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Shapes in Art, Shapes in Body

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Keywords: , shapes, dance
Subject(s): Music, Health and PE, Art, Math
Grades P-K through 1
School: Burlington High School, Burlington, VT
Planned By: Elizabeth Evans
Original Author: Elizabeth Evans, Burlington
Essential question:
How can we use dance movements to express our understanding of shapes?

Prior knowledge:
• exposure to shapes through literature
• knowledge about patterns (objects repeat)
• Understand concept of space in dance (high/medium/low; big/small movements) and tempo (fast/slow)

Music—I Know a Chicken by Laurie Berkner
Literature--I Spy Shapes in Art by Lucy Micklethwait
Boom box & ELMO projector (PA system/LCD projector)
Space to move
Video recorder (flip camera)
Spandex body tubes or long scarves tied together for kids to crawl into to make shapes (the above is optional, but would assist in making circle/oval/half circle shapes…)

Warm ups
• Review high/low, fast/slow, big/small movements to I Know a Chicken
• Brainstorm names of shapes

• Explore spandex tubes. What are they for? What can we do with them? Report back after 2 minutes of free play.
• Explain that we will be using the bands to recreate shapes that we will find in a book. Going back to the list we brainstormed of the shapes we know, ask the group to work together to find a common way to express one of them, first individually, then in a group. (i.e., triangle). How could we make a triangle with our bodies individually? What does it look like? How many sides would it have? Do they all have to be the same size? How would a triangle walk? Can we move the triangle using the movements we already know from dancing to I Know a Chicken (i.e., big/small, fast/slow/ high/low movements)? Then, can we build a triangle as a group? Can we move that shape together?
• Record ways that we can move on chart paper and with photos/flip camera
• Read together I Spy Shapes in Art by Lucy Micklethwait
• Choose with the group at least two additional shapes from the book that we will build with our bodies (and the spandex bands).
• Remind them of the first shape we built and how we agreed to build/move that shape as individuals and as a group. Ask for ways to build the second shape and descriptions. Record, then repeat process for other shape(s).
• Ask students to help with choreography of shape dance. How can we take all these shapes and movements and put them together? Will we use just individual shapes or group shapes, too? Play the music we will use for the final piece and collect ideas: Will we move in straight lines? Can we take our time to get from one shape to the next?
• Rehearse and discuss: How did we do? Which shape do you like? Which shape could we do in a different way to make it better?
• Add visual display (paintings from I Spy Shapes in Art projected on wall with ELMO) and author’s text (I spy with my little eye… a CIRCLE!) to cue movement. Should we shout the shapes we’re making?
• Record, watch, reflect and revise

Adjustments for different abilities
Easier: Students make shapes but do not move them (keep motions non-locomotor)

More difficult: Add shapes, add vocabulary for pathways and keeping rhythm
The body socks are not essential, but would be amazing as tools for performance art.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
The most obvious connection would be science, where we could envision what a cell might move like, look like, travel like.
Links: Link to Body Sock site
Materials: Tripods, Video Tools, PA Systems, MP3 Players, Projector Screens, Short Throw Projectors, Flip Video, Memory Cards, Sound Libraries
Other Items: 20 Therapeutic Body Sock, $28.99 each, total of $579.80