Thursday, June 21, 2012

Animal Masks and Movement

After two months on hiatus from foot surgery, I am finally back in the classroom! This week, I kicked off Story Story Dance with animal masks and the book Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae. This book introduces many different animals, but I focused on the ones that I actually had masks for. This worked out great because if I had done all the animals, this would have been an hour long class. As it was, this class went over my allotted half-hour slot and took about forty-five minutes. Luckily, the teachers were great and happy for the extended class considering the kiddos would have shortened outside time due to the heat. Sometimes things just work out.

The masks were very simple, made out of animal face paper plates from the super market and tongue depressors for holding. I got this idea from a yoga teacher I worked with who used the plates in her children's yoga class to help children embody animal poses.

For this class, I read the short poems about each animal from the story and students explored smaller movements in their sitting positions.  After the story, we created a big circle with movement space in the center. Every student was given a mask and each animal had their own music. I used short musical compositions from a pre-ballet music selection. In partners, students came to the center of the circle and explored the larger animal movement.

As always, the children surprise me. The children seemed to love taking their masks and scaring the children in the outer circle and the children in the outer circle seemed to love getting scared! After every set of animals had a turn in the center, we went to the animal dance party, where all the animals dance together and the children become any animal they want to be.

In the beginning of the story, the narrator introduces the animals as waking up in the jungle and the end of the story, the animals go to sleep. So of course we ended class with all the animals falling asleep in the jungle. The fake snoring was hilarious! I traded masks for stickers and ended class. It's great to be back!

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