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Negro Spirituals/Civil War (1861-1865)

This reflection is optional for you.  If you would like to share insights, connections or lesson ideas about this era please share them here.  (Quadrille, African Movement w/Noemia, Battle Hymn of the Republic, Wade in the Water, Cakewalk).  Thanks for a terrific first day!

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  • There is a Yup'ik dance that talks about paddling a kayak upriver to pick grass and other greens and to hunt swans. Many of the actions are similar to some of Noemia's movements. I think there is a tie-in to reenacting those everyday things that people do.

  • When I taught the Civil War era to my 5th graders I always taught Follow the Drinking Gourd as part of my lesson on the Underground Railroad. I am thinking about tying it to Alaska's Flag and Alaska Natives' use of the North Star to navigate.

  • Loved Noemia - what an awesome experience!  I would love to have her as a guest performer, my students would eat that up!  Also greatly enjoyed the Quadrille and feel this would fit nicely in a unit on the Civil War.  This is such a period of sadness and pulling apart in our history that it would serve as a nice break for the negativity and blood loss.  

  • It was all very useful, as I teach a unit on Civil War music/African American music and history to my 5th graders. Absolutely LOVED Noemia's lesson. I had taken an African Dance class before, and it seemed very confusing and ordered to me. I never could get it right. But Noemia seemed to flow effortlessly into movement representing the elements, and I felt that however I "interpreted" it and moved was OK. That it was ok to individually express the general movements she was teaching us that represented daily tasks and environments. I am thinking definitely K and primary classes with these movements. Thanks for everything today. It was all helpful and very interesting.

  • I loved the energy level of Noemia's dances.  At first I thought, I would not be able to lead students through such a creative, energetic dance.  Then, I thought about how she shared the connections between the culture and the movements.  Next year, we'll be studying the continents.  So, I thought, wouldn't it be great to have Noemia come share the African movements and then have students create their own movements reflecting the other cultures they study.

  • Loved loved loved the dancing with Noemia.  I think we are all going to be battling each other next year with our requests to get her into our class.  : )

    I thought of a fun literary extension tied to the call and response songs.  After studying the time period, have students take on a personality or role and make their own call and response song tied to what the person might be experiencing, and teach it to a small group.  I think this would be valuable to explore different perspectives - perhaps conductors on the underground railroad, plantation owners, freed blacks living in the north, various politicians, slaves, slave catchers, etc.

  • The Quadrille was great!  I can't remember the last time I danced the whole thing- definitely something simple and fun that I could lead my students in, and I'm sure they'd enjoy it.

    It was SO much fun following Noemia in the African Movement Dances!  I don't know if I could ever lead them, but I would LOVE to have her or another expert in that area teach my kiddos!  I was beat when I left...Baby Boy is definitely learning some awesome moves early on! ha

  • I very well could be mixing up the Jefferson and Quadrille between this posting and the last, but like I wrote in my last reply, I really like the square dancing one. I can teach my young students math through that dance (teen numbers, halves, L/R).
    Noemia was EXCELLENT! I am so thankful to have such a kind and talented woman in our community that we can use as an instructor/resource to our students! She was so supportive of my floundering about and made me feel like I, too, could learn how to be as majestic as her. :) I would love to integrate some of these dance concepts into my lessons when teaching the children about Africa!
  • Noemia's dance lesson was super fun and expressive! I like the ideas several have posted here about tying it in with regular activities and then dramatizing them. Since I will primarily be teaching math next year, I am also trying to figure out ways to integrate it with math. One idea that came to mind, was to have a dance for the multiplication tables. There are a number of stories to teach multiplication. Some of these could be dramatized, or students could make up their own! I also thought the cakewalk would be fun for teaching/reinforcing emotions and verbs in Spanish class. Lots of fun and more informal movement during these eras that I know my students would enjoy.
  •      I find it fascinating how powerful words can be, especially in the form of lyrics.  I appreciated the discussion regarding the word "die" or "live" within the lyrics for "Battle Hymn of the Republic."  For such small words they sure hold powerful meaning!  

         The history of the Cakewalk is new to me.  I never knew that the modern carnival song with stepping from circle to circle and winning a cake started out as such an emotionally charged dance.  How fascinating.

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