and encouraging friendships in the Early Years and Elementary/Primary classroom.

If you’re welcoming new students to your classroom you might like to try the Welcome Dance.  It’s part of DTI’s free lesson plan ideas.

If you’re looking to reset in the New Year, you have the opportunity to bring a renewed vigor into your classes.  Let your students know how excited you are to see them.  Your movement activities will help to convey this feeling of joy and playfulness that comes with a safe and positive attitude in the classroom.

Where to begin teaching dance in your classroom

Your students may need to learn or review their procedures in the classroom after a break.  Creating a dance about these procedures is a fun way to instill the ethos of the class with a team spirit that celebrates creativity.  The best thing about this is that they will remember what they have learned with a smile.

Here are some more dance ideas for introducing class protocols.


Start with a dance game

There are many wonderful dance games that you can use as brain breaks or as starters for a day that is active and creative.  Dance games wake up the brain and often after a break from school, children’s curiosity for learning needs a little stimulation.

Dance activities that are both fun and filled with learning opportunities are useful at this beginning part of the year.

dance at school

Look closely at your class

How the students respond to this dance activity will give you clues as to what you can explore next through movement.  Some children may not have had a fun filled break and we always need to remember that individual families experience the holiday season in different ways.

Using dance to explore children’s emotions is a very personalized way of exploring family stories.  Movement improvisations activities give you opportunities to observe your class and to have personal conversations with them about how they may be feeling about the new year.

You can do this through linking your dance activity to a text that deals with emotions.  There are many books that can be stimulus for dance choreographic explorations.  These books can help children deal with uncomfortable emotions

Alternatively, you can use music as a stimulus for movement to investigate feelings. Keep in mind, that using contrasting music, that does not have lyrics, gives children an opportunity to discover new ways of moving their bodies.

Exploring complexity in movement learning

Dance in the Primary/Elementary classroom is not just about improvising movement.  It is about applying prior knowledge about pattern, direction, and number.  The use of Mathematics knowledge in dance can be a way to challenge your class to apply their knowledge in a different context.

When using movement, you are boosting children’s working memory as they remember complex and intricate movements that involve both gross and fine motor skills.  This makes dance an essential tool for preparing students bodies for developing the physical capabilities necessary for sitting to write after a holiday break.

Calming your class after exciting times

The often high activity of the holiday period can mean that you have a class that looks like popcorn popping all over the room!  Dance may also be used to calm the body.

Mindful movement techniques allow children to refocus after the freedom of holidays.

Finding opportunities for dance learning

There are multiple opportunities for learning about and through dance in the classroom.  Stay alert throughout the year to identifies opportunities for movement.  There are many ways to integrate danceI

Each time you explore a different topic consider what movement potential can enhance children’s learning.  There are myriad opportunities in most topics to apply dance activities that are not just an add on but a valuable support for learning.

integrating dance

Conclusion – dance or not dance?

You may not be ready to implement all of these dance ideas in this beginning part of the year, but I encourage you to try at least one.  You’ll be amazed at the level of interaction with students and between students that these movement ideas create.  Dance brings a new energy to the classroom that promotes engagement, creativity, and learning curiosity.

If you need support in implementing dance as a part of your teaching toolbox, consider becoming a Premium Member of Dance Teaching Ideas.
There are fully prepared dance units, lessons, and single activities that include games, warmups, written activities that link to a range of learning areas.
Each lesson is supported by printable resources that you can use immediately in your classroom.


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