I have a growing collection of playful and quirky books about the transformation of objects. This theme has great potential in a dance class with students in 3rd-6th grades. Seasoned teaching artists - read on.....
Let me begin with Durga Bernhard's book In the Fiddle Is a Song. "In the acorn is a tree waiting to grow tall. In the clay is a pot waiting to be shaped." The poetic text, talking about 9 different items changing, can beautifully inspire a dance about transformation and transitions. Whether you have only one student at a time represent each page, or students work in small groups of 2 or 3, the project will challenge students to work on shapes, transitions, and changes in level, size, and quality.
Second, I love the wordless book Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Arégui. Each spread shows two images - without text - challenging your imagination about the changes and transformations from A to B. Some are animals, and others are objects. Some examples include: a rocket ship/the moon, a deck of cards/a formation of cards, and a spider/a cobweb. If you have a group of students who improvise well together, you can use the book as a springboard for a group improv. Over the course of several classes, you could improvise with 6-10 of the pages.
Last, in a similar vein to Before After, there is the art book The Art of Clean Up by Ursus Wehrli. This photography book captures an item - such as a Christmas tree, sandbox at a park, or bouquet of flowers. Photo #1 is of the item; photo #2 is of the item taken apart and organized by shape, color, or size. Like Before After, this could lead to a group improv exercise exploring shapes. And, how do you transition from the first image into the second idea? It's a great exploration of re-organization.