After the final performance of our space dance, we did a writing lesson based on the experience. The idea was to create poetry about dancing, and the learning intention was to start sentences by making effective verb/adverb combinations.
Our first step was to brainstorm verbs describing what the children did before, during and after the dance. I wrote their ideas on the whiteboard, down the centre (column 2) of a three-column table. Then we talked about how an adverb makes a verb more interesting or informative – I used columns 1 and 3 to model how an adverb can be placed before or after a verb (e.g. gracefully lifting, or lifting smoothly). As a class, we came up with adverbs for the first dozen or so verbs, and then children completed the table independently, adding their own verbs and adverbs if they wished.
Next, we created and shared sentences that started with a verb+adverb combination, e.g. “Turning swiftly, I floated across the dance floor” and then a adverb+verb combination, e.g. “Patiently waiting, I counted the beats before I blasted off”.
Then I shared my own poem, about hiking the mighty Tongariro Crossing. It had three verses in this format: verb+adverb sentence / adverb+verb sentence / simile sentence, and it ended with a metaphor.
Finally, with my model pasted in their writing books, the children wrote their own poems. I scaffolded them according to their needs: coaching very capable writers to adopt other writing techniques and/or refine over-written work, helping others to plan a focus for each verse, and working sentence-by-sentence with those that needed more assistance.
Here are some excerpts of the children’s beautiful poetry inspired by dancing:
Waiting nervously, I stand quietly outside the hall ready to perform
Tensely creeping into the darkness, I crouch on the floor waiting for the beat.
We all rise like the burning sun.
Suddenly exploding, I burst off into the colourful planet.
Drifting slowly on the dance floor, I feel the softness of the fluro light going through my hands.
Slowly waving, my glow stick floats around me like planets.
Rhythmically stepping, we make figure eights with our poi.
Rotating dizzily, we circle around the front row dancers.
Our costumes flap like a flag in the wind.
I am a dancing comet.
Freestyling uncontrollably, I swing my poi like a solar flare bursting from the sun.
Motionlessly halting, I soak up the deafening applause.
The rowdy applause is a raging thunderstorm.