POST 178: MY lesson

Today’s lesson was on the theme of space. It was designed for S3:4 and consisted of contemporary exercises to provide examples of movement and the a creative activity using props and movements from the lesson.

I planned the exercises for the lesson around the space theme.

I had two centre exercises using basic contemporary movements that built on the same technical aspects. I intended that the first exercise would reflect falling through a space Portal and the second a spaceman trying to balance in space. Then a floor exercise reflecting falling and rolling through space. The travelling exercise was less and I had used the same exercise in my class for primary children so knew it built speed, like a rocket taking off and would be a nice contest to the floor relaxation. I planned to use tennis balls to reflect the planets going round the sun and to initiate the movement in a solo, pair and group creative section. I planned to join the best bits together and so have a short dance before a Harry Potter themed cool down.

The night before:

Contrast for where I’m going wrong:

1. I text Kerry who spent 15 mins on a lesson plan and is running with a lesson she did in school.

2. My night/week before…I have a lesson plan based around the style used in Laban. I have identified the learning criteria and the learning and teaching styles. I have written my exercises in full and timed each to fit in the plan.

I have downloaded a lot of music and selected the tunes which match my theme of space and are inspirational e.g. Harry Potter for cool down.

I have identified the key comtemorary moves from the SQA site and have correographed two centre, a floor and two travelling exercises matching the theme and the criteria for comtemorary.

I have practiced my excises with counts and ensured they fit the weird bit of the music for the sugar plum fairy.

I have demonstrated all exercise to my mum in the living room. She is slagging the spaceman movements!! Joy

I have everything planned and set out props, music on a play list on my iPod, handout on the 4 areas of my theme and pictures to match, sticky note questions and my lesson plan.

Am I ready…almost going over exercises on drive to Rcs….

I did too much prep!! Which goes against the school motto “you can’t over prepare”.

My lesson:

I felt it did not go well from the start!

I gave out my space sheets explaining that I was considering weightless movement, the loss of balance, orbits of the planets and contrasting this with the thrust from a rocket.

The others looked as though—-what you giving me pictures for!!!!!

I played a 10second audio clip of a rocket taking off then asked the others to shut their eyes and feel centring as they moved their weight forward back and in a circle before reaching centre alignment. As they opened their eyes I asked them to move in alignment then with off balance. I used big walking movements like spacemen and repeated movements in slow motion then fast. We moved to space music to set the scene.

I felt I had accessed the 4 learning styles visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, read/write (on sheets). And everyone was warmed. My participants were less than enthusiastic and I felt uncomfortable.

My first exercise spaceman roll downs was choreographed to fit the contemporary requirements but also meet the theme. I had noticed that in the previous day’s both participants were working in flat back and devised a dangle over a ribbon demonstration to overcome this. It worked perfectly their body shape changed and the relaxed head and curved spine happened. I want to ensure my dance classes teach technique in a fun way and am less bothered about a routine which does not lead to improvement or benifit to the dancers.

Feedback from one participant was “what has the ribbon got to do with space”

My answer it provides the shape for the spaceman roll down from his pod.

Participant. “Ohh I didn’t realise we were going to do a sequence”

Me inside “did she actually think the roll down was it!!??!!”

We are rolling down and counting to stop dancers looking in the mirror!!! Two down and one to the side.

So far ok….but I’m unnerved. I felt stressed before I started and I can’t get my pace. I’ve given imagery to show the arms pulling off the space suit and some contractions and plies which would match the feeling of the body if the space suit was removed.

My main error at this point was to focus on counts. Dr sanders in trinity Laban said “no counts just the exercise” I was appreciating this right now!! Normally I would be describing a wee spancemen man story which provided prompts for the movements and how them should be executed. Why didn’t I do this??? Not sure I am trying to meet Yvonne’s request for counts but I am sinking fast and my dancers are not getting it!!!

Feedback-“it was too difficult” (really my primary kids can do this!!).

Note to self- use the imagery and loose the counts.

I only did this exercise on one side. Two of the 3 girls were not getting it and I felt it would be best to move on.

The next centre sequence was to improve balance. It linked with the imagery of a spaceman not balancing in space.

The exercises were selected to challenge balance but also to use the compensatory arms, legs and responses to aid the final choreography and fit the theme.

The participants were less than enthused. In contrast to the kids who would balance off balance and fall. They tried to maintain balance and were consequently finding it difficult. The sequence is relatively simple and I suggested differentiated additions for adult learners. I was loosing my nerve-no one was “getting the learning balance experience”. I kept messing the counts as I was trying to compensate for their movements. I could have given up at the end of the exercise. I also forgot to teach adults that I’d need to be confident and in control. I realise I was not.

The roll in the floor exercise was to be like spacemen floating in space. It worked well and was very basic. More simple and Yvonne looked like she enjoyed it. This had a positive effect on the others who embodied the theme.

The rocket travel sequence has worked well with my primary 7 class. It starts slow and then builds in speed. It is brilliant for getting them to push from he floor and gain speed. This didn’t happen in this lesson though. I tried to increase the pace to move through the music and to gain double time but my audience were having none of it.

They said if we went double time we would be out of time!!! But we would have landed on every second beat rather than every 4th! So would have been in time.

Yvonne said the sequence wouldn’t work as I had three leaps. We changed it to two. Then realised she had missed a step and had to change it back. I should have been more confident in the sequence and told her this is how we are doing it. As I looked a fool.

The improvisation section was better. I encouraged the participants to explore their kinesphere using balls as planets. Round the head, waist and knees. I used the ball as focus then a partner and added a level change and a travelling step. I encouraged them to complete the sequence facing away from their partner. The work looked nice. I wish someone had videoed mine too.

The end sequence combined the improvisation and some of the exercises.

I did a stretch and relaxation for cool down. Using space music.

When asked did I feel the lesson went well I said no.
I was told I had not prepared enough!!!! The theme was not clear. It was too difficult. I should not try to turnout!!

Next time, I am going to completely ignore my participants negative comments and dislike of contemporary. Be more confident in what I’m doing. And when no one likes it go and work in England cos that’s how they teach there.

I was annoyed at my delivery. Felt tired and in need of a holiday. Messed up my counts. And didn’t show anyone who was boss.

I want to teach dance so that my participants enjoy and improve not just a dance where they only enjoy but don’t get better.

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