About me

Sunday, 9 December 2012

2012 Project - An investigation into Roundness

In this post I would like to give some background as to how this project and investigation into 'roundness' evolved.
In term 2 the Junior School were given the directive to produce a school show. The theme for the show was the 'Olympics' as it was topical at the time. Each class was asked to choose a country and to produce a dance item that reflected their culture of their country of choice.

I decided that our class would choose China as our country. I spent sometime researching on the internet about Chinese classical dance. Dance is not a strength of mine so I really wanted to find out what sort of movements they used in Chinese classical dance. In the course of my research I came across the Shen Yun which had a short promotional video. The company had interviewed dancers and had asked them to explain the underlying principles of Chinese classical dance. One of the concepts in Classical Chinese Dance that stood out to me was that of the roundness of movements, as opposed to ballet where the movements are quite straight.

Because I believe in child centered learning and that they are capable learners, I wanted the children to be involved as much as possible in the process of choreographing the dance. I decided this concept of roundness would provide an excellent foundation for our dance.
Over the term we explored this concept of roundness through a variety of ways including visual art, language, construction, and of course dance!

In visual art we looked at the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The children created their own Hundertwasser inspired art.

We used wire, pebbles and the OHP to explore the question ‘What is a line?’ We built up a visual concept of ‘roundness’ the children so the could start thinking about demonstrating 'roundness' with their bodies.

Through our exploration of roundness the children began building a bank of rich descriptive words such as; swirly, twirly, bumpy, wiggly, spirally, twisty, squiggly, jiggly to describe the movement of their bodies.

The children had been watching alot of the Olypmic games at home and so these conversations flowed into the classroom. Some of them where aware that the Olympics were in London which the children were keen to locate on a map. Other children in the class had travelled recently and were also aware of where they had been. This sparked an investigation into maps. I found various types of maps for the children to look at for example a map of the world, a map of New Zealand and a map of Auckland. This led to discussions about perspective and a 'bird's eye view'.

 I organised the children into 3 groups and they had to collaboratively choreograph their dance and then record these movements from a bird's eye view. Some of the children found it challenging and frustrating to work in a group to design their dance, so there was alot of negotiating and problem solving that we as teachers supported the children through.


The value of recycling and sustainability

How do we show children we value recycling and sustainability?

I strongly value recycling so the children are encouraged to bring in things from home for us to use at School. For example cardboard boxes, glass jars, wrapping paper, ribbon, card etc

We have regular conversations about how we can use things in a beautiful or useful way again. I think there is a lot of value in children looking at things that we would normally throw away and imagine the many possibilities beyond its current use.

It also means that we are able to reduce our classroom costs because instead of buying these materials to use in projects, we collect them. I also try and look for things that can be used as storage containers in the classroom for example glass jars instead of buying them from the shops.

Transforming things that might have normally been thrown away, or that are ugly/broken, creates a sense of beauty amongst children. One such project that evolved in my classroom was centered around a horrible cheap plastic chair that we had inherited as a 'birthday chair'. Not content with using this chair I challenged the children to beautify the chair. The detail in their designs was breath-taking and we settled on using elements of each child's design in the chair. The children then set about transforming the chair using papier mache, wire and cardboard. They completed the chair by painting it. It truly is a birthday throne which the children cherish and adore sitting in when it's their birthday!