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  • I won't be teaching this era next year as I'm teaching 5th grade.  However there are great SEL activities like The Stroll that I plan to use with my students.  Infusing history with SEL is a great idea. I can see so many opportunities  to do just that after taking this class.

  • I won't use this a lot, but the kids love the twist and Rock Around the Clock. I might use these as a morning wake up or a brain break. There might be a tie in with the '64 earthquake, or with a WWII lesson; the Alacan or the Territorial Guard. When I was born my dad was the superintendent of the Jesse Lee Children's Home in Seward. We have pictures of it still painted with camo from WWII.

  • I found the origins of the various solo dances (Mashed Potato, Swim, etc) very interesting - contracted by the US government to try and fight back against the raciness of the swing dancing.  I want to investigate that further! I think it would be interesting for my students to discuss that after we talk about the social mores being upheaved in the 1920s. We actually look at a bunch of slang from the time, some of which involves terms like "necking" and "parking" and how these two scandalous behaviors are fairly blase by today's standards.  I think talking about the origins of the dances would fit right in.  Of course there are myriad songs lyrics to look at, as a lot of the artist names from the time are known and loved my students.  The swing and stroll would be very fun, and if possible, it would be interesting to play a "white cover" in conjunction with the original recording by the African-American artist.  The biggest challenge with this era is that there are so many tantalizing things to incorporate into the curriculum I already use!

  • Dances evolved big time in this era.  They require much more body movement and control to express ourselves.  I've seen swing dance on TV but I have never realized that it makes me sweat.  There are some confusing feet moves, but mostly I understood them after working slowly.  In this area individualism seems to be a lot more significant, so I am sure I will have a good time watching and learning from my students' dancing.

  • I've always wanted to try swing dancing!!  Yay!!  It was a lot of fun.  The Stroll and animal dances would be fun to use.  A few more "ahas" here:  I wasn't aware that some of these dances were developed by the government.  I was also unaware that B-Bop was a  protest form of music.  The great thing about the various tidbits or pearls of wisdom I've learned from this class is that they will have a wonderful enriching effect for my future classes.


    I was really surprised about the lyrics to "Jumpin Jack Flash.  I've definitely listened to and-more or less-sang that song many times over the years.  I just never gave it much thought.  I'd have to really think about using it in a high school classroom



  • The individual dances were great even if they were created by the government! The dances gave many opportunities for students to dance freely without a partner. Students could create their own animal dance. The Stroll was fun and easy to learn Once they mastered the basic stroll , students could stylize down the middle. Once I knew the original words to Jumping Jack Flash, the song's lyrics made much more sense. There are many other great songs that would be great to analyze. The dances from the 70s and 80s were great! The Hustle would be a great pattern for students to learn. Loved the lesson with Gabe. He is so upbeat and  made learning hip hop moves  fun.

  • I really enjoyed the stroll, the twist, and the swing. During college, I learned to swing dance, and have loved it ever since (although now I know it was to an 8 count so that it used a different step). Over the past few years I have been wondering how to incorporate swing into my classroom. As the packet said, it is a very "American" dance. I think I am going to have to hold off on it for a while, although maybe I can fiddle with it with the American Rock and Roll version of "La Bamba"? Doing the stroll and the twist would be fun in the classroom, as a break and just for fun. However, I would need to find versions without lyrics since I teach in Spanish Immersion. Possibly there are some on Itunes? I found the lyrics for Jumping Jack Flash offensive what with referencing the artists' mother as a "toothless, bearded hag," and the drug reference. I am sure it has a place in our school curriculum somewhere, but I don't think it is appropriate for 4th or 5th grade without a LOT of scaffolding. I can see that a lot of parents would be upset, especially if they knew the lyrics. (I know... Parents again :) But, sometimes, they're not too far off...) Looking through the packet, I saw that the "Merengue" is typical of this time period as well as other Latin dances/rhythms. I could definitely play on this angle and use it to meet World Language Cultural standards as well. It was SOOO interesting to find out how the animal dances came to be, and the direct influence it had on modern dancing... WOW!
  • I just had a realization, and I'm surprised it took me so long.  In Drama, you really need to be able to trust and rely on your partner(s).  These partner dances can help get students to bond with the and trust their scene partners.  Good warm up exercise.

    This year I had students analyze song lyrics as their final assessment for literary devices such as metaphor, alliteration and more.  The kids chose their own song.  It was fun watching them get to know their favorite song a little better.  Many of them came to an epiphany about song meanings, just as many of us did with Jumpin Jack Flash.  Song lyrics can be used as well to reflect on the time period.  Protest music is a powerful form (Bob Dylan and others) and is prevalent in many cultures.  There was also a lot of experimentation at the time.  My high school choir teacher played the song "Come Out" by Steve Reich, a protest against the trial of 6 black youths charged with murder during the Harlem Riot of 1964.  He mixed interviews to create a strange pattern and it really stuck with me.  (I had to look up the info on *gasp* wikipedia, but the "song" really impacted me.)

    Lyrics can be used as a text that students must analyze and provide evidence for their opinions (Common Core).  Music has become more and more powerful over the years as creativity grew and emotions are dealt with more readily in lyrics and musicality.

  •   The early 50's were my mom's college days and the later sixty's were my junior high days.   So more trips down memory lane.    

            Dances being written by the government!  Who knew!  My dad always told me that it was horrible that the "new" dances were not being danced in partners.  Real dancing was done in partners.  He will not believe me that the government hired choreographers to choreograph morally improved dances by having the dancers not be together while dancing.  These dances are incredibly easy to do and teach.  When ever I do any dance unit these are included. 

       I haven't done a dance unit in a while but the first unit I ever taught was dances of the  50 (twist), 60's, 70's, and 80's.  These so easy for all the students to do-but that might be because I was still dancing them.  I actually think that I might begin with this unit for a dance unit next year. (since I already have curriculum written and music too.) 

  • No wonder people were more fit back in the 50s & 60s! WOW! What a work out! They could move... I loved the swing video.

    SO, I still want to do my ARS for swing dancing through the ages. I love to swing dance. There are so many variations of it now and that comes from "then". Sharing these variations and looking at the what influenced these changes both then and now will be interesting. Being able to swing dance and then breaking it down to teach it is a complicated process. I got some good tips from Stephanie. Start easy and have a basic key step to come back to and reorganize before moving on.

    The lyrics of this time period mirror the history. I will continue to have students interpret lyrics as you have done here in class.  Essential question: How do the lyrics capture a certain concept, time period, current event>

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