When you and your students explore the letter R, these books can be springboards and inspiration for improvisations and dance projects. R is for: red, ribbons, rainbows, raindrops, running, and rectangles.
R is for Red
To explore the color red, you can pull out all of your books about colors. Four examples include: My Many Colored Days, Colour, Living Color, and The Rainbow Book. What are our associations with red? How can we translate these ideas into movement? Ideally, see if you can pull out 3-5 books on color. Look at the red pages, and then explore movement ideas related to these pages. You can even string the 3-5 ideas together.
R is for Ribbons
Students love exploring props. Purchase some spools of ribbon at the local fabric or craft store (enough so that each student has a piece 24 inches in length).
Carole Lexa Schaeffer's book The Squiggle is a favorite of mine. In the story, the ribbon becomes many different things and images. The book's text easily can translate into a dance.
R is for Rainbows
Surprisingly, there are only a few children's stories related to rainbows. The two that I keep coming back to for dancing inspiration are:
- Don Freeman's 1978 book A Rainbow of My Own
- What Makes a Rainbow? by Betty Schwartiz and illustrator Dona Turner
Purchase some reasonably priced tulle at the fabric store in a variety of rainbow colors.
As mentioned above, The Rainbow Book by Kate Ohrt is a unique addition to your collection of books about colors and emotions. Instead of images of people or animals, the art in the book is a series of paper cut outs, reminiscent of handmade snowflakes or Mexican cutout banners:
The text on each page will inspire an improv, or help you create a group dance. "When I feel orange, I am energetic and strong.....When I feel blue, I am calm and peaceful."
R is for Raindrops
Rain is coming. You can feel it in the air.
So begins the new picture book Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre.
With clear photographs and poetic text, this is an example of a book where the words literally dance off the page and inspire students to move. Most of the text can be directly used to create actions and movement phrases. Verbs include: plop, drop, patter, spatter, wash, weigh down, and thud.
Try out the instrumental song "Halinkata Djoubé" by Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Siegel for your project.
R is for Running
"Run run run as fast as you can. You can't catch me. I'm the gingerbread man!"
So goes the classic chant from The Gingerbread Boy. I love Richard Egielski's version of the tale, this time taking place in the city. Even young students quickly catch on and remember the chant. (For the chant, I have the students run in place.)
R is for Rectangles
Reference picture books and poetry books that talk about various shapes. From there, students can make rectangle shapes with other students. You can also make loops of elastic (about 4 feet in length) so that students can use the elastics to explore rectangles as well.
Books to reference include:
- When a Line Bends....A Shape Begins by Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrator James Kaczman
- Shape Me a Rhyme by Jane Yolen and photographer Jason Stemple