This month we are Dancing in the Winter Woods! Every Thursday we host our own dance class. These are 30-45 min lesson plans mapped out by Mother Goose Time. For this week the theme of the dance was Dancing in the Forest.
There are two constants in every dance lesson. The Warm up and the cool down. These are both good because the children know when the beginning and end of the lesson is happening. It also introduces them to good workout habits. Before we start I am sure to explain why we are doing a warm up. "SO WE CAN LOOSEN OUR MUSCLES!!!" So we work really hard on getting ready to move so we wont have any injuries.
In the lesson plan book the lessons are mapped out with a pattern, dance, activity, dance. This gives the children a break between dances and gives the teacher a chance to slow the pace and gear up for the next dance. For last weeks theme we worked on patterns, letter sounds and the art was a tree hat. Something different I have noticed is that there are no longer art activites for every week. This makes it easier to gather supplies for the dance classes every month.
For my dance classes I use the video but you could very well use the CD if you are more comfortable that way. I have noticed that the children are beginning to look at me more as I dance with them off to the side. So I have decided to give running the class from beginng to the end a try for the next dance lessons and seeing if those run better or if we should keep using the video. The video can also just be used for help during transitions while prep is happening for new activities or bathroom breaks.
This month our favorite dance was Lumberjack! We actually did this dance twice and the third time we did a pattern through out the entire song. The song is very catchy and using it for patterns was a great idea. I watched the children actually try out their own patterns during their free play time.
Letter Sounds activity actually led my older children to sight read the words hop, jump, step and run. I am so proud of them for this! It was fantastic! I asked them the next day and showed them the words and they retained the memory. Which confirms what I have been saying about combining the learning of reading with physical activities to help them retain the information better. Doing the activity of the word and having to watch for it before doing it reinforced for them the lesson to wait.
Over all I have been very impressed so far with the lessons mapped out for the month. They are all a good balance of high energy and calming influences. Along with the reinforcements for certain concepts like math, reading and fine motor skills, its hard to think of a reason why I wouldn't keep this included in my program for a long time to come.