Movement Activities for Older Students

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I frequently teach older students (17 and 18 year olds) for long periods of time at a stretch. I want to break up these sessions to keep their concentration levels up, but don’t want to let them take a real break as they tend to take twice as long as I allow (“I had to wait at the coffee cart for ages Miss….”).

I find that many of the traditional games are too “childish” for these young adults to participate in with pleasure so often I take an existing song (perhaps with a dance or actions I have used in earlier years with these students) and add movement to it. I try to make sure the activity has pedagogical value as well.

Here is one example I find works very well. 

Gut Sabat Euch! Traditional Yiddish folksong

(Also Gut Shabbas Eich and various other spellings)

Gut Sabat Euch

 

The song itself is great practice of the natural minor scale and syn-co-pa and has a lovely folk dance that traditionally goes with it (see instructions below). I don't use the words as the solfa is much easier!

With these older students we sing the song (several times if necessary) in solfa and discuss the tonality. We add walking the beat as we sing again.

The next step is to sing the song in solfa, walk the beat and tap this ostinato (yes, all at the same time!):  Gut Sabat Euch Ostinato

Once this has been mastered, tap the beat (or even conduct) and walk the ostinato – quite a challenge!

Students can create their own ostinati to take this activity even further. I would love to hear any ideas like this you may have that work well with your young adults!

 

Here are the instructions for the traditional folk dance:

Formation:

Students form a single circle with outstretched arms resting on the shoulders of the person on either side.

Section 1 (Bars 1 to 4):

Beat 1: Side step to the right with the right foot

Beat 2: Side step left foot BEHIND right foot

Beat 3: Side step to the right with the right foot

Beat 4: Swing left leg in front of right with a slight hop on the right leg

Beat 5: Side step to the left with the left foot

Beat 6: Side step right foot BEHIND left foot

Beat 7: Side step to the left with the left foot

Beat 8: Swing right leg in front of left with a slight hop on the left leg

Beat 9: Side step to the right with the right foot

Beat 10: Side step left foot BEHIND right foot

Beat 11: Side step to the right with the right foot

Beat 12: Side step left foot BEHIND right foot

Beat 13: Side step to the right with the right foot

Beat 14: Swing left leg in front of right with a slight hop on the right leg

Beat 15: Repeat beat 14

Beat 16: wait

Beats 17 to 32: Repeat in reverse direction.

Irish dance

Section 2 (Bars 5 to 8):

Beats 1 – 4: Individually students circle to the right on the spot clicking their fingers held above their heads on each beat

Beat 5: Stamp right foot and clap hands,

Beat 6: Swing left leg in front of right with a slight hop on the right leg and clap hands

Beat 7: Stamp left foot and clap hands,

Beat 8: Swing right leg in front of left with a slight hop on the left leg and clap hands

Beats 9 to 16: Repeat in reverse direction.

Section 1 (Bars 9 to 12): Repeat Section 1 (Bars 1 to 4) actions.

 

Two variations of the traditional dance can be seen here:

 

 

 

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