By: Maria Royals, 2016 National Dance Education SHAPE America® Teacher of the Year
Name Dancing Back to School
Teacher Task #1. GET TO KNOW YOUR KIDS
Everyone (students, teachers and administrators) starts the year with enthusiasm and energy, hoping to do their very best and have a great year. I think it is important to get to know your kids right away. Firstly, so that you can accurately grade and provide feedback for their participation in activities, and secondly, so that they know you care enough to get to know them. This can be difficult, especially if you are in a new school or get an entirely new grade level from year to year. For the last few years, I have been playing “The Gesture Game” with my kids to help us get to know one another right away.
How to Play the Gesture Game
Make a big circle. If your class has more than 25 kids, you might want to break into two circles. You will need a strong leader for both groups.
Each person is going to have to come up with their own gesture. A gesture is a simple hand movement from everyday life. This could include: snapping or clapping, waving, spreading the fingers wide, making spirit fingers, any component of the hand jive, baseball signals, the “I’m watching you” gesture, arms folding, raspberries, etc.
One at a time, going around the circle, each person will say their name and perform their gesture simultaneously. They perform it once alone, then everyone else performs it with them.
Add on each person’s name and chosen gesture to the sequence, so that you end up with a long series of movements and names; almost like a dance. Keep going back to the beginning with each addition so that you reinforce those names/gestures. Everyone has to remember everyone else’s name and gesture in order to get through it.
Start the next class by getting back into the circle and reviewing your name dance.
Join Maria Royals along with other 2016 National SHAPE America® Teachers of the Year for a free webinar “Back to School: Setting the Tone for Success.”
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