Lida: November 20

Randy Barron‘s branding of the elements of dance.

So when I first started learning about arts integration, it was through the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., though the CETA program (Changing Education Through the Arts). I spent a week there with my principal and others to learn how to change our school into an arts magnet school.

The Kennedy Center was looking to spread the gospel of arts integration, without having to be the only conduit for learning. That’s where I first saw this logo.  The other one I’m fond of is this one, which has shown up in my blog before, and is from the EducationCloset blog. It’s a bit more detailed in the elements and adds Movement itself as an element.

And though it may be basic, this choreography is exactly what we are learning through our very own Flynn teaching artist! This class is no easy one. Once students learn stuff, and they can understand what you want, we move them out. And then there is a new crop of students who really don’t understand. We essentially are starting over all the time. It’s so great to see the progression, but it’s hard to keep the momentum.

Lida was excited because she would be coming twice in two days. But it turned out that we couldn’t keep momentum. We couldn’t build. The first day we had the whole class; the next day, the students who are showing marked progress and are getting ready to move out were in Kevin Cross’ English 1 class. The most amazing thing, though, is that it makes us need to be brave in the smaller class. It makes us need to step up, because the ones who normally do are no longer there.

IMG_1570This particular day, with the big group, was about making a lot of choices. We looked at opposites (tall/short; big/small) and at simple choreography. The “what” was given, but students had to choose the “when” and the “how”, and to some extent, the “where.” Let’s take a look at a couple of products that came out of this work:

  • First, Lida gets students to recognize the difference between short and tall, and gets students to repeat the entire sentence–something so important when asking student to learn fluency.
  • Students are given what to say. You must use Big/Small/Short/Tall. But how you do it, what order you do it, how many times you do it, is up to you.
  • The second time through, we do it again, but this time, you have to move in space.

So what does this get us? Understanding of antonyms. It’s building vocabulary. And it’s also putting them on the stage. Where they have to be understood. Where they have to enunciate and communicate. And be brave.


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