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  • This time period was quite exciting for the development of American music, which makes sense as it was an exciting time for the country as it grew.  People are beginning to flex their independence and be daring and creative.  I love the idea of a musical timeline to show students how these styles directly influence the music we listen to today.  Once people tapped into this creative independence, music really expanded and diversified.  I'm excited to move into the 20's and beyond.

    Jump Jim Joe was another dance that could easily be used as an ice breaker activity.  It was a non-threatening way to make contact with everyone in the room.  (Truth be told, I had difficulty nodding/shaking my head, of all things!)  

    If I ever get the chance to teach 8th grade Social Studies (US History) I am definitely going to find ways to integrate music and dance into it!  What a fun perspective!

  • I really like Jump 7! Again, I would use this as a gathering activity. Students get to greet each other, be connected to the group and actively participate with minimal stress. I would ask them what type of dancing is done today and see if they come to the connecting thread... Line dancing would seem to be a natural fit. Getting involved,  moving, being part of a group was and is fun. I would use the dance as a launching point into the history of playparties. The discussion might include-

    "What do today's "playparties" look like?

    "What similarities and differences do you notice about the old vs. the new playparties?

    Activity: Design a playparty. Where would it be? Who would you invite? What music would you play? What dances would you teach? What purpose might you be celebrating?

  • What a fun dance period!  Strangely, I have an emotional connection to much of the music from this era.  Sousa's big band music reminds me of my own early days in elementary/middle school band, I can remember doing the "Lucky Seven" at square dances as a kids, and "Home on the Range" was one of the first songs I learned as a child.  We lived in a very remote area of Pennsylvania (think 2 mile long dirt driveway) and I can recall my Dad taking us camping under the stars and singing Home on the Range.

    As far as use in the classroom, the unit I teach in U.S. History regarding Westward Expansion can at times be a little dry with a lot of primary source document study and individual profiling.  I teach a particular lesson during which each student researches a particular person who "went West" (PBS offers a wealth of info/lesson plans).  A nice way to wrap this unit once all of the people have been researched and "met" each other, would be to have a play party and dance the Lucky Seven. It might even serve as a ice breaker activity before the Westward characters met.  

  • I would be tempted to set the stage when teaching this era in gym.  I might create a story about my family just settling out west.  We are in need of helping hands to get the walls of the barn up for my family and I.  We might even move around the gym to warm our bodies up, symbolizing traveling from their land to mine.  We might need to stretch to prepare for the lifting.  They can do some squats and "lifting" to get my walls up.  Finally let's celebrate our hard work with some dance.  

    Jump Jim Joe is a great way to get the class moving/dancing.  Students are interacting with each member of the class.  The upbeat song will keep kids at any grade level moving and happy.  Lucky Seven too is a great dance that has the class work together as a whole group and then moves you around to multiple partners.  Everyone will feel included and part of a greater whole.  If I was aware of a classroom studying this era, I might play the Stars and Stripes forever in the gym and express themselves in movement to the music. 

  • The Jump Jim Joe was a fun and easy dance that I could teach to my little ones. They will LOVE the hopping about and the bustle of shaking and nodding. In Kindergarten we have a big celebration at the end of the year to celebrate their first year of public school. Families are invited into our classroom, there's a BBQ, usually a craft project, and then field day. It would be wonderful to plan a playparty outside or in the gym for the kindy families where the kids can teach the adults how to dance to certain songs!
    Thank you for playing Home on the Range. It's one of my favorite songs. :) I must have been a pioneer in a former life because I am so drawn to the idea of living out on the range where life was hard, yet simple and pure.
  • Jump Jim Joe and Lucky Seven were my favorites. I have been to several contra dance parties so I especially resonated with carefree/fun feel to these songs. Jump Jim Joe, I especially like, because I can change the commands as I discuss different verbs and body parts in Spanish. For example, students could move their eyebrows, flap their elbows, or something else equally silly. I thought Lucky Seven was a good way for each student to feel noticed and valued during a morning greeting routine. Who knows, perhaps there might be enough beats in the music for students to say a short "Buenos Dias" as they shake hands and cross the midline. What I love about these dances is that they are short, and fairly easy to learn, so that I can do them during a short time span. Stars and Stripes was especially patriotic and the Overature was fun. I have heard "Home on the Range" many times and it brings back nostalgic memories of my family singing it during Thanksgiving. However, I am not quite sure how to integrate these last 3 in my classroom. If anyboday has any ideas on how to integrate them with math or with Spanish, let me know! It is fun to see how the music progressed throughout time from formal to informal and conformity to individuality.
  • I enjoy the westward expansion time period.  Having grown up in Wyoming I can relate to the "Home on the Range" song and the idea of wide open spaces.  Alaska has a similar history with people moving here for gold, etc. and away from the cities.  It would be interesting to tie the two together.

    Yesterday, I mentioned the Play Party Elizabeth had at our school.  It was truly enjoyable to get together with the school community and do those dances.  I'm looking forward to joining her again next year.  Now I'll have a leg up as I know some of the dances.  These are fun to do.  It would be great if next year's Play Party could be tied into a community service project that everyone works on together first and we'd celebrate afterwards.  I'll have to discuss this with her later.

    "Stars and Stripes Forever" is the tune of our school song.  It would be great if the students knew the history of this song we do every morning for a month of the school year.  Again, I'll have to talk with Elizabeth and see if she's already doing that.  

    All this music is uplifting and motivating and fun to listen to.

  • Wouldn't it be great to have the families gather at the school to accomplish a task like clean up around the school grounds in the spring, build planter boxes for the playground, or some other big task community project and then have a Playparty and ice cream social?

    All of these dances and songs would easily be incorporated into the study of westward expansion.  Since these dances are less formal and rely less on concentrated partnerships, I think they would be well received by the students.

  • I really enjoy music from this time period. It speaks not only to community ~ barn dances, patriotic music in the park ~ but also to the loner enjoying the wide open spaces.
    My son played a lot of Scott Joplin when he was still playing piano, and I always enjoy the rhythm and physicality of the music. I grew up with a friend whose father would awaken the children with the music of John Philip Sousa on Saturday mornings at 6 am; she can't hear those marches without groaning. I grew up, too, with a neighbor who had been a cowboy and a painter; he had memorabilia of his time out west and glorious paintings of people and places.
    To me, the music from this period is so evocative of a time of hope and pride in America, without being compromised by the harsh reality of racism and manifest destiny. It seems innocent and joyous, and I think it's fine to bring these images to my students, too, as well as knowledge about how westward expansion impacted the native people already living in the plains.

  • Jump Jim Joe would be a great way to get kids energized and started for the day.  This is also a great dance to do at the beginning of the year while students are getting introduced to each other.  Lucky Seven would be one I would teach later as we get into Expanding Westward in Social Studies as well as during Houghton Mifflin's One Land Many Trails Theme in fifth grade.

    Stars and Stripes Forever brought me back to high school band. ha  I remember playing that multiple times and performing it with the class at school concerts.  There was always a sense of pride in our country while listening or playing it.  

    When we talked about Home on the Range in our group discussion, we commented on the pace of the song.  It sounded like it could have come out of a musical and made everything sound so sweet, whereas is our mind, life would have been tough during that time, which contradicts the tune.  Again, though, in the lyrics I found that whoever was singing showed that he loved his life how he lived it, even if it may have been a rough one. 

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