On January 25, 2020, our local Chapter welcomed Manitoba's own Dawn Muir for a workshop called Jamaica Play. Coming off a deep freeze in Edmonton, we were extremely happy for ideas for our classrooms that took us away to the warm and sunny shores of Jamaica!
Dawn started the workshop with some familiar circle activities with a few new surprises! As the teacher, playing a catchy rhythm on the conga "reinvents" some classic songs such as "Punchinello" and "Bluebird". It was nice to have some ideas on how to use rocks/bean bags, solo movement and partner clapping to accompany songs in circle formation.
Participants were introduced to a song "Chicken and Hawk" which provided the foundation for a series of activities-- amazing! Some of the different ideas that participants tried out were: call and response improvisation, creating word patterns and body percussion, using non pitched percussion, creating a drumming ensemble and adding movement groups.
Dawn also shared some literacy and music connections using the classic book "The Mitten" by Jan Brett. As educators, we understand the importance of cross curricular connections. It was nice having some ideas on how to create movement representing the different animals while choosing a fitting piece of music as a listening activity for students based on the book.
One of the highlights during the day was listening to the participants create beautiful accompaniments to "Water Come A Me Eye" and "Day-o". Dawn shared accompaniments that included recorder, I-V-I and I-IV-V accompaniments and percussion accompaniment on claves, grater, maracas, conga.
Dawn also shared some ideas on how adding dramatization to songs can allow children's creativity to shine. Songs like "Linstead Market", "Tingalayo" and "Anancy and Brother Tiger" can be used to bring together vocal, percussion and movement qualities. A shout out to the brave teachers who demonstrated their own creative actions and dance moves during these activities!
Our thanks go out to Dawn Muir for allowing us all to discover a bit of her world through music and for providing us with a day full of singing, playing and moving... in the Jamaican Way!
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