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make your day dance

Time: another essential ingredient

October 21st, 2008 · No Comments · Tags: ····

Imagine a perfect schedule for teaching.  I have one.

Every student in the school takes dance, kindergarten through 5th grade (except one, but that’s another story). I get to know them as they grow, and they accept dance (and me), almost like air.  When new students come in, as they always do, they’re swept along by the breeze, and the shock at having dance class as part of the required curriculum fades quickly.

Classes last 40 minutes — not quite enough time for a full progression, but certainly enough for concept development. Meet daily, so we can pick up where we left off. Ten school days in a row, so skills can grow, and ideas can deepen. It’s enough to introduce a topic and pursue it. Or enough to glance across elements and interweave them. Enough to add a video observation, a little time to journaling, choreograph, and rehearse for informal performance.

After 10 classes (2 weeks), half of the school goes away, to PE, and the other half comes my way, to Dance. The rotation happens every month.

There are some downsides:   Five classes per day would be better than six — less rushed and better planned. There’s always more to do — things I intended, but couldn’t get to. On the Monday that classes come back from PE, it’s always chaotic, as students reacclimate to the focus and flow of a dance class.  Several classes are back-to-back, with not even a minute for reorientation.

But that’s nitpicking.  My schedule allows kids to refine their coordination, explore and build concepts, express ideas, develop creative and social skills through improvisation, choreograph, create, be playful, and generally do a lot of dancing.  It’s better than I ever would have imagined.

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