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Teacher: Jill Steigman who teaches at Clarkston Elementary School in Tyler, TX. Jill Steigman can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: Celebration of Dance

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To showcase rhythm and dance routines students learned throughout the school year and highlight them during Texas Public Schools Week at the P.T.A. meeting during that week.

Suggested Grade Level: 3-8

Materials Needed: Costumes, props and other accesories

Celebration of Dance

I have showcased a 5th grade physical education program for the past 13 years during Texas Public Schools week in March. Texas Public Schools week is a week set aside each year for parents and the community to visit the schools of the children in the district. The schools have different activities throughout the week to showcase the students accomplishments throughout the year. I asked the administration a few years ago if I could have a part in the 5th grade program which was held in the cafeteria on the small stage. They agreed!

The program now is a physical education showcase of activities and dances the students have learned. Each year I pick a theme and teach activities and dances towards that theme. All the fifth grade students do several routines, instead of just a few students doing one routine. Two performances are held. A dress rehearsal during the day for the school and the main performance that night for the families, friends, administrators, and the community. The event is widely publicized and the community is invited. The program is videotaped and shown again to the community by way of our district's television channel.

Some of the activities we have done in the past are dance routines (jazz, tap, country western line dances,folk, square dances, aerobic, and current dance steps to popular music). These dance routines are done with and without props. We have also done parachute, tinikling, jump bands, jump rope, rhythm sticks, ribbon sticks, streamers, and scarves. Here is an example of what we did last year and the costumes that were made and used:

Last year the theme was "Folk Dances Around the World". Simple costumes, props and accesories were made or accented the particular dance from the region of the world it represented. I made 12 brightly colored skirts, and matching sashes. These costumes were switched throughout the program. That way we did not have to make everyone a skirt or sash. Each country represented could use the costume in a different way by adding a different hat, prop, or accessory. I would alternate routines that had costumes changes with those that did not so there would be time for costume changes and no waiting for the audience. Example: The dance "La Raspa" from Mexico, 12 students were chosen to represent this dance and the boys wore black pants, a white T-shirt and a sombrero with a brightly colored sash around their waist. The 6 girls wore a simple elastic waisted skirt which I made from a very simple pattern. These skirts matched the color of sash of their boy partner. The girls also wore a sash around their waist, made from the left over material from the skirts. The girls held a silk red rose in their hands. The girls representing Germany wore the same skirts with an apron added to the front and a circle of flowers added to their hair. The boys in the German dance had black suspenders made of black elastic pinned to the waist of their pants and wore the alpine hat. It took some pre-planning and coordinating but it worked wonderfully without cost to the students and within my budget (which is very small) and was a great success! By the way, we represented 8 countries and the costumes were authentic looking but simply done.

The program is a huge hit with the parents and the community. There are not many elementary schools in my district that have a showcase program of this kind. More are getting involved, however. I feel it is very important for the public to know the importance of physical education and I will gladly continue this tradition.

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Posted on PEC: 10/10/2001 and has received 119 votes.

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