Brain Break: The Little Chick Cheep!

The Little Chick Cheep stickerI first heard this song in Spanish, and it CRACKED ME UP! It’s an international sensation, and it’s called “The Little Chick Cheep” (in English). It’s similar to the Old McDonald song in that it uses animal sounds, but it uses sounds of a hen, a rooster, a turkey, a pigeon, a cat, a dog, a goat, a sheep, a cow and a bull (teaching onomatopoeia!). It would make a great brain break, since it’s only 2:47 minutes long and kids everywhere LOVE it! Have your class make up actions to it! You could even use the animals as characters in a shared writing, to teach dialogue, etc. So without further ado, I give you the Little Chick Cheep!

(I kept trying to embed the video, but it wouldn’t show up right, so click here to see the video on YouTube. Sorry!)

Here’s some more information about the song.

Online Dance Resources

Dance resources stickerTeaching elementary school kids a dance lesson can be painful. It can be super fun, but it can also be painful. Here are some online resources to help make your dance lesson a little more fun:

Creative dance lesson plans from Go Bookee  

More ideas about elementary school dance.

Come on Over! (Dance Instructions)

So many teachers are intimidated by teaching dance or movement activities to their students. Here’s a pretty easy dance I came up with using simple movements most people already know or can pick up easily. The sequence repeats, giving kids a chance to learn it and progress throughout the song. Remember that it’s helpful to call out the actions ahead of time. I have listed the words you can day (C) and the actions you do (D). I’d suggest calling out the actions a few times by yourself before you try to teach it. Good luck and have fun!

SONG: Come On Over
ARTIST: Christina Aguilera
 
CHORUS/CONGA LINE                                                                                  COME ON OVER
Formation: Chorus Line/Conga Line                                           Rhythm: 4/4
Position: hand in low V/hands on shoulders                           Measure: 8
Footwork: all start left                                                                       Music: Come On Over (Christina Aguilera)
Grade Level: 5th/6th

INSTRUCTIONS

Grapevine– Step side L, cross R ft behind L, step side L, R ft touch next to L ft. Repeat grapevine to R. On second grapevine, place hands on shoulders of dancer in front of you in the conga line. On third grapevine, hands in low V. Repeat, switching hands each time.

Walk– Take 4 walking steps forward starting with L ft (LRLR). Walk back starts with L ft also.

Shoot– Similar to the two step. Start L to make the L unit. Step L ft diagonally left, R ft close to L ft, step L ft diagonally left. Repeat with R side for R unit. Hands in pointing the in the shape of pistols, doing same as feet.

Paddle– With weight on L ft, turn L 1 full turn as pushing R ft around at side to create momentum un 4 cts. Repeat R paddle.

Quarter Turn– Step L ft forward, touch R ft while turning to L, cross R ft over L, touch L foot. On repeat, formation becomes a conga line. On second repeat, formation changes back to chorus line.

MEAS             CALL

Intro     grapevine left do it now

1          (C) grapevine right do it now

(D) side behind side touch

2           (C) walk forward do it now

(D) side behind side touch

3         (C) shoot forward do it now

(D) walk walk walk walk

4          (C) walk back do it now

(D) step together step, step together step

5         (C) paddle left do it now

(D) walk, walk, walk, walk

6          (C) paddle right do it now

(D) paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle

7          (C) quarter turn do it now

(D) paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle

8         (C) grapevine left do it now

(D) step point, step point

Adding Movement to Your Lesson Plan… Seriously Easy

While studies have shown that involving students in learning and kinesthetic learning is are beneficial for students, many teachers are still hesitant.  Adding movement to your basic lesson plan is seriously easy. Check out this idea I whipped up in about .07 seconds: 
 
Subject: life cycle of a butterfly (egg, caterpillar, pupae, butterfly)
Target grade level: 1st grade
Elements of dance: Motion (axial and locomotor), Space (levels)
The children will demonstrate each of the stages of the cycle:
Egg– taking up small space and staying on the ground, controlling their bodies so that there is no movement.
            Caterpillar– staying low to the ground, move slowly around the room in a non-pedal way
Pupae– use an axial movement to “wrap up in a cocoon”. Then remain still so that you can be transformed into an adult butterfly.
Adult Butterfly– use axial movements to emerge from your cocoon, stretch your new wings, and then use a variety of locomotor movements and levels to fly away. 

