A tool to let students become comfortable with movement at the beginning of a session
Warm-ups can vary greatly in size and style, but are important to provide a transition from the traditional classroom teaching style to the active embodied learning the students are about to experience. Teachers who have learned warm-ups they like in exercise classes like Zumba or aerobics can use warm-ups they have learned there. Perhaps, personalize the experience for your comfort level and the application in your classroom. See video clip above for one example.
Steps: Example of Shorter Warm-up
With little time and space, three different positions in a chair might suffice:
1. “Freeze where you are. Sit still and quiet and focus on your body and your breathing. Notice your position.”
2. “Move just one arm to a different position and freeze. Notice the difference.”
3. “Make one more shift, large or small. Ready, 1-2-3 and shift.”
4. “Look around and see all the different positions.”
Steps: Example of Longer Warm-up
This “Shake Out and Shape” warm-up is a way to literally “shake things up” and is the introduction to get bodies moving with structure using rhythm and stillness. It is also an introduction to unison and non-unison, giving students the opportunity to follow along, and then make their own movement choices.
This activity should come after an introduction to the lesson that could include the “Rules of Participation.”
- Start with some good music with a strong beat. Sometimes it is helpful to have some contemporary and popular music, or something a student chooses. While music is not essential, it energizes the environment and shifts the mood from sitting and talking.
- Instructor says and demonstrates “take your right arm up, and shake it out 8 times: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8, left arm 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8, right foot 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8, left foot 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8.
- Repeat right arm, left arm, right foot, left foot with reduced repetitions (shaking four counts for each part, then 2, then singles) until instructor says “Now shake it all out” shaking all parts at same time
- You can repeat this traveling through space as time and space allow.
- When students are all shaking instructor says “Freeze…notice your shape (or position). Stay frozen…”
- Then instructor directs students to “move just your right arm to any other position, it may be different from the person next to you, go on the count of 3 and then freeze “1-2-3 right arm freeze.”
- Repeat with different body parts, making small changes, large changes, changing levels etc., always freezing in between and “noticing your shape and the other shapes in the room.”
- Add challenges by instructing students to find a balanced shape, or 3 points of contact with the floor.
- Have students copy each others’ shapes, giving them specific time parameters for doing so.
- Close with one final opportunity to shake everything out.
- If time allows, ask students what they noticed, and have a brief discussion.