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Kid Companions- Chewelry: Aug 19, 2010

August 19, 2010

Danceland CD: Fun Songs and Activities to Improve Sensory Skills~Review

Authors: Kristen Fitz Taylor and Cheryl McDonald

August, a perfect time of the year to be reviewing this Danceland CD:Fun Songs and Activities to Improve Sensory Skills. Soon the teachers and homeschooling parents will be looking to add new items to their schoolbag of tricks. If you are looking for a handy, well organized CD to enrich, calm or motivate your students, Danceland must be added to your list. You will be pleased with all the sensory-motor activities hidden in Danceland. Engaging music motivates all students to participate in rhythmic expression which is  fundamental to physical, cognitive, and emotional development.

What I like in particular, as I am not at all musical, is the freedom the children are given to move without ‘learning steps or a routine’ but in most cases they are invited to let the music move them. So each and every child in class will feel OK and successful about each session. The fine quality of music and the numerous musical instruments heard engages all children regardless of ability in rhythmic expression.

To immediately set the mood of the class, the first Songames transports the kids on an imaginary airplane to all these exotic countries where they can enjoy their unique style of music. The liftoff is very real as they are even asked to fasten their seatbelts for the departure. The last song, the arrival, lands you back at the airport with relaxing, calm music that would end the music session perfectly.

When using this CD, I would start and finish each time with the departure and arrival and include one of the other 18 selections as the main part of our session. The possibilities are almost endless in the way this variety of music can be used.

The whole class can experience the music of a part of the world they are studying in Social Science or that is in the recent news. Native American, Caribbean, African or Turkish music will offer a completely different session each time.

This CD could be part of their daily physical education class as they move to polka, tango and snappy tap music. With Messenger, the kids are asked to drift in a spaceship among the stars and planets with slow, large, lumbering movements.

The calming music of Cloud Dance could be used before assemblies or sit down work. Some Songames like First Snowfall are seasonal. Others will lift spirits and get the group laughing as they Boogie on Wild Thing or add their voices to One Foot Out of the Shade.

The accompanying ‘Travel Guide’ that fits neatly in the CD case has lesson plans for each of the 20 selections. There are over 75 active-learning dance activities to develop motorskills. These sensory-motor activities are safe and sound for all ages and abilities.

The Treasure Chest page has a long list of props to make the kids movements even more fun like scarves, ribbon sticks, hoops…

If I was still a teacher, I would make sure that the Danceland CD was sitting on my desk ready to be used. One CD but many hours of interactive, musical pleasure!

Meet the authors:
Kristen Fitz Taylor is a physical therapist in Colorado, who has been a student and teacher of dance for over twenty years.
Cheryl McDonald is a physical therapist who began dancing at age four. She has been teaching Developmental Dance since 1993.  
Includes CD + booklet
Price: $21.95

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