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.”
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.
Are you looking for the classics taught with ACTIVE music-making?
This resource with lots of movement teaches students to play and sing (new Spring lyrics) the main theme to Vivaldi’s Spring Concerto with Orff barred instrument ostinati, AND a recreation of the thunderstorm using instruments.
Successful parachute songs, games, and activities teach musical and movement concepts, let students explore through creativity and improvisation, and provide a physical activity for fitness, a brain break, and a social-emotional learning (SEL) outlet.
Breaking down a classroom activity by procedures will make your lesson more effective. When activities fail, many times it’s because a classroom routine or process is missing. I spent twice as much planning time on HOW to teach than WHAT to teach.
You need to have several “tricks” to pull out of your back pocket when kids need to have a brain break, to expend some energy, to divert attention from something else going on in the room (a potential meltdown for ex.), to prepare them for a high-concentration activity, or when you the teacher need to have a mental break yourself.
And so, the Jumping Game was born!
Stand in a circle
Play a song with a good beat (see Spotify playlist below)
T stands on the outside of the circle and taps a child on the shoulder.
That child goes into the middle and begins to jump
Prepare kids for the jumping game by talking about how they can be creative by using feet together, feet apart, 1 and 2-foot jumping/hopping, use of arms, bending knees, turning as you jump, etc.
Everyone in the circle imitates the leader in the middle
T occasionally comments about some of the fine points of the jumper. “Ooh, did you see how they alternated bending their elbows as they jumped?”
Tap the next child in the circle after about 10 seconds, continuing to make your way around the circle.
In a class of 25, this gave the class about 4 minutes of jumping.
Chinese Tea Dance ORFF Lesson Activities (Movement, Instrumental Arrangement)
With its call and response form, this is the perfect barred instrument activity for December! PLUS, movement ideas using partners and the whole class with and without props! Ribbon sticks/wands, scarves, partner parachutes, and a classroom parachute!
Tea Dance Video
Cultural Stereotypes in the Nutcracker
Each performance of the Nutcracker uses an artistic director who helps determine the costuming, dancing, makeup, and scenery for the ballet. The ballet dates back to a time when ethnic caricatures were standard practice in the performances. This is particularly true in Act II with the dances related to the Chinese, Arabian, Russian, and Spanish dances.
As music specialists, this is important to take into consideration if we choose to use videos in our teaching. Read more.
Here’s an excellent interview on NPR about “Rethinking Cultural Stereotypes in The Nutcracker.”
At this school, students were asked to bring in a family Nutcracker and were put into this fun Nutcracker Museum display! (Remember to have the student’s name and room clearly labeled.)
Add this to your end-of-year evaluation Danielson (or similar) Domain 1b: Teacher-designed opportunities for families to share their heritages.
Unit of Study (in progress)
K-1 Read a book about ballet and a book about The Nutcracker