Starting The Year With Dance

Welcome to a new year! My name is Tammy Axt and I am a music/drama/dance teacher at a K-5 school in Brampton, Ontario. This is my fifth year teaching music and my first year teaching drama and dance. I am sure that with my new teaching package I will have a lot of learning to share in this blog. I love my job wholeheartedly and am proud to be part of the BEST profession in the WORLD! I should mention that I come from a maritime family where hyperbole is the norm when interacting in daily life.

In addition to teaching drama and dance for the first time, it has also been my first time teaching grade one in many years. Wow, they sure are a busy bunch. I’ve already learned a ton about having really simple, short instructions and built-in busy and quiet times. All of my grade one classes are also going to require a lot of community building and development of social skills.

This term, the grade ones will be making up a number of dances. However, this month I have noticed a few things about grade ones in my class. First, they cannot remember what dance moves they came up with three days ago. Second, they have no idea who their partner was three days ago. Third, they have difficultly putting papers on the floor in a row to make a sequence. Finally, without some structure put in place, they will have difficulty building on and revising their creations.

My colleague and I talked it through and came up with the very simple idea of housing their creations in a file folder. Each section of the folder would contain one creation that the students came up and at the end of the term the file folder with all of the dance plans will go home with the students.

Our first dance plan addresses the curriculum expectation ”students will use movements that are part of their daily experience in a variety of ways in dance phrases”. We asked the students to come up with movements that they like to do and draw a picture of the movement on two pieces of white paper. We glued the two pieces of paper into the folder and scribed the words that matched the picture.  The folders will be a valuable tool in helping the students to create their dances and assist them in remembering what they did in their previous dance period.

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The Author

Tammy Axt

I am a music teacher at Red Willow Public School in the Peel District School Board. I love supporting students through the creative process and grooving to music! My interests include running and trying to learn how to ride a motorcycle.

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