Thursday, September 30, 2010



8 Anne Green Gilbert

BrainDance for ages 5 Adults

Put together movements from the 8 patterns below starting with breath and ending with vestibular stimulation. You can do the BrainDance standing, traveling through space or lying on a bare floor. I prefer the "5 minute Standing BrainDance" described below for a quick warm up before tests, performances, presentations, and during computer work and TV watching for brain integration, recuperation and oxygenation, a whole body/brain warm up, centering and to wake up or calm down.

! Breath 4 5 deep breaths through the nose and out the mouth filling the belly, diaphragm and lungs.

! Tactile First squeeze strongly each arm and each leg and the torso, back, head (whole body). Then tap lightly whole body, then slap sharply whole body and then brush smoothly whole body. It is best to do topside and bottom side of arms and hands, face, neck and front torso and down legs and feet then head, neck and back torso and back of legs.

  • Core Distal movement movement that moves from the center out, through and beyond the fingers, toes, head and tail. Movement that grows and shrinks, stretches and curls in big "X"s and little "o"s is great!

  • Head Tail movement movement that connects the head and tail (lowest part of spine or coccyx). Play with movement that brings head and tail together curving forward and backward and side to side. Keeping the knees bent helps to release the tail. End with a spine wiggle.

! Upper Lower Connection ground the lower half of body by pressing legs into floor with a slight knee bend. Swing arms in different directions and stretch and dance upper body in different ways. Ground upper half by reaching arms out into space with energy as though you were hugging the earth. Dance with lower half try marching in place, simple knee bends, jumps, leg brushes and other actions.

! Body Side Connection Make a big X with your body. Dance with the left side of your body while keeping the right side stabile (still). Then keep the left stabile and dance with the right side. With knees and elbows slightly bent like a "W" bring the left half of the body over to meet the right half and vice versa (like a book opening and closing). Follow your thumb with your eyes as it move$ right to left and left to right. Do the lizard crawl with arms and legs open to the sides one side bent and the other stretching like a lizard crawling up a wall. Move your eyes right to left and left to right (looking at the thumb near your mouth helps) to develop horizontal eye tracking.

  • Cross Lateral Connection Do a parallel standing crawl with legs and arms in front of you. Let your eyes travel up and down looking at one thumb as it reaches high and low for vertical eye tracking. Do a cross lateral boogie dance finding as many ways of moving cross laterally as possible such as touching right knee to left elbow, left hand to right foot, right hand to left knee, left hand to right hip, skipping.

  • Vestibular Stimulation swing upper body and head up and down and side to side. Make sure head is "upside down." Spin 15 seconds one way, breathe and rest 15 seconds, then spin 15 seconds the other way. Take 3 4 deep breaths to center yourself after spinning!


Smart Moves, Carla Hannaford. Arlington, VA: Great Ocean Publishers, 1995.

Teaching With The Brain in Mind, Eric Jensen. ASCD, Alexandria, VA, 1998. 800 933 2723

Arts with the Brain in Mind, Eric Jensen. A4CD, Alexandria, VA, 2041.

Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People, Robert and Michele Root Bernstein. Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

Learning and Memory: The Brain In Action, Marilee Sprenger. ASCD, Alexandrai, VA 1999 ,www.

Connections, Total Body Integration through Bartenieff Fundamentals, Peggy Hackney. Gordon Breach Publishers (available in paperback from

Brain Gym, Paul and Gail Dennison. Edu Kinesthetics PO BOX 3396, Ventura, California 93006.

