Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dance Party USA

I learned this reading strategy from Justin Slocum Bailey, a Latin teacher and fellow user of CI, at this past summer's Pedagogy Rusticatio. I do not know if "Dance Party USA" is the official name of this activity, but this is what I call it. It is a variation of Ping Pong/Volleyball Reading. It is a fun activity which gets students moving around to music and has a Musical Chairs kind of feel to it.
  1. You will need two different colored index cards for the class, so that exactly half of the class will have one color and the other half will have the other. If there is an odd number of students in the class, you as the teacher will participate.
  2. Give each student a copy of a reading. The reading should be a re-reading of a story which students have already read (like an embedded reading) or a VERY COMPREHENSIBLE sight passage which they can easily read.
  3. Give each student one of the two colored index cards. Again, exactly half of the class needs to receive one color, and the other half needs to get the other color.
  4. Now play music, and tell students to circulate around the room while the music plays. Students may dance around as they move around the room!
  5. Stop the music after 25-30 seconds or so. Tell students now to pair up immediately with someone near them who is holding the other color index card. if there are an odd number of students, remember that you will be participating!
  6. The pairs of students will do a ping pong/volleyball reading of the story with each other
  7. After 90 seconds, start the music again, and tell students to stop reading and to circulate around the room.
  8. Stop the music after 25-30 seconds (this will give students time to move around the room), and tell students to pair up immediately with a new person who is holding the other color index cards.
  9. Continue doing this until students have read at least 1 1/2 times through the passage.
  1. You will need LOTS of room for this activity - a big open space is best. This is difficult to do with desks in the way. I have used the cafeteria area and hallway for this activity. 
  2. This activity gets loud due to the music. Warn the teachers around you that you will be doing this.
  3. This is a great way to get students to interact with each other. Like in Read Dating, if a student does not "prefer" his/her partner, he/she only has to spend 90 seconds with that person before moving on.
  4. Even though it is just ping pong/volleyball reading, the fact that students are moving around the room to music gives it a very different feel for them. As Carol Gaab says, "The brain CRAVES novelty."

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