Unique Contributions of the Arts

The arts are under fire in our schools. Funding is being cut, and standardized testing is forcing teachers to teach to tests. While it does take time and effort to include the arts in a teacher’s curriculum, it is very worthwhile. Here are just a few contributions from the arts:
  1. Culture –Culture encompasses all of the values, themes and activities that are important to a croup of people. By retaining, studying and expressing culture, students can strengthen their core knowledge of who they are. Educators can help children learn about themselves and the world around them by teaching culture through the arts.
  2. Competence/Control- Being able to control your emotions, thoughts and actions is a crucial skill that children need to succeed and be happy in life. As teachers, we can help students comprehend what is right and wrong in their thoughts, emotions and actions so they can maintain control and enjoy life. The arts teach control in a more effective way than most other disciplines.
  3. Communication-Communication is crucial in today’s society, not only for individuals, but for he world as a whole. The arts help students explore different ways of communicating a message to others, but students can have fun while doing so.
  4. Cooperation/Collaboration- Collaboration and cooperation help our world problem-solve and improve situations. It is crucial that students learn the value of working as a team to accomplish a single goal. The arts require multiple areas of skill, which com from many people. This requirement to work together to produce a beautiful piece of art can help teach students that people need each other and that all have something to contribute to life.
  5. Confidence- Confidence is empowering; it is what tells us we can go on when we get shaky. Confidence helps us accomplish things we thought we could never do. Teachers can instill in children confidence that will then lead them to accomplish great things. The opportunity to give this gift to a children is a blessing and teachers should help students develop self confidence every moment in the classroom.
Have more ideas? Please comment!

Using Dance to Teach Culture (Lesson Plan)

Lesson Title¡Bailamos!
Grade: 6th
Lesson Objective: Explore Mexican culture an learn greater appreciation for cultural differences

Resources:
            Time: 1 hour
           
Space: school cafeteria                                               
           
People: large group (whole class), uneven gender numbers, 6th graders
Materials: cafeteria sound system or portable boom box, map of North America

What Taught: Los Machetes (Page 110 of Creative Dance)


How Taught:

1.ANTICIPATORY:
Be aware of the children who might need extra help.
Review where Mexico is on the map.
Talk about what aspects of Mexican culture the kids understand before the unit.
Try to name things they know that are from Mexicoor that have Mexican influence.
Point out the Jalisco area in Mexico (the dance is from the Jalisco area).
2.MODELING AND INSTRUCTION:
Get in two circles.
Distinguish between the inside and outside circles (don’t say “men” or “women” since the groups may be uneven).
Teach the walk forward and clap.
Teach the walk backward with the hand clap.
Practice from beginning until this point, using correct calling techniques.
Teach the back away, making sure kids dance with correct partners.
Review and add the walk backward and walk forward.
Practice from beginning until this point, using correct calling techniques.
Teach the clap leg, practice multiple times before putting it with the other steps.
Practice from beginning until this point, using correct calling techniques.
Teach the star, sure kids understand how to work with their partner.
Practice entire dance, using correct calling techniques.
3.CHECKING FOR LEARNING:
Make sure kids only touch their partners during the Star.
Make sure all kids start on the left foot.
Call with he music.
Check to see if 75-80% of the kids were successful.
4.INDEPENDENT PRACTICE:
Play the music and have kids practice the dance without teacher calling.
If kids get confused at a certain point, review it and then call it through until they can do it without calling.
5.CLOSURE:
Eat Mexican desserts (churros, empanadas, biscochitos, etc) while listening to some of today’s popular Mexican artists.


