Sunday, 23 November 2008

The Fire Dance

Well, I couldn't show the videos of fire to the class (of 5-6 year olds) because not only was You Tube site blocked (as I suspected) but the blogger site was also blocked. There was no provision for teacher override so I checked on the BBC (which is not blocked) and found none there. We just had to talk about it, which was very unsatisfactory for the 2 children who are just learning English. I didn't even have a still picture of a fire because the picture searches are blocked too. And by the time I had found all this out it was time for the lesson.

However, these two unfortunate boys aside, the lesson went really well. All the children had had some experience of a fire. There was a lively discussion giving descriptions of fire and one girl said the flame of a candle acted totally differently to the flames in a bonfire.

We went to the hall and they showed me how their bodies could interpret flames. The children suggested that sparks and smoke acted differently to flames so we interpreted them too.

When they had all practiced their interpretations, I called out different groups for the rest to observe. One girl asked if they could comment on the children's performance that they thought good! So they did and came up with great comments.

They then modified their interpretations and that was the end of the first lesson. This was without any music.

At the beginning of the next week's lesson we listened to the music, Trisch Trasch Polka by Strauss ( 2.45 minutes) and freely interpreted the 3 elements of the fire - flames, sparks and smoke.

More watching groups and commenting on good interpretations.

They then talked about shaping the dance. Lots of good suggestions were incorporated into a beginning of an unlit bonfire, gradually catching fire, then sparks flying off around the room, then smoke, then the flames dying down.

It is wonderful to work with a class with good imagination and good communication skills. My planning for this series of lessons was minimal because I wanted the children to shape it. This has paid off and they have exceeded my expectations.

The next lesson will be refining the shaping, giving people 'roles' and talking about costumes.

My plan is to peform this at an assembly.