Teaching foundational text skills to our youngest learners can be a true challenge. Often, it’s hard to really make those explicit skills fun and engaging. And nothing’s worse for classroom morale and management than boring Pre-K or Kindergarten students. So for today’s free arts integration lesson, we’re using dance to teach text space!
If there’s one thing that our smallest students enjoy, it’s moving. So why not take advantage of their energy and use it to help understand the idea of space between letters and words? In this lesson, students are exploring the element of space in dance through this incredible organizational chart from the Perpich Center for Arts Education. I just love the way they break down each of these elements into easy-to-understand language.
Then, students read the book Alphabet Soup by Kate Banks. This is the tale about a young boy who refuses to eat his soup and lets his imagination go wild instead. The letters in his soup transform into words and the words then come to life. It’s the perfect book for early childhood classrooms who are diving into the difference between letters, words and how one transforms into the other.
Finally, students get to participate in making their own Alphabet Soup Words which they transform into living objects through the use of dance. Importantly, we focus on how they use the element of space that they explored at the beginning of the lesson to demonstrate the words they create from their alphabet soup.
This lesson is so much fun to use when working on this foundational text skill for young children. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.