2.08.2011

Kindergarten Dancing People

I was thinking of a way to make drawing people more interesting for kindergarten students.  I always enjoy kindergarten people because there is such a range in abilities - some students need a challenge while others are still working on finding their bodies! 

I ran across a lesson using a book called "Giraffes Can't Dance" in which the students drew dancing giraffes - I modified this this idea for my lesson.

I gathered the students to read the book about Gerald the Giraffe.  As we read I ask them to explain how they know the animals are dancing!?  I always get a variety of answers but we always end up knowing they are dancing because it looks like they are moving - bent body parts.

After the book is over I explain that as a class they are going to play 'Freeze Dance'.  Many of them get very excited (I do as well).  The rules of freeze dance are easy: 1) Stay on feet at all times (kindergartners tend to like to break dance) 2) Stay behind own chair (cuts down on impacts) 3) In control at all times.  The students get one specific warning - if they get a second they have to sit down and just watch.

No one is forced to dance - though almost all students do or end up dancing by the end.  We also talk about, like in the book, that on one will be laughed at for how they dance!  I play all sorts of music for about 15-20 seconds each.  I then, pause the music and the students freeze -- looking at each others posses - lots of bent arms, legs, bodies!

After a handful of songs the students sit and take a breather and I draw three pictures on the board and label them 1, 2, 3.  The students then hold up their fingers accordingly to tell me which one is dancing - so they hold up one finger if the first one is dancing... ect.

Next, I pass out fairly large paper 11x18 and tell the kids to draw BIG!  We really focus on having bent arms and legs.  After they draw their person they are in charge of deciding where their person is dancing: on the moon, in the ocean, outside, inside.... then they outline with a Sharpie.

The next class period the students and I talk a lot about coloring IN not OVER their work.  Many of my kindergarteners get so excited that they color over their pictures instead of coloring them in.  We also talk about how they should pick out colors that make sense - no one has green, blue, purple, red, or orange skin!!!

When they are done coloring their people I let them fill in the background using texture plates.  The texture plates are like magic!

This is a project they can all succeed at and have a bit of fun.

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