This creative movement lesson using syllables is a great ice breaker for the beginning of the year or semester, a time when students are getting to know one another and the teacher is getting to know students’ names as well.
Using movement in combination with syllables to create a sequence and a rhythm. Students use focus and memorization skills as well as working as a team.
A large open space, music and or a drum
State the Class goals and expectations, space boundaries
divide students into groups of 5-8 students and have them form a circle. Select one student to be the leader. What is the student’s name? How many syllables are in the name? For example: Lynne – 1 syllable, Lynne creates one movement and others follow and repeat the name Lynne while doing the one movement. Repeat this with the next student, Joseph – 2 syllables – 2 movements (stress they need to look different than Lynne’s movement. Start the sequence – Lynne’s movement, Joseph’s movement, then add the next student, working all the way around the circle. Start the sequence from the beginning each time a new student’s movement is added.
Practice the sequence in order, trying to move together as a whole. Add some challenges, such as: don’t say the names, moving through the sequence as slowly as possible, moving through the sequence as quickly as possible, changing the level of the sequence, turn around and face the outside of the circle, etc. Have student come up with other ideas as well of ways to manipulate of change the way they are moving through their sequence.
Have each group of students create their own pattern using the sequence they created. Select 3 different ways to manipulate the sequence. For example, first time slowly, second time sharply and third time traveling to a new location in the space. Rehearse as a group.
Select some music and have students perform their sequence with variations for one another. Have the audience guess what manipulations each group decided to use.
Extension to the Lesson
Ask each group to create a pathway through the space for their sequence. How do they create ways to make the sequence travel?
Dance to Learn video lesson plans.