Movement Reflection – Day 4

Hey All!

It was great getting to know you today and spend time moving together! I really enjoyed exploring imitation with pulse, creating shapes alone and with a partner, traveling through space with shapes, and learning some folk dances. What are your thoughts on what we explored today? What was fun and what was challenging? What are you excited to try out with your students? Share below and respond to your colleagues! Musically Yours, Matthew


  1. Kathleen Mahurin Powell

    I appreciate Matthew’s calm tone of voice and “what if…” proposals. This will be fun to use ns hear the students use it for their own purposes.

    I am looking forward to making more of the movement-Music transfers and applications.

    • curtiskr

      The “what ifs” invite creativity and possibility for each of us. Great use of phrase! 🙂 I believe that same thought will go through our kids’ heads in the classrooms we teach. The wonder and joyfulness of each’s creative experience is where the art comes in.

  2. Amberlynn

    I enjoyed the pacing (even though/especially because my heart rate was up and it was WORK) and the artistry in movement that Matthew modeled.

  3. Paul Swardstrom

    I enjoyed the work that focused in on exploring the shape of our bodies. I believe it will really help to focus the work that I can do with my students, breaking these elements into pieces that are much more easily digestible to them. I can see how these elements will build upon themselves lesson to lesson.

    And, that was exhausting!

    • Brianna Valencia

      I too, really enjoyed the focus on exploring the shape of our bodies. I thought that Matthew’s method of giving us the position (i.e. sitting, standing, etc.) AND an adjective was highly effective in making me explore other movement possibilities that I might have not considered otherwise.

  4. Brianna Valencia

    I too, really enjoyed the focus on exploring the shape of our bodies. I thought that Matthew’s method of giving us the position (i.e. sitting, standing, etc.) AND an adjective was highly effective in making me explore other movement possibilities that I might have not considered otherwise.

  5. Amberlynn

    On the Reading:
    Personally: I feel like my relationship to music and dance is like a dance itself. I grew up in a culture where the music I loved wasn’t “dance” music, and the dance I tried to do (and failed) was nothing I could relate to and the music was foreign to me. My self concept was certainly one of musician and not that of dancer… until the opposite was true. After college I lost access to a piano and did not know where to find a choir so my musical identity almost died, yet my social partner dancing (swing, tango, blues) life was thriving. It is only recently that I have begun to be able to merge these two lives.

    Pedagogically: Intellectually, I get it now… that the two are integrally connected. However, I won’t know if I REALLY get it until I have USED the process within my practice. Also, the introduction reminded me of the writing axiom: “Short sentences, strong verbs.” Taking this to heart would certainly improve my practice. I need a broader range of verbs to live in my easy-access memory.

  6. mattcarlson

    It was great to have you joining us Matthew (great name, I may add).

    I have done body shapes as statues (tall, tiny, big, twisted, round…), but haven’t done ways of standing, sitting, or lying. What really got me, and that I’ll add to my statue activity was the transformation, I had them travel a few times, but never go between two shapes, nor share with a partner. The biggest challenge I found, and what I secretly loved the most, was the pace at which we switched how we sat, stood, or were lying down. I also like the challenge of one that’s never been done before…”nah, I’ve seen that.”

  7. benglish

    I was impressed with how he was able to give directions without a voice. That made me focus more on the music I was hearing and the movements I was making. I appreciated the variety of activities he gave and was surprised with how many times we repeated the same movement. I think I go change directions with my students too quickly.

    • ggoodson

      I agree about directions with no words! I kept thinking about how he had all of our full attention and how it was quiet but not a boring quiet; it seemed as if I could feel the energy from everyone and the excitement for the new move. I am excited to use this tactic with my students more!

      • Molly2018

        I agree. I talk too much. I found myself listening and watching carefully because I didn’t want to miss anything. I think my student would react that way tooo. And I count out loud. I love the way quietly hummed as we moved. It is so much more musical.

    • matthewstensrud

      It is amazing to see what can be done in the classroom without using words. We’ll explore more of this over the next week! – Matthew

  8. Andrea Dinkel

    I liked the, “Strike a pose that has never been done before” (or something along that lines). It did put a little more pressure on me, but at the same time, it made me create an original pose that I could not copy from anyone else in the room. I feel just that small part of the activity stretched my imagination and had me think a little harder about my next pose.

