Movement and Learning Are Related, and Dance Is the Ideal Activity
Movement and learning are related, and dance in school is the ideal activity for learning because it combines music with a steady beat and coordination skills.
Music and dance can hardly be separated. The
importance of a steady beat
to learning is well established at this site, and dance is a combination of both.
The electricity which “fires” brain impulses comes from static electricity generated by the flow of the blood through the vessels of the body so there is no question that dancing can and does help children learn.
When done after a period of learning, memory tracks are extended and children remember more of what they have learned. There is a lot of positive emotion and laughter, which releases chemicals in the brain which may improve brain function.
Dancing lowers stress, too, and can be an important tool for
The brain remembers beginnings and endings so breaking up class time into short instructional segments is a good idea. Stopping to dance is a natural way of achieving this goal of having lots of starts and stops so that the brain can remember the beginnings and endings of those segments.
Since directions are called to the dancers, this is a good opportunity to make a
of these words.
Examples: swing, circle, left, right, center, join, hands, partner
When using dance to combine movement and learning, always look for opportunities to have children clap in time with the music, and encourage children to "Swing Your Partner" often as
after learning may actually improve memory.
There are line dances for every genre of music. Whether they are danced to country or pop music, the results are the same - extended memory tracks when performed after learning.
"Cupid Shuffle" and "The Electric Slide" are line dances almost everybody knows. The music may easily be downloaded from Itunes.
Other favorites are "The Cha-Cha Slide" and various country line dances, including the "Boot Scoot Boogie."
Kids love to come up with their own "moves" so give them an opportunity to create their own line dances in small groups and allow them to teach them to the rest of the class. You'll be surprised at the quality you will get!
This dance deserves a category of its own because it is so useful, particularly where space is limited. It is appropriate for any age level and may be done at three different speeds – slow, medium, and fast. The brain must process the changes in speed so that is an added benefit, and children must listen for the words “slow,” “medium,” and “fast,” all of which would be good additions to the wall.
All movements are executed twice and the Jive is done individually, not with a partner:
Lap – Pat lap twice
Clap – Clap twice
Right – Right hand over left hand in sideways motion two times
Left – Left hand over right hand in sideways motion two times
Right fist – Right fist on top, taps left fist two times
Left fist – Left fist on top, taps right fist two times
Right thumb – Toward right shoulder in “jabbing” motion twice
Left thumb – Toward left shoulder in “jabbing” motion twice
Return to Brain Exercises and Coordination from Movement and Learning
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