The Community Brainstorm Project is exploring the idea of bringing together dance teachers in this community and sharing a snapshot of thoughts on a specific topic. My hope is that we learn new & useful ideas, it sparks new conversations, or perhaps pushes us to investigate a topic that we have never thought about in our own teaching. I’m really excited about hearing from every single one of you. After all, the best way to learn is from each other! – Maria
I start with my normal class exercises then we stretch half way through. After stretching, we usually turn the dance space into whatever world we want to create. For the snow scene, I ask the dancers if they are cold?! Most of the time they say YES! I then pretend it is snowing in the studio.
Usually the dancers suggest that we bundle up. So we pretend to put on our snow gear. We start with jackets and snow pants then boots and mittens, hats, scarves (they say they are Miss Lori with a scarf because often times I wear scarves to class). They love to tell me the color of their snow gear! Then we head “outside” We usually start with making snow angels all over the studio. We are careful to tiptoe around our angels so we don’t mess them up!! Then we make snowballs and toss them into the air. This requires us to do a BIG JUMP so they go really high!
Then we duck and cover so the snowball doesn’t hit us!! Usually they want to build a snowman. I make them use their bodies to build the snowman! We start by rolling to make the big base. We get very wide for this one. Then we do the middle section and roll not as long. We finish with the small head and only roll for a minute or two. The kids love to build the snowman.
Another lesson we do is ice skating. We love to ice skate around the room. It’s great to see how creative they get with their ice skating skills! It helps them learn balance, turning, and leaping/jumping! They love to twirl! We also catch snowflakes on our tongue. This was thought up by one of my little 2 year olds. She had her tongue out and when asked what she was doing, she said catching snowflakes! Cutest thing ever!
For the snow angles and snowballs, I use instrumental music. I found the “Frozen” soundtrack (minus the hit song “Let It Go” only because they (and I) love this song too much so it becomes a distraction) has wonderful instrumental music for different snow scene feels. For our snowman, the kids and I like Frosty the Snowman song. To ice skate, I go back to instrumental.
Age: Pre-K, K, 1
Read THE SNOWY DAY by Ezra Jack Keats. (We don’t get much snow in Texas, so I want to use a visual that shows a lot of snow!) Talk about snow and words that describe the snow. Students spread out and explore words: Swirling, Twirling, Floating, Gliding, Sweeping, Flying.
After exploring the words, pass out snowflakes (White tulle fabric—regular scarves or ribbons would work also). Move the words again. Then add the movements to music. If you want more structure, decide on a sequence of the words.
For a creative movement experience, have the students dance to the music with the snowflakes as they wish. The music is “Solace” by Scott Joplin. For contrast, use “Children’s Corner Suite: 1. The Snow is Dancing” by Debussy. (This piece starts slow and builds to a blizzard and returns to soft. It guides the movement a bit more.)
The combination of the music and scarves make a beautiful dance.
A few picture books about snow!
From Kerry Aradhya:
Last Chance for a Snow Day Dance
Twirly Whirly Snow Dance
Some more ideas for The Snowy Day book.
Have a lesson on snow you want to share? We would love to hear!
p.s. New York got a huge snow storm this week, so this post is perfect timing for me! How’s the weather where you are? If you are in a warm place, I am totally jealous! 🙂