HOW LEARNING IS DEMONSTRATED:
Make sure everyone understands the rhythm of the song.
Make sure everyone understands where the Jalisco area is in Mexico.
Make sure everyone understands the sequence of the steps.
Make sure everyone understands how and when to dance with or facing a partner.
EXTENSION AND APPLICATIONOF STUDENT LEARNING:
Read story Uncle Nachos Hatto introduce traditional Mexican clothing.
Read story Friends from the Other Side (by Gloria Anzaldua) (Story of a Mexican boy named Joaquin who crossed the Rio Grande River into Texas with his mom in search for a new life).
Make a Mexican Poncho.
Make a Mexican Pinata.
Make Tacos and discuss the basic foods eaten in Mexico(tortillas, beans, etc.)
Study the life and art of Diego Rivera. Have students discuss aspects of his most famous works.
Use copies of Kids Discover! Magazines to help kid give short oral reports on various aspects of Mexico.
Make Empanadas.
Learn about Dia de los Muertos and the significance it has to the Mexican people.
Make “El Ojo de Dios” (or God’s Eye) using yarn and popsicle sticks (this is an ancient symbol made by the Huichol of Mexico)


Integrating Science and Dance (Lesson Plan)

If you look for ways to incorporate movement (and dance) into your lessons, they’ll be a fabulous change of pace from other lessons. It’s not that hard, if you think from a movement point of view. For example…

Lesson Title: Earth’s Rotation
Learning Outcome: Students will demonstrate understanding of the Earth’s rotation by performing the Rotation Dance.
UT Science Standard 1, Objective 2:  Describe the movement of Earth and the moon and the apparent movement of other bodies through the sky. Describe the motions of Earth (i.e., the rotation [spinning] of Earth on its axis, the revolution [orbit] of Earth around the sun).
Grade Level: 3rdor 4th
Length of Lesson: 1-1 ½ hours
Materials: pictures of the earth, ball, music to dance to
Behavior Expectations: Participate in each activity; respond with movement instead of voices.
Instructional Plan:
a.       Experience/Identify
b.      Explore/Investigate
a.       Define the various terms involved by making movements (and using pictures as appropriate):
                                                                          i.      Sphere (like a circle). Have students make a 3D sphere shape with your body
                                                                        ii.      Axis Have students be a narrow shape reaching up and down, legs bending up and down.
                                                                      iii.      Planet (a large body of rock or gas that orbits the sun) – Students make a large shape. (Crossover) There are different size planets. Students show large and small planets.
                                                                       iv.      Earth (shaped like a sphere, or a circle) – Students draw circles with different body parts. (Crossover) Students draw a circle on a low level or a high level.
                                                                         v.      Tilted (The Earth’s axis is tilted or at an angle) – Students shift their weight to tilt to one side.
                                                                       vi.      Rotate (spinning or turning to one side on axis – the Earth rotates on its axis every 24 hours)- Student spin once in each direction.  (Crossover) Some planets spin very fast and some spin slow. Students spin both fast and slow.
                                                                     vii.      Orbit -is the path an object takes as it moves around another object. The Earth’s orbiting pathway is spherical. Students run in a circular pathway and back to their spot.
* use the ball to show terms you might have a hard time explaining with movement.
c.       Create/Perform
a.       Have students demonstrate the various terms as the teacher calls them out.
b.      Have students form small groups. Each student chooses a movement and dances it while the other group members try to identify what term was being demonstrated.
d.      Connect/Analyze
a.       Discussion: what other things rotate?
b.      Discussion: what are the effects of Earth’s rotation? (seasons, day/night, etc…)
Assessment of Learning: While the teacher calls out terms, observe students to check for understanding of concepts.

Why Creative Dance?

Creative dance should be included in elementary school curriculum because of its unique contributions. First, dance helps teach and reinforce culture. Culture encompasses all of the values, themes and activities that are important to a croup of people. By retaining, studying and expressing culture, students can strengthen their core knowledge of who they are. Educators can help children learn about themselves and the world around them by teaching culture through the arts. In addition, creative dance shows students the value of cooperation and collaboration. Collaboration and cooperation help our world problem-solve and improve situations. It is crucial that students learn the value of working as a team to accomplish a single goal. The arts require multiple areas of skill, which come from many people. This requirement to work together to produce a beautiful piece of art, and specifically creative dances, can help teach students that people need each other and that all have something to contribute to life. Teachers have an amazing opportunity to instill in their students life skills that cannot be taught as effectively in many other situations. If teachers use creative dance effectively, students will enjoy learning while they dance.
For more info, see Creating Meaning Through Literature and the Arts by C.Cornett (2007). Columbus, OH: Pearson Education, Inc.