Week #28 in Shanghai

This week my 6th grade class continued their dance unit. Last week we explored breath, levels, mood, twisting, bending, reaching, and stretching in creative movement/modern dance concepts. The students also worked in groups and created sequences of movement that depicted one of the four zodiac elements (air, water, fire and earth). At the end, the students guessed which elements the groups were attempting to depict, and described what qualities made their sequences the most interesting to watch. It was a great experience to watch the shy students express their emotions and feelings in a new way. I really came to understand how the students felt and thought based on the way they moved their bodies and in the way they described their artistic process.

This week the sixth grade class is working on two tap dance combinations. One, in spirit of the rainy Shanghai weather, "Singing in the Rain", and the other, "42nd Street", from the Broadway musical of the same name. We are also working on a stomp/rhythmic combination in anticipation of hip-hop dance next week.

My 5th grade and 7/8th grade classes are working on the rock wall. We have our daily Super Monkey challenge where students move vertically up the wall to touch the black line, and climb back down to have their two feet on the mat as many times as they can in two minutes. In order to win the Super Monkey (stuffed animal) award, they need to scale the wall 30 times. Many of the students have been improving quickly, going from only five times in two minutes, to 15 or 16 times in two minutes! We've also been practicing our flag up/flag down relay, along with adding climbing obstacles for the students to climb over (or around, as some of the less skilled climbers tried to do).

Most exciting for the students has been the Super Mario Brothers climbing activity, where they attempt to collect as many coins and "lives" as they can for the duration of the game theme song. I'll also be introducing a "50 states" climbing game, and I would love to try to incorporate Mount Rushmore somehow since the students are learning about it in their history classes, but I have to find a vendor to enlarge photos of the Presidents for me!

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