Thursday, January 12, 2006

Yesterday I had a coverage of Class 1 for dance again. First we did some yoga. The kids remembered some of it! They still giggled and fell over and stuff.

And then I proceeded to teach them the Electric Slide. As I told them, I first learned it in sixth grade, so it was fitting that I passed it down to them at that same age. Yeah. Anyway, I counted fours about a bazillion times, and led them in slowly doing the hop-step-brush-turn thing at the end of the set. We Electrically Slid many times, and some of the kids were just generally moving in the directions instead of stepping, and seeing it made me laugh and lose count. Just helpless shuffling. Aw, poor rhythmless children. :)

A few girls and boys both sat down about halfway through; I guess they were fed up or hopeless or bored. But a good chunk of the class stuck it out and seemed to really get the hang of it. These two kids, a boy and a girl, really did get it. They were on beat, counting themselves, and doing well. This boy in particular was great, adding in his own attitude and boogying. This kid is awesome; he's very smart and driven, but he's also an old man trapped in an eleven-year-old body. When it was my birthday party a few months ago (yeesh!), he came up and said quietly and solemnly, "Ms C, does this have high cholesterol? Cause if it does, I can't eat it. I have high cholesterol."
Anyway, he's a champion dancer in the making.

It would be so cool--if I had time and training and money--to do the ballroom dancing program in my school!

Today I brought in a CD with the song on it, but I couldn't find them on their dance class period. So another time they'll get to dance to the music. Awesome.

Today we had fun, kind of. A good lesson, in any case.

The motivation ended up being the mini-lesson, too, sort of. Their first task was to write the four kinds of figurative language that we've done this year: type, definition, and example. Since we've gone over it multiple times, but it's been awhile, I said they could get information from their previous notes; I would not give them the information again.

The second task was to write down the names and definitions and examples of the other two major figurative language (personification and hyperbole) that we had not yet covered. And try to write an example of their own.

I let them talk in groups for about three minutes, comparing definitions and examples. Then each table explained one type of figurative language. We quickly reviewed the two new types, and they came up with more examples.

Then it was time to put the theory into practice with something that had been stewing in my mind for a week or so. I played Simon and Garfunkel, I Am a Rock. The first few lines have about six examples of figurative language:

A winter’s day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

They totally loved the song, bopping their heads when the drums kicked in after the second line. I love that, seeing these wanna-be tough pre-teens grovving to old folk pop songs.

They had to listen and write down the figlang they heard, and identify the type. We also learned two new vocabulary words: shroud and stoic. The second in reference to our analysis of comparing oneself to a rock. I had to push them a bit with the rock and island metaphors, but they mostly got it.

Oh, and then I fast-forwarded to the very end, where it concludes:

I am a rock,
I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;

And an island never cries.

More figurative language and more continued analysis. One student even said that he was "proud and lonely." And that, friends, is very concisely it!

The lesson was awesome, easy, and engaging for all of us. Score!


ms. frizzle said...


You don't need any training or time (well, classroom time, yes, but nothing else) to get the ballroom dancing program at your school.

You do need a lot of money.

They have a middle school program for 8th graders.

Here's the info - maybe you could talk to an administrator about it for next year or something? Schools DO have money available for stuff like this, if they REALLY want it.

Rebecca said...

Another excellent Simon and Garfunkel song! Man, I wish I'd had you as a teacher when I was in elementary school.