Teaching “PLACE”: A Creative Dance Lesson Plan

Introduction Lesson (1): PLACE

Creative Dance: Ages 3 – 5

Start by circling up standing, with each person on one of the stars which have been placed in a circle prior to class. The teacher goes to the center of the circle and says her name and does a dance movement, she then high fives a student and switches places with them, now standing on what was originally their star (a sneaky way of getting students comfortable with moving places frequently throughout the class as this lesson is on PLACE – some students at this age will struggle with getting past the idea that this was “their star”, the procedure of switching should be explained clearly as soon as all students arrive on a star) while the student goes to the middle to state their name and show a movement.

Brain Dance Warm-ups: “now that we are in our spots we are ready to start dancing!”

  • Quick Warmup: Run and plop – have students run in place, then plop down on the ground limp as if exhausted, them pop right back up again! Make is dramatic! (This should start the class with a good laugh)
  • The teacher will explain that dance doesn’t just use our bodies it also uses our brains, we need to pay close attention and concentrate on our movements to do them the best we can, students will rub their brains to get ready
  • Cross lateral “Asked my Mother” Rhyme, Bounce Rhyme, Plie and Straight (1st position), One For The Money & Two for the Show Rhyme, Head-tail look through the legs dance (these rhymes and warmups can all be found in Anne Green Gilbert’s “Creative Dance for Children”, and many can be found online)

Big Bubble/ Little Bubble

  • “Reach your hands out all around and make sure you can’t touch anyone near you, you have lots of space to move, this is your self space – a little bubble around just you – now move and wiggle any way you like in your little bubble”
  • “Look around the whole room this is our general space -the general space is the big bubble that takes up our whole room – when we move around the big bubble we have to keep our eyes wide open and make sure be don’t get too close to our friends when we are moving or we might bump into each other. Can you show me that you can walk around the general space keeping your eyes wide open and and keeping some space between you and your friends?”
  • Instruct the students to do switch between the little bubble and the big bubble. This can be used as a game very similar to freeze dance except it keeps students moving and thinking about new ways to move the whole time. Teach “self space” movements such as punch, pull, spin, jump, kick, twist, and melt and encourage students to do these types of movements or combinations of these movements while in the little bubble. Encourage locomotor movements such as leaps, skips, walks, gallops, and slides in the big bubble. Throughout “big bubble, little bubble” complement, comment, and engage with what students are doing. For example, “ wow! Paul just did a gallop and a punch at the same time in the big bubble!”, “I love how Tess is staying in her little bubble and still moving so much!”

The Concept: Place, Speed, Weight, Body Parts, Shape, Level, Size

  • The teacher will direct the student in an exploration of the concept
  • For place, the teacher will ask, “how might I move if my foot was glued to the ground?, or my hand?, or my tummy?, could I still dance”
  • Play “GLUE”, in which students imagine certain parts of their bodies are glued to various places in the room while they discover ways to continue dancing with their free body parts

Cool Down

  • Sit down: Flex and point both feet, then flex one while pointing the other, make it a challenge!
  • Legs together stretch to touch toes: Sprinkle fairy dust on the toes to make them pop out to split, sprinkle fairy dust on one toe to make them pop back together, then alternate sides
  • Butterfly legs fly up to the sky looking up, ask “what do you see?” Have students raise their hands to answer what they imagine they see in the sky

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