Last week I ran the annual Dance Development Day for Foundation and KS1 teachers in the South Charnwood School Sports Partnership. As usual, it was well-attended, with enthusiastic teachers taking part in the practical sessions very much in the way that the children do. They love the opportunity to experience the sessions first hand and the topics of this year’s event (Celebrations and Traditional Tales) went down really well: “Fabulous, my kids will love it! Really accessible and non-threatening”.
When working with the younger children, I often use a range of props. Not only do they provide a great focus to the session, but they also help support the movement objectives of the lesson plan. Props that I use time and time again include…
- Scarves: bonfires, covering for a dragon dance, blanket for a cool down
- Feathers: autumn leaves falling down, passing them to a partner in a cool down
- Sponges: stepping stones, towers, contact work with partner
- Lycra square: hiding underneath – poking body parts through, shaking objects on top, rocking inside it
One of the props I love using in my sessions (and perhaps the most in-expensive) is masking tape. It’s quick and easy to use and doesn’t leave any marks on the floor afterwards. It can quickly transform the space you are teaching in and therefore provides a new perspective.
In the training session I delivered last week, I used it to mark out different pathways along the floor – I created straight lines, dotted lines and zig zags that the teachers had to travel down as fireworks. Rather than travelling around the room in circles (which is what a lot of children will naturally do) the focus of the space was instantly defined by the patterns on the floor.
Other ways you could use masking tape…
- In a grid shape for different forms of transport (cars, buses, trains) to travel along
- Create a box shape in the middle of the room – some children have to remain inside the box (good for those that like to run around all the time!)
- Little X shapes on the floor – where the children have to stop, or markers that they need to move around
- Divide the room up – stick a long line across the middle of the space (great way to run two different activities at the same time, or to separate the audience from the action).
And once you have finished with the masking tape, involve the children in tidying it away afterwards. They love peeling it off the floor and rolling it up into balls – this could be part of an activity in itself – they could all get themselves stuck together!
I’d love to hear about your own experiences with using making tape – what do you use it for and what do you find most successful? And what other props work well in your classes?
I run bespoke INSET days for Primary School teachers – email me at [email protected] for more information and how to book one in your school.