Read Across America - Cat in the Hat

March 01, 2018

March has arrived and it’s one of our favorite months here at Dance Exploration, as it means time to Get Loose with Dr Seuss as we celebrate Dr Seuss’s Birthday on March 2nd and Read Across America Day!

To kick off 4 weeks of Reading and Dancing in our Preschool classes, we start with a favorite classic Seuss Story – “The Cat in the Hat!”

As part of our goal to improve Reading Comprehension and readiness in young children, the Dance me a Story™ Program (formerly the Terpsichore Literacy Program™) takes children in the Dance Exploration Preschool Program on an adventure in reading as we dance out our favorite stories and characters through obstacle courses and other live-action dance adventures.

Dr Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat,” is a perfect book for our Reading and Dance Adventures as it incorporates a lot of movement verbs throughout – including balancing games, bouncing, jumping running, leaping, flying kites and more!

Let’s look at how Dance Exploration incorporates one of Dr Seuss’s most beloved characters in our dance classes.

To begin, we read the story of the “Cat in the Hat”.

The story begins as a girl named Sally and her unnamed brother, who serves as the narrator of the book. There mother is out,  and they can’t go out because it’s a cold, rainy day. Then they hear a loud bump which is quickly followed by the arrival of the Cat in the Hat. The Cat entertains the children with some tricks that he knows. The children’s pet fish refuses, insisting that the Cat leave. The Cat responds by balancing the fish on the tip of his umbrella, the game he calls “Up, Up Up with the Fish”. The game quickly becomes more complicated, as the Cat balances himself on a ball and tries to balance lots of household items on his limbs until he falls on his head, dropping everything he was holding.

Dance Exploration incorporates this part of the story during our Warm Ups. We played our own version of Up Up with the Fish. Sitting in a butterfly stretch, we made a fish bowl by holding our hands above our head. We rocked back and forth trying to balance our fish bowl on our head. We pretended to spill the fish by bending down and sniffing our toes!  

While reading the story, we noticed the Cat in the Hat added more and…and MORE things to balance on when he played “Up, Up, Up with the Fish”. In our straddle stretch we collected all kinds of silly things to balance (reach for toes- pat the floor) on like the Cat in the Hat. After everyone had their things, we stood up and balanced on one leg as long as possible.

After Up, Up, Up with the Fish, the Cat brings in a big red box from outside, from which he releases two identical creatures with blue hair and red suits called Thing One and Thing Two. The Things cause more trouble, such as flying kites in the house, knocking pictures off the wall and picking up the children’s mother’s new polka-dotted gown.

To complete our Warm Ups, we practiced our pointe and flex by pretending to catch Thing One and Thing Two with our toes. Pointe your feet to catch Thing One…let him go (flex) then catch Thing Two.

We combined the Cat in the Hat’s games and tricks together as we finished out our classes.

For Exploring the Concept we played “Up Up Up with the Fish” by practicing our Pliés and Tendus. First we held Fish bowl down low (arms en bas), then held it higher (1st position). Then all the way up (High Fifth) – all while doing our pliés. Then when the fish was all the way up, we practiced tendu passé and balanced as long as we could.  

For our Developing Skills section of class, we pretended that we were Thing One and Thing Two and flew our kite down the hall by practicing our Chassés/gallops. At the end at the hula hoop we spun wildly pretending to knock things over. Next we learned a new move for some- the Crab Walk! We made it more fun by adding a fish on their belly to try and balance.

For our Story Dance Pathway™ We completed a fun Thing 1 and Thing 2 obstacle course this week. It was set up like a relay race so two dancers could go at a time (if we had room).

The first part of the obstacle course, we played Up Up with the fish. We Balanced a fish (or other stuffed animal) on our belly and crab walked through a tunnel (two jump ropes or tape lines etc). Next we practiced our Flying a kite (gallop/chassé) with a scarf through another tunnel. Balancing act- on a mat we balanced the fish (stuffed animal) on our head while balancing on one leg. Hop scotch on a ball- we placed down some circular mats and had the kids hopscotch across the balls. At the end, in the hula hoop,  they twirled around and tied to balance on one leg.

The Cat in the Hat’s tricks come to an end when the fish spots the children’s mother out the window. In response, Sally’s brother catches the Things in a net, and the Cat, apparently ashamed, stores them back in the big red box. He leaves with the Things as the children observe the mess left behind. Luckily, the Cat soon returns, riding a machine that picks everything up and cleans the house, delighting the fish and the children and just before the Mother returns home. As she steps in, the mother asks the children what they did while she was out, but the children are hesitant and do not answer. The story ends with the question, “What would you do if your mother asked you?”

To end class as part of the Creating we played “Don’t Get Caught – Freeze Dance. All the kids were Thing One and Thing Two and the teacher had the net (hula hoop). When the music played all the Things danced. When the music stopped, if they were still moving they got trapped in the net.

 

 

 

 

We had a blast Reading and Dancing to Dr Seuss this week. We have three more weeks of Seussical Stories:

Week 2: Gertrude McFuzz

Week 3: Yertle the Turtle

Week 4: To Think I Saw it on Mulberry St

How did you celebrate Dr Seuss’s Birthday? Let us know in the comments!

©Dance Exploration, LLC and the ‘Dance to Learn!’® Curriculum. All RIghts Reserved.

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