Ask the Experts: I Want to Integrate Academics Into My Dance Classes

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Q: I'd like to integrate some academic subjects into my dance classes this school year. What online resources do you recommend I use to get started?


A: There are some great web-based tools out there to help you integrate other subjects with dance. One of the most thorough resources I've seen is Wesleyan University's site, dedicated to a collaboration between their scientists and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange (sciencechoreography.wesleyan.edu). The site has modules, lesson plans and recommended activities for studying genetics through dance. There are plenty of videos demonstrating components of the curriculum, and you can download the lesson plans and reflection templates. Another equally generous site is Julie White's Wiggle Genius (wigglegenius.com). She's sharing her work integrating math, science, language arts and cultural dances into K–6 classrooms. White offers fully documented lesson plans, video tutorials, assessment tools and resources.

Math and dance are natural partners. The PBS site (pbslearningmedia.org) is one of the few resources that offers full math-integrated lesson plans and links to videos that accompany those plans. I've mentioned the Kennedy Center's ArtsEdge site before (artsedge.kennedy-center.org)—it's a good place to find lessons that use dance to teach other subject areas, such as literature, foreign languages and history. Our best resource, though, is each other. When in doubt, I turn to the National Dance Education Organization's online forums to ask my peers for curriculum advice or ideas.

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends Seminary in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty at the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

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