Let’s Dance

18 08 2010

Beach Ballerina Girl by Mike BairdOne of the things about being prepared to teach primary school is that, with a few exceptions¹, you are expected to teach across the curriculum in every area of learning.For many of my fellow students this meant the fear of being asked to teach Maths, Science, and Technology. No sweat for me, I’m a biologist. But how about something like the Creative Arts?

Luckily, I consider myself a bit of a homo universalis – and dabble a bit in the Arts myself. I was on Australian Idol, thank you very much. You can look at my Flickr to see I enjoy visual arts – mostly photography, collage and sometimes drawing. I also did senior Drama at high school, enjoy the occasional roleplay, and will compulsively consume any movie available to me. But then there is the final dimension of the Arts – Dance. Now some people might consider my singing pretty bad, but that’s nothing compared to catastrophe produced by the uncoordinated disrhythmic spasms of my lanky frame to sounds.

Despite around four years in the schools music tour group, the grace to perform dancing more complicated than a rocker’s headbang tended to elude me. Luckily though, it was gracelessness, not denseness that prevented me from carving up the floor, so the general theory of dance as well as handful of moves from country, jazz, ballroom, hip-hop and other genres still lies buried within my neocortex – so I can fulfill the age old teacher’s mantra – Those who can’t, teach.

Below is my basic dance lesson for middle to upper primary students (8-12 year olds), which could probably be adapted for lower secondary. I used it in my government interview portfolio to demonstrate, that while I am the highly desired young, male math and science primary school teacher, I am oh so much more (and modest, too!²)

Using curriculum language, the lesson aims to give students the opportunity to create with peers a series of simple rhythmic patterns of swinging movements with various body parts to a 4/4 time signature to synthesise a short movement sequence for presentation to the class.

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Drama, drama, drama

17 05 2010

Some classroom dramas I can do without. But classroom drama is another thing entirely.

I’ve been slowly trying out a few theatre-games I’ve found on this website. Some with after-school care and some in the classroom.

I’m finding theatre games can be tricky with younger kids. For one, even the most attention-seeking children can become shy when put on the spot, and secondly, they often have trouble expressing more complex ideas.

I really enjoy the Name Game #2 – very useful in learning students names. I also tried Emotion Party, The Park Bench and You (the last is a little crazy).

I think next I might like to have a go with Open Scenes, which could solve the problem of not being able to come up with dialogue.

It’s fun to stay at the Y…

29 06 2009

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

…oh … Mr Skeletor … you crack me up

Dance: Harder, Faster, Stronger

24 08 2008

Kind of fitting as we bid goodbye to the Olympics.

Apparently there are quite a few similar videos out there.

Hattip: Dave.

Ainu pride parade

23 08 2008

Japan Today reports about an Ainu Revival Parade in Hokkaido.

Combining modern J-Hip-Hop and traditional Ainu garb and dance, young persons troupe Ainu Rebels is hoping to instill pride in local indigenous peoples and awareness of the cultural heritage the Ainu hold.

The article details some of the mixed progress being made since the official recognition by the Japanese government of Ainu as “an indigenous people with a distinct language, religion and culture”. Discrimination, awareness and native pride still remain large issues. The governments committee on Ainu futures only contains one self-identified Ainu member.

Positive developments have been the positive response amongst the nation’s youth about cultural awareness. Apparently ethnic is “hip”. I’m not sure if this entirely great news, but maybe it is something? I’m also unsure about the increase in ethnic minorities amongst popular entertainers, it leans towards exploitation and fad movements, rather than anything more solid. I’d be more impressed if statistics were produced detailing increased literacy levels in Japanese language amongst minorities, college acceptance rates, or numbers in fields such as science, health, politics, engineering and education.

Below the fold I’ve included a short summary of my very limited and malinformed Ainu knowledge.

For some real information please visit The Ainu Association of Hokkaido’s English website.

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