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Exercise 7.1: Revisiting Maple Keys

This is an excerpt from Elementary Dance Education With HKPropel Access by Janice E. Pomer.

Lesson Plan Suggestions

Kindergarten Through Grade 3
First lesson: Revisiting Maple Keys (exercise 2.1)

Grades 4 Through 6
First lesson: Revisiting Maple Keys (exercise 2.1)

Revisiting Maple Keys (exercise 2.1)

In their journal entries, students were asked to imagine how they might feel if they were a maple key, dangling from their parent tree and then falling to the ground. Some students may have compared the experience to children growing up and leaving home or students graduating from elementary school and moving to the next level in their education. This is a movement structure you could use for the school analogy.

Kindergarten Through Grade 3 Variation

Instructions

  1. Collectively create a short movement phrase to symbolize each of the following:
    • Learning new things at school
    • Playing together
    • Friendship
  2. Establish an order for the phrases and practice them together.
  3. Collectively create a short movement phrase to symbolize saying goodbye.
  4. Add that phrase to the end of the first three phrases.
  5. Independently ask students to perform a short, on-the-spot solo depicting how they might feel after they’ve left their friends and prepare to go to a new school. It might convey these emotions:
    • Feeling alone
    • Worried
    • Excited
    • Nervous
  6. Then finish with a second solo to convey how they feel once they’ve met new friends and are enjoying their new school. It might convey these emotions:
    • Strong
    • Independent

Fear/nervous.
Fear/nervous.
Strong/brave.
Strong/brave.

Divide your class into three or four groups and invite your students to perform their solos for each other. Afterward, perform all sections of the dance; the first four phrases depict feelings of community, the first solo phrases depict feelings upon leaving their community, and the second solo phrases show their strength and independence.

Grades 4 Through 6 Variation

Instructions
For this exercise, you can assign groups of students the same structure as the kindergarten through grade 3 variation or create your own structure by inviting your students to review their journal entries for exercise 2.1 and share them with the class. Write their ideas on a flip chart and let them create their own structure for the dance. Whether your class selects a theme and structure of their own or you follow the format for younger grades, make sure you do the following:

  1. Clearly outline the required content your students will need to adhere to (ideas for specific movement phrases) and provide a time line (how long the phrases can be and how much time students have to work before presentation).
  2. Divide your class into working groups.
  3. Select a piece of music.
  4. Check in with your students regularly while they work.

Discussion Suggestions

For kindergarten through grade 3 and the other older classes that followed the idea of moving on to a new grade or school, ask these questions:

  • “How did you communicate the classroom community in the first section of the dance?”
  • “How did the dance change when it was time to say goodbye?”
  • “How did you approach creating your solos? Which emotions did you focus on communicating?”

For grades 4 through 6, if your students used other structures and interpretations, create your own discussion questions.

Journal Entry for All Grades

“Draw or write about the commonalities between the way seedlings and humans grow.”

More Excerpts From Elementary Dance Education With HKPropel Access