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  • So much fun to have Robin Hopper teach us about the Play Parties and to hear the social history around these activities.  She gave such good suggestions about ways to incorporate square dance into the classroom.  Although I'm retired and was very active in Dancing Bears for a time, I'm regretting that I did not do more with dance/play with my students.  The social skills (looking at your partner in the eyes, including everyone) today are even more important than ever before.  We are living in a time where our young people are glued to texting and electronics and are not interacting in a meaningful way.  I'm hoping that the others in the class will be inspired.  I would love to volunteer/be a part in supporting dance in classrooms.  Just call...... if I'm free, I'd love it.

  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers holds whole new meaning now.

    I see applications in one of my subject areas, Alaska Studies. What Alaska permutations arose? A google search, for example, turns up a book on Athapaskan fiddle music and square dancing, while I'm friends with a local cuer of round dancing. With experts in the community and skilled students who might be interested in taking up a music project, opportunities exist.

  • I love the music and dances from this era.  This is the music that children should grow up with.  I know so many of these songs because I learned them in my childhood.  This is music that was created to help people cope and lift spirits, something mankind in general will always need.  What a great team building activity to teach play party games from this time period.  Not only are the kids gaining insight into an important time in history but they are having fun together and working as a team.  I am planning to teach Jingle at the Window, Tidy-O early in the year to promote team unity and then I can pull it back out when the kids need a little pick-me-up or a fun break after working hard.  I love the practical practice of citizenship skills in learning these games/dances!

  • I am having so much fun!  I feel a terrible sadness for the loss of this kind of community interaction.  I remember always being jealous of the kids that could sing the words to "Oklahoma".    I’m hoping I can talk my new music teacher into doing a play party at  her new, very patriotic, school! 

  • I soooo enjoyed this session and will be able to incorporate dancing and music form this time period into my classroom. I will probably try to start Play Parties for my school through a focus on Fitness Fun Nights we hold at our school.

  • How inspiring to see how dance and song can be meshed with history! I really like the idea of infusing traditional classroom instruction with dances and songs of the times.  Especially I like that the songs tell stories. I could see creating some kind of project where the kids mesh historical facts with the stories told in songs. It's an extra bonus that dancing requires and teaches basic social graces.

    I love something Robin Hopper said: That the kids learn that they can have fun and it doesn't have anything to do with being cool.

  • Sounding like a broken record now...these dances are fantastic ways to link curriculum to movement. They also help kids understand the social culture of the time period.  These are great ways to work on social-emotional learning in the classroom.  Social skills like making eye contact, "safe" physical touch, and teamwork are all built in to these "play party" dances.

  • What a delight to move backward almost 150 years to learn play party songs.  This was an engaging time for the entire class, full of fun, song, partners and repetitive group dance.  Topics covered were:

    Pioneer Days

    Square Dancing – 15 miles/day required on wagon train.

    Music morphed as settlers moved to different parts of USA.  Same song in Appalachia was different words with a similar melody as they got to West Coast

     Westward movement dance/music

    • Oh Susanna
    • Billy Boy
    • Buffalo Gals – courting lyrics. Trail song identifying life on wagon trail
      • Music was very repetitive and useful for square dancing.
      • Turkey in the Straw
      • Clementine
      • Sweet Betsy from Pike – Many verses that one person around the campfire would sing as the group came in on the refrains
      • Streets of Laredo

    When they reached their destination the process of building began.  Music was a part of barn raisings or other large projects the community came together to help complete.

    Game Play Party Songs and Games

    Jump Jim Joe

    Marching thru Georgia

    I thoroughly enjoyed this portion of the class!

  • This was a fun era and one that I could use in my classroom. The dances are easy, short, and ones that anyone can do. I like the repetition and think this would be a fun social time for my students. I liked when the speaker said "if you wanted music you had to make it." Using the instruments would make for a fun social time. I liked that this was something families could do together.

    This would be a great way to build community and share a unique and new experience with my students.

  • If I could do this every day of the year, I would! I totally agreed with Robin, this era is such a great way to teach our students how to be good citizens, how to work hard, build a community, how to show compassion and work with others, no matter their status. I have seen this totally transform my students and my parents.

    Among the wonderful dances, "Marching to Georgia" was a new one for me. I love the idea the large group working together to turn and move. Cant wait to try this one with my kiddos!!!
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