Dancing with the Stars

Dance was a part of Poihipi's 'Discovering Our Passions' Inquiry. One of the outcomes of this learning was that the children would be sharing their performance with local Kindergartens – experiencing community service.

What was the expected learning?

  • To respond to the 4 beat, dance rhythms with enthusiasm and some accuracy.
  • To learn the very simple dance steps readily and with confidence.
  • To clap the 4 bar rhythm in time with their peers. 

How did the learning occur?

While sitting in a circle, the children clapped a sustained 4 beat rhythm. I explained to the children that they would be offering their gift of dance and singing to a visiting kindergarten. After the 4 beat clapping pattern was firmly established we all moved into the hall and learned the dance.

What happened in the end?

The children worked hard and mastered 'The Mellow Fling'. They developed ensemble skills by watching other student's dancing and clapping. They began to look carefully at each other to coordinate their steps and clapping-the essential elements of any musical ensemble. The children developed their spatial awareness skills.

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Feedback from the children:

I asked Riley at the beginning of the dance session after the class had practised clapping in 4 and after our learning intentions had been explained, what he thought we were working on. 

'We are going to learn a dance which has 4 beats. We are going to move our feet and hands with 4 beats. This is how to clap in 4 beats' - Riley

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I asked Ihaka at the end of the dance session, what he thought about dancing with the class.

'I like cool moves in dancing. I can show you the boy's bow'. - Ihaka

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I asked Linay what she had learnt during dancing?

'We are learning a dance. it has 4 beats'-  Linay

I asked Jacob what he had been doing in the afternoon in the hall. 

'We are doing a dance. It has 4 beats.' -  Jacob

Jacob then demonstrated his dancing and 4 beat clapping. 

Our tiny dancing stars mastered a simple Irish folk dance and by working cooperatively developed a sense of ensemble.

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Keywords: Dance, passion, music, community service

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