Ph: 805 650 3303, Fax: 805 650 0524.

lOl Questions Your Brain Has Asked About Itself But Couldn't Answer Until Now, Faith Hickman Brynie, Mihbrook Press, Brookfield, CT, 1998

The Learning Revolution, Goraon Dryden &Dr. Jeannette Vos, The Learning Web, 800 637 6893

Knowing Dance, Marion Gough, Dance Books Ltd, London 1999. (best practices philosophy)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Top Ten Reasons Brain-Compatible Teaching Is So Successful

By Terry Goetz, Director of Education and Outreach, Creative Dance Center

During visiting week at the Creative Dance Center
parents see their child dancing, laughing, listening,
sharing, problem-solving, developing movement
skills and technique, building physical coordination,
developing social skills, creating, reflecting, and
responding. Wow! That’s a lot of powerful learning
going on in a dance class. There is a powerful
reason why and it’s called Brain-Compatible
teaching. Our Mission states, “Creative Dance
Center, a non-profit organization, provides brain-
compatible quality dance education for people of all
ages, infants through seniors.” CDC truly is a
mission driven organization. Anne Green Gilbert,
Artistic Director and founder of the Creative Dance
Center has made it her mission in life to educate the
faculty of CDC and dance teachers and educators
worldwide about the profound impact brain-
compatible teaching can have on students in any

Technology advances have allowed brain
researchers and neuroscientists to discover amazing
things about the human brain, how it develops and
is hard-wired in the early years and how it learns. In
order to learn we need whole brain integration.
Movement in the early years of life sets the stage
for this integration. If the low brain and mid-brain
do not get wired correctly, the upper brain has to
take on tasks the lower and mid-brain should be
processing automatically. This places stress on the
upper brain and impacts behavior and cognitive
development. By incorporating current brain
research into our work, we can approach teaching
and education in a meaningful, cohesive, and
exciting way. Parents shouldn’t feel the need to
become “brain experts,” but some basic information
about brain-compatible teaching and learning is
empowering and can benefit you, your family, and
your community.

And now…

The Top Ten Reasons Why Classes At The Creative Dance Center Are Brain-Compatible
and So Much Fun

1. We provide meaningful curriculum. The brain
wants to learn and make meaning out of
experiences. The Creative Dance Center’s
curriculum is based on 15 dance concepts.
These dance concepts are rich in meaning and
relate to many facets of life. Exploring these
concepts in a variety of ways through the
multiple intelligences means students don’t just
learn dance steps; they make choices, develop
critical thinking skills, and use the concept to
construct their own learning. The curriculum is
supported by the 5 Part Lesson Plan which
allows for teacher-directed movement to
alternate with student-centered activities. A
dance class that includes repetition,
relationships, reflection, and recuperation
supports meaningful learning for all.

2. We provide an enriched environment. A
multi-sensory environment and challenging
curriculum promote the growth of brain cells
that are larger, have more dendrites, and
communicate better with one another. In our
dance classes props and manipulatives, pictures,
music, written language, spoken language,
obstacle courses, movement and motor skill
development all contribute to a stimulating
sensory experience.

3. We give meaningful feedback. Teachers at
CDC give specific, descriptive, timely, and
positive feedback to students throughout the
lesson. Students are able to learn, grow, and
develop with this interactive and meaningful
feedback; the brain needs feedback to make
meaning out of an experience.

4. We include opportunities for emotional
engagement. We strive to create a joyful, fun,
and challenging atmosphere in our classes. This
helps to release the chemical serotonin (a feel-
good chemical). A negative or stressful
environment releases the chemical cortisol,
which in large amounts can actually damage
brain cells. Reflection and sharing thoughts and
experiences after exploring a dance concept,
developing skills, or sharing choreography,
emotionally engages students.

5. We allow for social interaction. Humans are
social creatures and because the brain learns
through social interaction we seek out
relationships. Classes at the Creative Dance
Center include a variety of groupings such as
pairs, trios, and small and large groups. This
allows students to learn from one another,
collaborate, problem-solve, and breaks down
gender, cultural, and learning style differences.

