MYP,  pegeeks,  Teacher Reflection,  Technology in PE

Just Dance!


I am not a trained Dance teacher.  I like dancing, but I am hardly a professional.  I can teach dance but I really wish I was better.  I discovered Just Dance on our Wii and after listening to Jarrod Robinson discuss how he uses Just Dance in his classes and talking to Alex Thomas, I am jumping on the bandwagon.

I have always gone for traditional Dance methods – teach moving to the beat, offer some dances such as folk or line or paired dances and then look at different styles and study videos on Youtube  and try some more basic moves and then ask students to create a dance.  This works.  However, I am finding out that you can add so much more colour to Dance if you liven it up with some neat little ideas that are entirely choreographed by professional dancers and shared on Youtube so I don’t have to pay for someone to come in (although that would be fabulous too) and we can dance to current music (important to my students) without explicit lyrics (important to me) and have fun and learn some quite difficult steps all at the same time (important to all of us!).

So, our Grade 7 Dance unit is made up of two different assessments. The concept driving us is ‘what makes a Great performance?’  Firstly the students have to choose  a Just Dance track and we agree as a class which we will choose.  Then we learn the Just Dance dance of this song.  We then break up into pairs and the students have to create 60 seconds of the song.  Their moves have to fit the genre/theme of the dance that is already made up and they have to meet the Criteria requirements (eg. levels, flow, flair etc) but now we have the makings of a truly amazing dance.  Check out last year’s Grade 7 dance to Gangham Style if you want to see what the students created.

So, this year my kids have chosen Die Young (by Ke$ha) and Can’t Hold Us (by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton).  I am excited to learn these Dance’s with the students and to work hard (great aerobic workout) as well as work on our coordination, timing and add a little creativity to the mix.  JustDance is awesome and AverageAsianDude (youtube sharer) is creative and a 5 star dancer and I thank  him for sharing too!   I encourage you to try it out.  Your kids will love it whether it be a warm up or a whole unit.

Our second assessment is about using our space creatively.  Yokohama Int’l School has a very small Dance space and so Alex’s plan is to teach a Dinner Dance.   If you have seen Beetlejuice (movie) there is a scene in it where the dinner guests are taken over by ghosts and dance and sing without really wanting to.  We have taken this theme and asked our students to create a Japanese Dinner Dance (mats for the table and they are kneeling/sitting on the floor).  Last year the Harlem Shake was involved… I can’t wait to see what happens this year.  I hear Pop Danthology or DJ Earworm may share our space….


  • mhamada

    Thanks for sharing Remke! Your website has some great stuff on it for aspiring QR code users. We have been using QR codes but the issue is that most students don’t have QR code readers or devices that read them (and they don’t bring them to PE) so it is difficult to rely on this in our classes, we are hoping to see that change with iPad use in G7 and then hopefully school wide.

  • Remke

    Hi Mel,

    Great work, clearly the kids enjoyed it. Have you thought about using QR codes to help you teach the subject? I have started off teaching the students the basics myself followed by working at various levels using QR codes as differentiation tool. Works pretty neat and save you a lot of preparation work, trying to master all the dances yourself. I have posted some resources on our site (aerobocs, ball room, line dancing etc) Have a look!

  • mhamada

    Thanks for the comment Tyler. We actually aren’t using a Wii but the recorded Wii Youtube clip of other users, this is a cheating way to get the choreography without playing the game…. Good luck with your course.

  • mhamada

    Hi Kylie, I will pass on your very kind remarks to Alex, he is the brain on this one! Thank you for sharing, it was a great start to my day to have such a welcome response to our ideas. We started off by teaching the entire sequence to the kids, then we decided with the kids which parts were repetitive and so chose a part of the song that allowed them to take out the repetitive movements and to add their own creativity. The stars on Youtube are the person who recorded the Wii or however they played the game. This is an interactive Wii game and we just took/borrowed their Youtube video to use – if you have a Wii as a school, this could also be an option but we chose the cheat! We initially had the video on the projector and I always start my warm up to the lessons with this so we go together through the song (with video and then without to see if they know the moves!). Then the kids have their own computers (Macbook Air) and they are in charge of bringing their own to the class, but to be honest, they just need to play the music at this point, so an ipod or mp3 player and some speakers would be sufficient. Then off they go, we have been doing pair and share for performance and now up to using Coach’s Eye on iPads for feedback from me as a formative model before summative assessment. Good luck Kylie, please let me know how it works out! Let me know if you have any more questions, they aren’t silly. Dr Karl (Triple J) always says, never silly questions, we are all learning! Enjoy!

  • Kylie Newbold

    Hi Mel,
    This looks just fantastic. Well done! When you taught this dance, do the kids learn the entire dance or just a section/part? Do the stars indicate different sections of the dance for kids to learn? is 5 stars, 5 different dance steps to learn? When you were working on this, did each group have an ipad/computer to learn and practice dance steps?
    Sorry about all the silly questions. I am hoping to do something like this in my PE lessons with the older students.
    Thanking you. I really enjoy following you and learning about your wonderful ideas. You are one very talented teacher/educator.

  • Tyler Mills

    Dear Mrs. Hamada,

    My name is Tyler Mills, I am from Mobile Alabama. I attend the University of South Alabama, I’m majoring in Physical Education. Dancing is a wonderful form of exercise for all age groups. This is a great way to make a cardio workout enjoyable.I am not the greatest dancer either, so teaching my students rhythm and dance through the Just Dance game on the Wii sounds like a great idea to me.

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