Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vegetables and a Seed Planting Dance

Part of my goal for these classes is to connect language to movement so that students have a kinetic language learning experience.  Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres was a great catalyst for just that. This story allowed us to explore movement of how things grow up, down, and around. For the reading of the book, I had the children sit on the rug. Because this book has predictable text, the preschool students were able to read along while acting out the movements with their arms. After the book, we played a movement game based on the text.

Taking my cue from the book, I asked students questions like, "If you've tried  corn, stand up!" and continued this with all the vegetables in the story and their corresponding movement, "If you've tried beets, sit down," "If you've tried tomatoes, turn around!" The children seemed to have a lot of fun with this and it was great to see them react to the different foods that were called out.

Years ago in an African dance class in Cambridge, Ma, I learned a seed planting dance.  It is a dance that has stayed with me and has been incorporated into many of my creative movement classes. To transition to the seed planting dance, we discussed how each of the vegetables in the story began as seeds.

We began by making a basket shape with one arm. With the other arm, we acted out removing the seeds and tossing them into the soil. Once we got that movement down, I continued the story of the dance. We carry the babies on our backs while we plant the seeds, so we have to bounce them to keep them happy. We combine the movements and I put on the music. Together, we planted seeds all around the room while bouncing the babies. Boy and girl alike enjoy performing this dance and it is such a pleasure to witness their jubilation! Back on the rug, we put the babies to bed for a nap and continued to free dance; a celebration for planting all the seeds.

To end class we sat on the rug together and I asked each child what was their favorite fruit or vegetable and followed-up with a sticker. This was a nice way to cool down and end class as well as interact one-on-one with the children. At the end of my last class I was able to stay a little longer to converse with some of the children further. It was a wonderful dialogue of children telling me and each other all different kinds of fruits and vegetables they enjoyed, a wonderful way to end the class.

Food, love, and dance.

No comments:

Post a Comment