6. We present developmentally appropriate
curriculum. Understanding the developmental
stages of the students in a class is critical to
offering a curriculum that is challenging but
achievable. Bored or frustrated students will
often engage in inappropriate behavior if
inappropriate curriculum is presented. Through
teacher education, workshops, and collaborative
discussions, CDC’s faculty is able to present
developmentally appropriate curriculum to all

7. We allow students to take control of their
learning. Teachers at the Creative Dance Center
are facilitators who allow students to construct
their own learning and re-create what they have
learned. The brain learns by working out
solutions in order to understand material and
will retain information longer if given this
student-centered opportunity. Exploring dance
concepts and solving movement “problems” in a
variety of ways motivates, engages, and bestows
responsibility on students. Improvising,
creating, and choreographing synthesizes
concepts and makes what has been learned
personally meaningful.

8. We provide both novel and repetitious
experiences. Optimal learning is made up of a
balance of novelty and repetition. Novelty
creates the brain’s synaptic connections and
repetition hard-wires those connections. The
conceptual approach we use at the Creative
Dance Center introduces novelty into each class
by exploring a new dance concept each week.
Repetition is inherent in the structure of our 5-
part lesson. Through repetition, dance skills and
technique can be developed and improved. The
novelty of the dance concept keeps this skill
development from becoming boring or

9. We provide information about proper
nutrition. Our brains need good nutrition,
plenty of water, and oxygen. Without them, our
brains cannot fully function. The importance of
a healthy diet and a hydrated body receiving
plenty of oxygen through breath and exercise is
something we share with students during rest
time and at other valuable moments.

10. We offer a curriculum that is holistic and
sequential. All teachers at the Creative Dance
Center have an amazing tool that makes lesson
planning automatically holistic and sequential.
The 5-Part Lesson Plan gives students the
opportunity to learn about a whole idea in
context rather than in sub-parts and pieces. The
dance concept is the “big idea” of the class and
the (1) BrainDance (warming-up), (2)
Exploration of the Concept, (3) Developing
Skills, (4) Creating, and (5) Closure/Cooling
Down are the sequential pieces that make the
whole so satisfying.

The next time you have the opportunity to observe a dance class at the Creative Dance Center, give
yourself a little test. See if you can identify where brain-compatible principles are being used in the
lesson plan and notice how learning, behavior, skill development, and creating are affected by
putting these principles into practice. Now you know why we say, “The Creative Dance Center
provides the best dance education in the Northwest since 1981!”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Networks away!!

I'm now twittering, diigoing, and google-reading!! It's somewhat overwhelming but exciting at the same time as the pieces fall into place. Here is my google-reader page and also my twitter
In my google reader, I'm following my classmates Meg and Jessica's blogs so I see their new post for the PLE. I'm also following websites we'll be using and have been introduced to through this class. I'm also following a few dance and dance education blogs so I'm up to date and current with that.
Teaching with Technology
Meg's Blog
Jessica's Blog
Better Learning or Better Learners?

Twitter I'm following two different dance tweets so I'm informed on events and issues there. I've also found a few friends to add so I can follow them as well.

The most beneficial thing I've found so far was actually what I bookmarked on Diigo today. The official NDEO website. This organization is something I've been learning about and need to be familiar with because they will greatly influence me in my future career as a dance educator, so it's great to have it easy accessible and bookmarked there for me and my fellow dance education majors.

New Gadget!

I added a new and exciting gadget!! Take the poll! I want to know what your favorite holiday is? Cause who doesn't love holidays?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Learning- Full Speed Ahead!

Things really start flying once you get going. I love how simple Blogger is and how it is clearly outlined and organized so you can figure most things out completely on your own. I've already been able to navigate my way around to choose a new outline, background, colors, themes, etc. Of course, I found a picture of some ballet pointe shoes to represent my ballerina self. I'm not loving it however, so I think I'm going to search for a new background and appearance that's a little more aesthetically pleasing.

Although brief, I've started my "about me," my profile information, and figured out how to not only add a picture, but crop it as well! That was exciting. I also have invited followers, so far i'm my only one. I hope I sent out invitations correctly (I'm really not sure if I did). I know I must sound technology challenged, and you're probably right! I honestly do not know much about these tools, but I think it's great that they're fairly simple to catch onto. Back to clicking around to keep discovering more!

OH! and here's a link to google.