A snow day! Yay! The nine-inch, mid-winter accumulation was more than predicted in many ways. When we returned to school the next day, after a late start, the principal issued a directive that no recess would be allowed in the schoolyard while the snow remained. We teachers did not think too much about it, turning to the games and puzzles we all stored in the closets of our classrooms for recess time.
The temperature turned a bitter ten degrees, however, and stayed in the twenties for two weeks, with no snow melt in sight. I decided that these fifth and sixth graders needed to release some energy. We had one-half hour for lunch and one-half hour for recess. Puzzles and games were boring now, so I decided to start a “Snow Dancing” class.
I called it Snow Dancing because it would be over when the snow melted. Then we could all go out to the schoolyard for some fresh air. The weather forecast did not indicate that would be anytime soon. Since our gym was also our lunchroom, I had to use the hallway for Snow Dancing class.
I was able to teach this class because I had talked my husband into attending a disco dance class previously. I loved disco music—Donna Summers, the Bee Gees, Gloria Gaynor, etc. When we two appeared for the first class, he was disappointed to find that there were eleven women and one man. The teacher resorted to teaching us line dances, and we only attended a few more times, hoping that a few more latecomers might be male, but none appeared. I managed to pick up a few steps that I eventually used in my hallway line dance lessons.
Disco music filled the school air at 12:15 for 25 minutes, every day. Yay! I rotated the kids daily because so many wanted to dance, and there were just as many boys as girls. We could only fit four across the hallway, so each class was only 24, but they found a way to see the dance steps, if not from me, then from a dancer in front of them. We moved to the music, and I really didn’t care if the kids danced correctly. One boy was so talented that I actually called the school psychologist to see if he could be placed in the Gifted and Talented Program. I had visions of this great dancer on Broadway. I remember the psychologist’s laugh to this day—then he asked if I realized that he had to have a 130 IQ to enter the program. Relentless as ever, I said, “But the program is called Gifted and Talented. Doesn’t Talented count?” “No” he said, and hung up.
The original snowfall did not completely melt for six weeks, so we were able to dance in the hallways for four wonderful weeks. I was much younger then, with almost as much energy as my students–just enjoying the music, the movement, hardly teaching at all. Sometimes sharing movement and music without actually teaching can be so therapeutic. What a wonderful break Snow Dancing was!
For some sequencing events lessons that involve movement in the classroom, you might be interested in:
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