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  • The music in this era sounds for the people to enjoy than for the queens and kings to please.  The songs seem to be easy for everyone to sing together, so they will be able to bring up the spirits. I played a band arrangement of Chester. It was interesting to see and hear the lyrics.  "Less rules and more freedom" is apparent.  If I find a band arrangement for the music in this era for the 6th graders, I will ask them to work.

  • Chester was  very patriotic and inspiring! I would have students compare/ contrast with our current national anthem.Liberty and Jefferson was a very fun dance. I would teach it whole group before splitting into smaller groups. I would use it any time students needed a movement break. The waltz was also fun. I would have students mirror their partner's movements before connecting for a waltz . If steps were too confusing, I might put tape down to show where to place the feet. For the reel and the waltz, I would have students listen to the rhythm and if they wanted to bring in  modern songs with the same rhythm,  we could try them for the dances.

  • I always hated history in HS because the classes were soooo dry.  Dry.  Dry.  It wasn't until I started using history in the classroom that it got interesting, because I could SEE what the players looked like.  Tying together fashion and architecture and dance with what was important to the citizens helped me better understand what drove their lives and politics.  Hearing that George Washington modeled his diplomacy structure around the Virginia Reel makes me understand how basic and uneducated early American politics were.  Knowing that someone of my political stature wouldn't be able to dance until laaate in the evening gives me an idea of how the regular people might have felt about royalty.  

    Adding music and dance to the curriculum give me more ways to learn and remember history.  If I'm doing what they did 9n 1750, it makes that time period more real to me, puts me in their mindset, makes me apply their thinking to what was going on at the time.  It makes history a lot more fun for me.

  • First off, I LOVE the waltz.  I got to learn it earlier this year when I did a production of "Sense & Sensibility."  It is lovely and graceful and I can't help smiling.  Music and dance is powerful in this way.    It would be pretty easy to incorporate this and other dances into my Drama classes.  It would be harder to get the waltz into my Language Arts or Geography classes, I have to ponder the idea a little longer.  Finding ways to use it as brain breaks is a good possibility.

    National Anthem lyrics can be used to explore other countries.  We could begin with using "Chester" in the U.S. and talk about why they think the anthem may have changed.  Other English speaking country anthems would be easy to work into classroom discussions.  I wonder how easy it would be to find translations of anthem lyrics of other non-English speaking countries.  I know that Culturegrams has the anthem music for each country.  We could even then create "class anthems" or create an anthem of an invented country/civilization.

    Jefferson & Liberty was fun, even though our group got a little confused about getting from circle to lines.  This could be another fun brain break.

  • I think the students will like the liveliness of the "Jefferson and Liberty" reel.  Even though our group had a difficult time keeping the same partner when we did this after lunch, we were still able to keep it smooth.  Getting back out for the "equal sign" position proved the most complicated.  I think this would be one students would request even as a brain break once they have it down.  Since teaching about the Constitution is required every September, I think this would be a fun dance to incorporate at that time.

    Since I teach a 4/5/6 combo, for "Chester," I would have students work in partners to mark and discuss any vocabulary they may not know.  It would also be interesting to have each student choose one word they felt was most important in the song and go around the room calling out their one word.  There are a lot of strong adjectives and verbs in this song.

  • Waltz--How much fun!!!  I forgot how much fun the waltz is.  This was my first time  dancing male.  It was exhilirating!  Before doing this I was thinking,"NO WAY would I do this with middle schoolers."  Now I think I might just do this as part of our dance unit.  Thank you for the rules of how you select the dance partners.  That is one of my concern teaching any partner dances.  At one school we did the grand march to assign original partners.  That work well there but I am now at a school without as many willing PE/Dance teachers.  I really like introducing this as pair with social studies. 

       One of the strategies that I was considering was teaching one "old" (historical) dance with one modern (hip/hop -cheesy dance).

      The colonial reel that we learned would be great for direction following in PE during the first few weeks. It would probably be with my 7th graders but I would tie it with SS by review of 5th grade and preview of 8th grade.

       I have been trying to match the dancing with SS standards, curriculum and pacing guide.  I seem to be having some difficulty really matching them.  Hopefully the next part on African influence.

  • I like the social aspect of the colonial/Revolution Era.  The group "Jefferson & Liberty" dance was fun and uplifting.  I think my elementary classes could easily do it.  I would tell them if you can count to 16, you can do this dance.  I would break down each section and repeat as many times as needed before putting the whole dance together.  I don't think I would stress having the same partner each time the group split into 2 lines.  I would want the two closest to the music face one another initiating the formation of two distict lines.  As they notice the group has formed the lines, then exit behind to form the bridge with their hands.  I also think those two should gather the circle when the last pair have gone under and keep the count of the 16 to the left.

    The waltz is a great partner dance.  Visualizing a square helped me.  I think with my students I would stick with the basic step as long as it took until it looked mastered by the majority before adding the spin and side-by-side.  I love how the partners have a safe proximity from one another.  They still move as a unit, but it isn't invading personal space.

  • I'm a lot more comfortable with reel type dances, so the Jefferson & Liberty dance was right up my alley. I could use this during a Revolutionary War unit quite easily, and it would be a nice diversion from some of the heavier readings we do. I think it would be really fun to learn several dances from the era and then have the kids wear some simple Colonial costumes, and have a Colonial Times dance. I would have to do a lot more research and learn some of the other reel dances popular during that time, and think maybe this will be my focus for my final project.

    Although I am more comfortable with the reel dances, I do see the benefit of teaching waltzes, as well. Would like to teach the kids a waltz and include this in our Colonial Times dance.

    During our Colonial Times dance I think we could also have some Patriotic songs to sing along to, and perhaps have a couple of students pose as historical figures who might stand up and try to rouse our participants to fight the British. ☺
  • I thought the Jefferson and Liberty dance was fast, fun, and easy ~ once you got the hang of it. I teach 5th grade social studies every other year, and I think this would be a perfect dance to do with my students. It's not in hold, so dancing becomes less threatening. It seems like we all laughed often, and I think the students would, too. I really think they would enjoy this dance and the ties to the American revolution.
    Waltzing brings back positive memories ~ dance classes with my husband ~ and unpleasant memories ~ dancing class, or Fortnight, at Bobby Rivers Dance Studio when I was in 7th grade. That was miserable! I think I'd have to ease into waltz very, very slowly! I'd be willing to tackle the waltz if I had a group of students who wanted to learn and weren't forced into becoming civilized human beings by their parents, as we all were in 7th grade.

  • I really enjoyed thus era of study. "Chester" makes for a great historical/lyrical analysis. The lines are rich in history, symbolism, and meaning. For this I would first have the students listen to the piece without the lyrics in front of them and do an open writing reflection about what they heard, and what meaning they derived from it. I would then hand out lyrics for analysis likely using pair and share followed by group discussion.

    Although I thoroughly enjoyed the waltz (even the added difficulty of being a "boy") I feel I will be less likely to integrate this into my classroom. I think I would be much more apt to show a video clip. I'd possible, I think this would be a very cool thing to have guests come in and teach - perhaps covering a few different era styles of dance to include the waltz and a few more modern dances.
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