    • nathale_ho

      Totally agree! I think the kids will do even more unimaginable things with their bodies. I like the way that it is structured and yet open to a new creativity.

      • matthewstensrud

        Absolutely! Just a little push to take that risk and try something new without too much pressure. See you in the morning! – Matthew

  9. apeterkort

    Today’s class made me realize that movement isn’t just about moving for the sake of moving (or to get all the abundant energy out of our students, for example) but also through imitating the movement of the leader’s arms as precisely as possible, for example, then if necessary the follower making corrections that copy the the leader more accurately.

    Also I appreciated when Matthew gave further clarifying instructions to students and gave us the opportunity to repeat the movement for another chance at exact copying.

  10. tracycarol49

    I enjoyed the transforming shapes. It was fun to work with a partner to create a form, learn to smoothly transition while connected and even come up with a way to travel (sort of). In honesty, the repetition of the lying to standing position was a bit much for me today.

    • matthewstensrud

      Thank you for sharing, Tracy! Today was a tough day, you are right. We are pushing our bodies through these two weeks; always remember it’s okay to take a break and please put your own health and body first. – Matthew

  11. svanhoecke

    The flow of our class today was a great reminder to do more lessons that don’t involve speech from the teacher. Kids are so good at following once they figure out you aren’t going to talk. Plus it keeps everything a little more calm and focused. I really enjoyed the movement sentence activity, particularly the way that it was scaffolded for kids to be successful. We had lots of opportunities to practice shapes and transforming into a new shape before it became more of a performance piece.

    Matthew provided very exciting, joyful, and welcoming facial expressions that I think kids would respond so well to. I noticed he made eye contact and smiled at a student to wait for them to be ready. He didn’t stop and say “Are you ready?” he just waited and smiled with excited anticipation to begin. There was such a balance of energy and calm that made me feel ready to do whatever was next.

    My goal for the rest of our time together is to be more vulnerable and creative with my movement exploration. I am also hoping to learn how to create a safe enough space in my classroom for students to be willing to be vulnerable, too.

    -Stacy Figuracion

    • matthewstensrud

      Thank you for embracing that energy today, Stacy! Cultivating a space where that energy flows between teacher and fellow students can be challenging, but it is a very special and magical piece of the Schulwerk! – Matthew

  12. nathale_ho

    I am really amazed how Matthew taught movement to the class without saying anything and just dance it. It made me want to focus more and tried to anticipate what’s the next move. Also, the warming up your body in the beginning of the class. Exploring the idea of my space, waking up my bones and muscles and getting ready for the class.

    I am definitely will start my class with movement this year!!

  13. krismosch

    From the beginning I was reminded of the importance of deep, intentional breathing and a proper warm-up – things easily neglected (even in P.E. ) with our busy schedules and all the things we need to teach in a short amount of time. I want to focus more on giving children the time to arrive and get ready for what’s to come – in the mornings and after transitions.
    As a kindergarten teacher I especially liked the “farm’ story, which kids can easily relate to and they will just love! As an extension I would have the children come up with other “settings” and have them develop their own stories/movements in small groups. In fact, since we have an IB unit on stories, this could be used as an introduction.

  14. stalsberg87

    The lesson today really had my blood flowing! l loved exploring different levels and connecting with a partner to problem solve on how to travel across the space. I also really enjoyed the, “make a shape that has never been made in the world before!” I want to try using the drum for more sound cues like we did in today’s lesson with my kids. I can’t wait to see what else comes next.

  15. griebeew

    The pacing of instruction today was awesome. While we have certainly not been slow in the other classes, the tireless and insistent pacing of the directions, instructions, and even transitions from activity to activity were excellent models. I have noticed in my teaching a “rushed” feeling when I am trying to cover a lot, which tends to cause many students to freeze up and actually respond slower. So instead of getting frenetic in lessons, I am going to try and channel more of Mathew’s thoughtful attitude (usually with “What If”, like others pointed out) to gracefully transition and guide students to where I want them to go.

    I can’t wait to talk even more about what I should be looking for in students, and which vocabulary I use with students versus formal lesson plans.

