Teaching the Alphabet Dance
Today I spent the morning with a team of teaching artists for The Song Room. The Song Room will soon be publishing the resource I wrote for them last year on my Alphabet Dance project idea (which I also described in detail on this blog here, here and here, if you want to check it out) and today’s workshop was to introduce the project to the Teaching Artists, who work in schools across Victoria. The idea is that they will introduce it to the teachers in their schools, and we hope that its broad appeal will mean we start to see little waves of alphabet dances fanning out across the state.
You couldn’t ask for a better bunch of workshop participants! This group took the idea of the Alphabet Dance and made it their own. Basically, the idea is to assign a movement to each letter of the alphabet, then use these to spell words and create dances. I had a feeling the Teaching Artists would come up with something truly original, and they didn’t disappoint.
They chose to create dances on a theme of Astronomy. We developed a chorus:
The stars [clap] and planets [clap]
Yeah, they’re really cool [clap]!
All claps on off-beats. We naturally fell into a side-step move while doing this, and a lot of vocal additions and embellishments (Ah yeah!… That’s right!… ah-huh, ah-huh…. Because the-… etc).
Then they created dances using the alphabet on the words Flash Gordon, Ziggy Stardust, and Battleship FTL-Drive. Huge commitment to every gesture. A drummer accompanying us, giving it even more momentum. It definitely showed the potential of the project idea. Thanks all, that was a great high-energy workshop!
The Alphabet Dance gets kids spelling out loud, and offers new motivations for thinking about how different words are spelt. I have found that children who are struggling with literacy get a lot of confidence and enjoyment with the Alphabet Dance – they are highly motivated to learn the different moves, and the order of the letters. There are lots of follow-on activities you can do once you have built an alphabet of moves – consider putting together flicker books that spell out words using photos of the different dance moves, for example. Of creating large-scale wall friezes of all of the ‘letters’, drawn or photographed, or sketched as stick figures (for those like me who are challenged in the visual art department).
Members of the Song Room (schools participating, or previously participating in Song Room programs who have signed up for membership) will be able to download the resource from The Song Room website when it is launched later this month.