Friday, October 21, 2011

The Brain Dance

At the beginning of this year I attended a new teachers academy, as I was a new teacher in Beaverton School District.  As expected, some information was a review, and some was valuable new ideas.

One of those ideas was the Brain Dance.  This was developed by Ginger Habel, a mentor-teacher in Beaverton, for her Master's thesis.  When students find out or enter the classroom to take a quiz or test, they are in a fight or flight mode, with most of the blood in their brain stem.  This does not serve them in an academic environment as all the information and analytic prowess is centered in the now oxygen-starved cerebrum.

The purpose of the Brain Dance is to move blood from the brain stem to the cerebrum by getting them active and making them laugh.  Which, as you can tell from the video of me leading the Brain Dance before a quiz earlier this week, is well accomplished by the dance routine.

I forgot some of the original moves when I first taught them the Brain Dance, and they have stuck.  But here's the original list Ginger Habel was kind enough to send me:

After the Sunrise: 3 big yoga breaths.  Start arms low and breath in while arms reach for the sky
Chariots of Fire:  Slow mo run
Staying Alive: Disco move- point left cross body (2) point right cross body (2) both arms (2-3)
YMCA: You know this one!
Hand Jive: Hit legs twice, clap twice, shuffle twice, pound it twice then point right then left
Billie Jean:  Moon walk
Thriller: Scary hands (right, left right) then walk, scary hands again, walk back finish with scary hands
Chicken Dance: You know this one
Ice Ice Baby: This is the running man or run backwards (The Jerk- some kids call it)
Mony Mony: Ride the pony!  Lasso in air, reins in hands and gallop around in a circle
Jump Around: Just jump up and down
The Rose: Butterfly hands up left, Butterfly hands up right, then swirl from high to low and end with right arm reaching toward sky (like it's growing!)
What is Love: Head bobs- 4 to the right, 4 to the left then repeat both sets
Cotton-Eyed Joe: Cowboy kick right and left or a variation of jumping around
Hey Ya: Shopping cart, Lawn mower start, Sprinkler then end with Yoga breaths as music fades.

And I will link to the CD track in this post next week - the CD lives next to my school CD player right now.

Update: 12/21/2011 - Sorry this took so long, y'all.  Here's the CD track.  I'm not sure how much bandwidth I have, so if you have trouble downloading it, come back and try again the next day.