  16. cwise

    My experience as a child was that movement occured in the gym and on the athletic field and music was a studious discipline, focused upon individual practice and excellence. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that music and movement merged in dance; but I’ve never had much exposure to any kind of dance forms. This experience has been enlightening, particularly today being allowed to improvise poses, then breaking down the poses to become aware of each body part an element of transforming from pose to pose. I’m probably going to feel the “workout” aspect of what we did but the exploration and discovery was incredibly fun for me. Its nice to feel safe to experiment though I am neither an Olympic athlete nor Juliard musician.

  17. cwise

    My experience as a child was that movement occured in the gym and on the athletic field and music was a studious discipline, focused upon individual practice and excellence. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that music and movement merged in dance; but I’ve never had much exposure to any kind of dance forms. This experience has been enlightening, particularly today being allowed to improvise poses, then breaking down the poses to become aware of each body part an element of transforming from pose to pose. I’m probably going to feel the “workout” aspect of what we did but the exploration and discovery was incredibly fun for me. Its nice to feel safe to experiment though I am neither a world class musician nor a world class athlete. The integral connection between music and movement is growing on me.

    • matthewstensrud

      I am so glad to hear you felt safe to take risks today! Let’s continue that over the next week as we dive into this further! – Matthew

  18. Lisa Marxer

    The movement lesson today definitely challenged me in many more ways than I expected. I was trying to get my body to move from standing to sitting, knowing full well that this will be much easier for elementary students! I truly enjoyed the interaction with colleagues (and all are new friends to me as of this week!) and the connection through movement. I am just starting to see the possibilities of using more movement in my music lessons starting this fall. I dance for my own enjoyment, but I never realized the unlimited possibilities of connecting dance to music and vice versa for young children until this week.

  19. BrianEJanssen

    As others have commented above, I’m always so impressed with teachers who can lead through so much of a lesson with little/no vocal instruction…I aspire to this one day! My favorite activity of the day was the one with the Latin music where we danced in a chain around in a circle (and later broke into four)…I’m pretty sure it was the same one that started and ended with the little shaker movements with our finger tips? I wish I remember that sequence better so I could give it a try; I saw them in the notes but I have trouble figuring out dance by looking at written instructions!

    All the back-and-forth standing and sitting would probably be easier for me 20 years ago(!) but sure liked the idea of it, and loved the idea of traveling from one shape to the other in a different spot…I wish I could have stepped back and watched the group do it together because it probably looked really neat.

  20. rehmkecj

    I felt really challenged by today’s movement activities. I am excited to develop my movement skills and use more in my classroom. I was really impressed with the lack of vocal instructions! I find that I talk way too much in the class when I really don’t have to spend that much time. I also liked utilizing different levels and thinking more creatively about my poses! Excited for more!

  21. brivalencia

    Something that I really liked during the shape exploration of our lesson was the drum cue for changing shapes. I am pretty shy so coming up with things around other people can sometimes make my mind go blank, but because there wasn’t any lead up to the change of positions (i.e. “change on count 8”) I didn’t have time to get anxious–I just reacted. It was probably the most at ease that I’ve been during a movement activity.

    • matthewstensrud

      Really glad to hear you felt at ease exploring movement today! Channel that energy and use it to guide us together over the next week as we find many more ways to use movement in our classrooms! – Matthew

  22. ggoodson

    I really enjoyed the circle game of movements that turned into a dance. I often play a similar game with my students but never thought to use it to introduce a style of dance that could be bridged to an actual dance! The scaffolding provided in the activity was wonderful and I can just imagine my kids absolutely lapping it up.
    I imagine I’m not alone in feeling a sense of victory and encouragement when one of the instructors does something that I already do, but I also appreciate how they are able to share ways to take it to the next level. Nothing I’ve seen is exactly how I do it (in a good way!) And it’s helped me so how to use what I already do as the building blocks for something bigger and better!

