Students love the arts: dance, drama, art and music. Currently, our school offers a performing arts program, but in an effort to benefit the most students, each class is receiving only one discipline for 10 weeks. My students would like to continue with activities learned in dance class.
My students were always excited about dance class because they were able to move their bodies to the music (shake off some energy), while learning academic vocabulary.
Two-thirds of my students are English Language Learners and learning through music and dance didn't feel like a task at all. We are a large urban school with about 1200 students. Our school receives funding from Title 1 and Bilingual funds. For most of my students, the performing arts program is the only means of enrichment. With so much energy and creativity, it is nearly inevitable that I integrate the arts with the daily academic curriculum.
During the 10 weeks of the dance class, I took meticulous notes of the activities the dance teacher taught my students. The class would always start with a "Brain Dance," and followed with other activities with the same purpose. I will continue with dance activities in my class. I also use music to enhance language arts and English Language Development lessons. For a lesson on "personification," students will be analyzing the song, "Talk of the Town" by Jack Johnson. Students will see how this type of figurative language exists in music and songs they actually like to listen to. Another example of how music enhances a lesson is "Shiny, Happy People," by R.E.M. In September, I used this song as part of my lesson to review nouns, adjectives and verbs. And yes, it was a successful lesson!
This project is important because my students need that little fun in their school life called enrichment, which has been cut short, due to the budget cuts.
I can only do so much with my low quality CD player. Sometimes it might play without skipping and other times not play at all. An iPod /dock would allow me to make an awesome playlist for dance, songs to use for Language Arts or English Language Development and provide my students with a reliable means of music.
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