Topic: A dance lesson that is inspired by the use of imagery, which focuses on body awareness, level changes, buoyancy, and the elements of time and sequencing.
Rationale: Dance offers several components and the two that are involved in this activity are creative expression and artistic perception. In this dance lesson children are given movements with which to build and formulate and help them make wise and appropriate action selections. This type of activity is necessary because everyday we are joining one action to another. By using our mastery of movement we are selecting our own ways and preferences for achieving effective and expressive actions.
Artistic Perception: Each student will identify the three different levels of movement and the sensation of buoyancy. It is also expected that each student respond spontaneously in movement to the stimuli of imagery and feelings.
Creative Expression: Each student will formulate his or her own unique sequence of movements based on personal experiences.
Strategy: Both direct instruction and guided discovery will be used.
Buoyant: able to float in a fluid, as a cork; vivacious; lighthearted.
Introduction: I will pose the following questions: "What shape does a balloon make when it is all blown up? How does a balloon move on a windy day?" After a brief discussion about balloons I will read the students a short scenario about a balloon.
A balloon gets blown up, is caught by the wind, goes high into the air and sails down to hit various things: a rooftop, a tree, a garbage can, a fence- each time, it bounces back into the air and sails on. Alas, eventually its string gets entangled in telephone wires; it pulls and pulls to get free, all the time getting more and more tired. All this pulling eventually loosens the string and the balloon, free again, sinks down toward the ground. But, disaster! As it floats down, it touches a prickly bush--POP!
Once the story is read I will model some of the movements that students will be expected to learn and I will spend some time introducing the three levels of movement, (high, medium and low.) The balloon had many adventures, which will be addressed such as: it traveled through air, it got caught by its string, and it freed itself, sunk to the ground and exploded.
Pupil Activity Sequence:
Students will move their desk to the back of the room, so that there will be plenty of room in the middle of the room. The students will join the teacher in the middle of the room. Students will change their body shape from a flat and crumpled balloon to a blown up balloons. Next the students will gain experience in ways of traveling by: hopping, stepping, jumping, and rolling, (attention should be paid to the children selecting activities that take them into different levels of movement.)
After the students have had the opportunity to experience various ways of traveling, have them each select one method. Let the children feel their feet coming off the floor very lightly; they should then try this with their hands, then their elbows, until they can maintain sensation of buoyant by their whole bodies.
Once the students have mastered and formulated their traveling using different actions to keep them light, buoyant, have them join together in sequence: being blown up, then traveling. Now the students will deal with what happens when the balloon gets entangled. When the balloon gets caught, the students are going to be involved in selecting which part of their body becomes attached.
Concentrate, however, on letting the students' feel how they can, in fact, produce a tug in their bodies by pulling parts away from each other. Start this with strong actions gradually weaken; one last strong pull can end in a leap, a roll, or a run as the balloon pulIs free.
There follows a moment of traveling in their own ways before suddenly exploding. This is effectively practiced with sudden leaps that come from a concentrated position. The exploding has to be followed by a collapse. In the collapse, the children can experiment with different parts of their body keeping the action to the floor. They can also see what happens with the movements on the way down to the ground--Do they go straight down, or make a quick turn or do they make small jumps?
Now the children can put together in sequence being blown up-traveling-getting caught-getting free and exploding.
Closure: The teacher will re-read the story to the entire class and the students will perform the story as he/she reads it. In small groups of five or six the students may perform their unique versions of the story for the class. After the students have had the opportunity to perform their patterns of movements, have a class discussion recapping the three levels of movements, the sensation of buoyancy and their ability to respond spontaneously in movement to imaginary images.
Clean-up: Ask students to arrange the room back to its original way. Have the studentís quietly return to their desk for further instructions.
Evaluation: The students will be evaluated on their performance of the specific concepts that they were introduced to in this lesson such as: three levels of movements, the sensation of buoyancy and their ability to respond spontaneously in movement to the stimuli of imagery. The teacher will watch students as they perform, to evaluate them on their own unique sequence of movements.
Materials: The teacher needs a copy of the short story to tell to the students.
Reference: Boorman J. (1969). Creative Dance in the First Three Grades. Longmans Canada Ltd., p79