  23. Brandon Michael Day

    I really enjoyed the movement class from today, Thursday, August 2nd, 2018. The things that really caught my attention was how the class began with and incorporated a multitude of non-verbal activities. I enjoyed how the class began with non-verbal stretching in rhythm to the music being played and how the following dance number was completely silent. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research about reducing the amount of time designated to direct instruction and freeing up time in my limited classes. Phrases like “Talk less, DO more” or “Teach more, talk less” really resonated with me. Even though it seems nearly impossible to not talk at all throughout an entire class period, especially when describing an activity or game. However, on the past few Halloweens I’ve dressed as a Mime and stayed in character running silent rehearsals. My silence does seem to freak out the kids, or maybe it’s the French Mime outfit, aka European clown. 🙂

    • matthewstensrud

      I hope you have pictures of this costume, Brian! 🙂 You are right, non-verbal can truly transform a classroom and bring students further in to the learning. We’ll explore much more of that! – Matthew

  24. Kedra Davis

    I also loved the nonverbal instructions. Teachers can often get carried away with rambling direction which takes from valuable learning time! I definitely want to incorporate silent directions more in my classroom. I also really loved the barn story and dance and will definitely share it with my younger students. I also loved how the warm up incorporated breathing and I would love to try something similar with my choirs.

  25. vteachesmusic

    Growing up focusing on playing instruments and taking lessons, my family couldn’t afford for me to take dance and I was absolutely terrified at the prospect. I tried out “jazz dance” in community college and failed miserably at doing the entire choreography for MJ’s “Thriller” (the final knee slide rug burns took weeks to heal, haha). I tried out ballroom, and had the hardest time remembering which direction to go and when to take whichever step (and still do). Dance was something I felt like I wasn’t “good” at based on my prior experiences, but having a more free and spontaneous approach, with greater attention to the sensory experiences of movement (like yoga) has definitely helped me connect to the relationship of music and dance. Our shape composition today would be such an excellent way for students to explore and practice their very own abilities and respect and appreciate what others have to offer in a very non-threatening environment.

  26. kigari

    As a student, I enjoyed all the options for creativity and vigor, especially since the activities / expectations were scaffolded with teacher modeling, peer collaboration, and feedback. As a teacher, I appreciated learning from Matthew’s pacing, communication with the class, and variety of activities. In coming lessons, I am curious to learn how movement class can be meaningful not just for children who can move quickly and nimbly, but also for students for whom that might be a challenge.

    • kigari

      The website time stamp says I posted this at 1:02 p.m., but it was posted before class on Day 5, at 6:00 a.m.

  27. jcompto2

    This week has been so amazing learning to moving around as an individual and as a group! I love the creativity and playful fun!

    I can remember my early years of teaching when I was able to easily get down on the floor with my students. This week has reminded me that even though I may want to do everything that my students are doing, I have to be mindful of my body and listen to what I need.

    My plan will be to ask a student to be a special helper and model those movements that I am unable to demonstrate.

  28. curtiskr

    It was an amazing day of movement first off. I liked how we did a warm up and we concentrated on key words and body awareness. Also I was awe-struck with how expressive we were with tiny movements to the beat with our hands. A lot was said in the movement and music connection without big movement gestures. The pacing was challenging at first, but I eventually adjusted to it. Personally it made me buckle down and concentrate that much more on what exactly my movement and my partner’s movement was communicating artistically.

  29. Diana Rowey

    I enjoyed how we were able to move in so many different ways in unison and on our own with very little verbal instruction. The pace of the class was great as well. I am looking forward to discovering more creative ways to explore movement today.

  30. patrickh

    Mindfulness. It seems I need a great many more moments for mindful practice. Following directions while still being attentive to what the body is doing is hard! The mathematician in me wants to try to use the grid of tiles on the floor to gauge how well I’m using the same series of movements. Retrograde? Going back to the first shape in the reverse of how I achieved the second? Inversion? Wow! Using tools of composition in movement. It makes sense. And when giving the experience to students it becomes not only a tool for exploring music and movement, individually or together, but also building vocabulary and the enormous possibility within words.

  31. Molly2018

    I have always loved dance. Growing up I performed in folk dance, ballet, and loved modern dance. I was lucky enough to attend a performance of the Martha Graham’s dance company with Martha Graham explaining each dance.
    So now I am rediscovering dance. Some of my favorite things from today was the way we explored shape and how we paid special attention to our transitions from one shape to another. I like the way Matt gave nonverbal directions and his facial expressions. I knew he was watching and wanted me to be successful.
    I found that this experience was so creative and free. I was free to explore on my terms. I was not told what to do and how it should be. It left me feeling that I can express myself through movement without judgement. I felt free. And that is what art is to me. Freedom of expression.

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