How to Use Movement in Elementary Music to Empower Kids

Movement in music can be more than a stress reliever, a brain break, a way to experience another culture, or other very worthy objectives. It can also be a way to empower ALL kids through positive interaction with the teacher.

I was scrolling social media and saw this quote.

“Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered.”

Wes Angelozzi

It reminded me of a technique I learned as a teacher that provided deep and meaningful connections to my students.

Let them know what you notice!

I wanted kinders and first graders to move (step, skip, float) to changing music examples.

DURING or AFTER their movement I would say,

“I see stepping sideways.”

“I see stepping backward.”

“I see someone taking short steps.”

“I see someone taking long steps.”

“WOW! You all are taking such different kinds of steps! You are SO creative.”

Many times, I would make direct eye contact with the student who had been creative! (but not calling them out by name)

Many times, it was the kid who

  • was not a good reader
  • was not a rule follower
  • was bored because they weren’t being challenged
  • was shy
  • didn’t have many friends

These kids were EMPOWERED! Someone noticed!

Once they know that you are noticing, they will

  • make more eye contact with you
  • stop following the leader
  • think outside the box

This can work with anything but is especially wonderful with creative movement. (I learned most of what I know about creative movement from my Orff Levels classes)

Other ways I noticed in the classroom?

  • I saw a student go over and help their classmate. How kind!
  • I noticed a student give a silent signal to their friend while I was talking. Way to watch out for each other!
  • What did I just see??? A student let another student go in FRONT OF THEM as we went to the instruments! So mature!

When you empower the kids, you are empowered as a teacher. It’s a win-win.

Step, Skip, Float Movement Activity

Other Movement Resources on Oodles

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Author: lbbartolomeo

I'm a mom, wife, teacher, reader, gardener, trekkie, sci-fi fanatic, musician, dog lover, and a Christian. I hope my contributions bring some joy and happiness to your life!

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