Name – Sarah Kirschman Subject – Arts Education [Dance]
Lesson Length – 40 minutes Grade – 5/6
Content – Rhythm through Sound Collage and the History of South African Dance
Teaching Strategy – student involvement, direct teaching, demonstration, group work and creation
Outcomes –CP 6.1: Create dance compositions that express ideas about identity and how it is influenced (e.g., factors such as pop culture, cultural heritage, peer groups, personal and family interests, gender).
CH 6.1: Investigate how personal, cultural, or regional identity may be reflected in arts expressions.
Indicators – CP 6.1: d) Reflect on how movement and dance elements can be organized to convey meaning in dance (e.g., What messages or ideas does our movement or dance communicate to an audience about identity?).
e) Reflect upon choices made during the dance-making process, including rhythm.
CH 6.1: a) Apply critical thinking when analyzing and describing how identity is expressed in arts expressions (e.g., hip hop, blues, country music).
Assessment – the students are given an exit slip to write down the connection between the historical context of the Gumboot dance, and how the Step dance is done today. Students who would prefer can give their answers orally.
Treaty Education – SI62: Analyze the importance of the preservation and promotion of First Nations and Métis languages. Indicators: Express how one’s cultural identity is influenced by language. Describe how the loss of language impacts cultural identity (e.g., importance of ceremony, song, dance, storytelling).
Prerequisite Learning – Students have received a handout on basic dance theory, how it has developed. Students must also have basic grasp of rhythm and where/what Africa is.
Materials – students must have pens, pencils, shoes, notebooks ready
Advanced Preparation – YouTube clip of Gumboot Dancers prepared and ready to show, whiteboard cleared for notes.
Set – The students are given a graphic organizer that includes the definitions of Apartheid and Segregation, as well as separate sections for each of the parts of the notes, so they will have something to write their information down in. Sections will include: Occupations During Apartheid, Attire of Miners, Conditions in Mines, Communication Without Talking, etc. The purpose of the organizer is to have the students have an idea of how the notes should be arranged, and will have some hint as to the progression of the lesson.
- Using the white board, write notes out as discussion and teaching is done so the students have notes in their graphic organizer that they can refer to about the lesson.
- Discussion of South Africa, describing Apartheid and the ways in which the African American people were discriminated against [Apartheid – “the state of being apart” the white people segregating the African Americans. Segregation – separating people into groups based on race]
- Types of jobs allowed by the white government for African Americans [maids, gardeners, essentially servants of the white people. Miners, putting emphasis on gold mining as a career]
- Attire of African American Miners [‘prison’ outfits, rubber boots, gumboots, and handcuffs]
- Wore rubber boots due to the water in the mines giving the workers blisters and skin disease
- The handcuffs were to keep the workers in their work station
- Talking was not allowed
- How do you communicate if you cannot speak? [Discussion, answers should be things like, actions, facial expressions, etc.]
- The mines were very dark, and so it was hard to see
- They used beats to communicate
- Ask students to discuss in smaller groups what beats can be made, if one is not allowed to talk or make sounds with their mouth [clapping, tapping, etc.]
- We will reconvene after the students have copied down a few suggestions in their notes, and we can have a few volunteers demonstrate their ideas.
- Miners were shackled and so could not clap efficiently.
- They communicated through three noises [stomping feet, slapping boots, shaking the handcuff chains]
- Move from the past into the present. Gumboot dancing has evolved into a dance called “stepping”
- Show clip from “So You Think You Can Dance” of dancers “stepping”
- Ask the students for examples of dances that they have seen or heard of from First Nations culture.
- Discuss why the First Nations people do the dances that they do [to honour the religious or spiritual significance of the dance, and to remember their ancestors]
- Make connections between the First Nations people and their dances and the African American people. The goal is to have students recognize that, like the Step dancers, our Aboriginal peoples also use dance and music to give respect to their culture and history.
- Move desks in order to sit in a circle on the floor
- Briefly explain that the first step in learning a dance is rhythm
- Doing quarter notes by clapping, move around the circle so one by one each student joins into clapping the quarter notes
- Explain tempo, show how the tempo increased as the clapping continued
- Emphasize that a steady tempo is important
- Explain Sound Collage
- Each student will take a few seconds to come up with their own rhythm. Give examples [emphasizing that simpler is better]
- Get a volunteer to do quarter notes, if no volunteers, I will do the clapping, as it is important that the beat is steady, so the person clapping must be confident
- Either through pointing or nodding, I will introduce each person with their rhythm one at a time, randomly
- When I want them to stop, I will point or nod at them a second time
- We will have a discussion after of what worked/what didn’t
- Depending on skill level, we will either continue clapping sound collages to build up confidence, or move on to making noises with hands on the floor, or on their knees.
- The final sound collage, if all proceeds successfully will be with stomping.
Conclusion – The students are given an exit slip with the question of why different cultures dance and how dance is utilized in the cultures. The answer can also be given orally if desired. The question has been briefly discussed in class, but the students are required to go an extra step and connect that dance is able to keep the history of a peoples alive, the people are able to connect with their culture and with others who are also of the same culture, dance can be performed in ceremonies or celebrations, such as a Round Dance, so the community is brought together, etc.
Adaptive Dimension –
- Students can answer the exit slip orally or they can write an answer down
- The graphic organizer is given so students can write down the information they choose in the blanks that they find to be important.
- Giving students a beat to use instead of asking them to come up with their own.
- Increase/Decreasing Tempo
- Not moving on to harder sound collages if they are still struggling with a simpler one
- Ideally, by the end of the lesson, I should have a general idea of which students are more comfortable with rhythm and which aren’t, as well as the general skill level, so the choreography can reflect their level of comfort.