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  • I really enjoyed the dances from this period, especially the reel, "The Campbells" are coming and the waltz. I can really see using reels in my classroom. They are fun, informal, and students don't have to dance with partners. It also fits perfectly with the 5th grade social studies which centers on the 13 colonies and the American Revolution. I will mostly be in charge of math, but I can see having a reel as a carrot at the end, or a stretch break. The waltz was also really fun. It took a lot of brain power in the beginning to count the steps (not as complicated as the minuet, but still). I did not realize that a lot of modern songs are also based on the waltz rhythm. Cool! After listening to the count I realize that a lot of Mexican songs/ballads have the waltz count. Since I teach in a Spanish Immersion program, what a great way to reinforce the curriculum as well! We have several whole school performances a couple times a year. One is right before Christmas break, and the other one is to celebrate 5 de Mayo. Now that I know some of the basic waltz steps I am excited about finding which Latin American country/ranchero/ballad songs fit and teaching my students to dance that step for one of these programs.
  • Jefferson and Liberty is such a fun transition out of the minuet.  Showing how the social structures are loosening up a bit as well as the fashion styles.  Using Chester during revolutionary war lessons can impress my young 5th and 6th graders how they could have been on the front lines being shot at as the drummer boys or fifes especially now when so many of their fathers are at war.  The Waltz is such an easy dance to learn to show students "real" partner dancing.  

  • Keeping in mind that I teach Kindergarten who may or may not know how to count...I think this would be an EXCELLENT lesson to tie into my math curriculum! When dancing the Jefferson, dancers need to be able to count to 16 twice, then HALF of 16 (which is 8). It opens up great discussion for teen numbers, halves, equal signs, circles, and right/left.
    If that dance wasn't enough of a lesson, the waltz has a 1, 2, 3 count which I would extend to a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 count just to tie in more numbers. We dance every day and do mostly disco moves, but I would love to add in some history and culture to our mornings!
  • I really enjoyed learning the Jefferson & Liberty Dance.  I could easily use this to introduce the American Revolution Unit I do with my class.  I think it would get kids really jazzed about the unit, and of course give them a nice brain break from the long day.  Furthermore, it would get kids to use teamwork and cooperation to encourage each other learn the moves and steps that go with each part of the song.

    "Chester" sounded very Patriotic and as though it was used to inspire troops as they were off to battle.  To me I imagined the troops sitting in a church or large auditorium, possibly praying prior to leaving to do their part in the war.  Then the music starts and they sing the song together united prior to the next fight.  I could see having students try to analyze the meaning in the song- particularly the line "And Gen'rals yield to beardless Boys".

    A-ha!  It's interesting how the waltz really IS still around in contemporary music.  I could see why using more recent tunes to practice this with our students would be easier.  The song would be more familiar, and kids might be more motivated to learn the dance.  It seemed easy on paper, but definitely was a little tougher than I had originally thought.  This might be a challenging one to teach during the unit as I'd definitely need to master it myself prior!  I think the kids would have a lot of fun though, but again, I know I'll have to deal with getting kids to be comfortable enough to hold each other and allow the male to lead.

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