Enhancing Dance in Your #PhysEd Program

How many of you out there dread the time of year when the Dance & Movement part of your program arrives? How many of you feel underprepared and uncomfortable teaching dance & movement? How many of you teach the Nutbush, Cotton Eye Joe, The Macarena?
The quality of teaching & learning of dance and movement composition in #PhysEd programs often leaves a lot to be desired.iPhys-Ed.com is here to help with some simple ways to ENHANCE DANCE in your #PhysEd program.

Use current popular music

I'm sure everyone is using Gangnam style this year in your Dance program. It's infectious and even the most steadfast boys who refuse to dance can't refuse. 1 billion hits and counting! Apart from this, find out what other music your students like and use that as a basis for your dance lessons. There is no reason why Gangnam Style or One Direction can't be used to teach 4 step beats in the same way Nutbush was, or Coldplay's Fix You to teach classical dance. Think outside the box and find out what music your kids want and you are well on your way to maximizing participation in dance.

Dance with your students

Making a fool out of yourself in front of your students is the quickest way to gain their respect and have them lose their inhibitions about dance. If you are not dancing, then why should they. We all love to do it in the bar/club so why not dance in school.

Music Maps

A great introductory activity for kids of all ages that helps to tune students into listening to the speed, rhythm and beat of the music in a unique way.  All you need for each student is a marker and an A3 sheet of paper and a variety of music.
When the music start have the students "Let the marker dance across the page" moving to the speed and rhythm of the music. Change songs every 10 seconds or so, making sure to use a variety of styles. 
Below is an example of a student's completed Music Map.
The next step is to ask the students to now follow their Music Map with their body. Play the selection of music and have the students move freely trying to follow their map. This can also be done stationary, with students aiming to interpret their map using different body parts. You can see a video of the entire Music Map process here - http://issphysed.weebly.com/11/post/2013/01/so-you-think-you-can-dance.html


I know there has been a lot of debate within the #PhysEd community at the moment about the place Exergaming has in schools and curriculum, however there are so many fantastic games out there on consoles like  Wii and Xbox Kinect that can enhance your dance program. If you don't have access to one of these machines you can do a simple search on YouTube to find videos of these games to display on your SmartBoard or projector.
These games have really provided a vital teaching tool for Physical Educators who find teaching dance challenging in the last few years. They are easy to follow, the kids love them and they really get the heart beat raised. I use these as a way of getting ALL of the children moving and excited on dance, it drags those students who are hesitant in once they have broken the ice, you have them for the rest of the dance unit.

Enhancing Dance

These are just a few simple ways to enhance dance in your #PhysEd program. Don't feel embarrassed to get up and dance with your kids, use current music and be prepared to experiment with your teaching strategies through using tools like Music Maps and Exergaming devices. iPhys-Ed.com also encourages all you Team #PhysEd members out these to share your ideas about Enhancing Dance!

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