For dance, I have chosen to explore movement through a story. I have chosen “Sitting Ducks” by Michael Bedard.
“Each day at the Colossal Duck factory, a steady supply of ducks are hatched, destined for the plates of hungry alligators. One duck is taken home by a worker, and they make friends. But in an alligator-eat-duck world, can such a friendship survive?” (Warner, 2015)
EXA 0-08a – I have the opportunity and freedom to choose and explore ways that I can move rhythmically, expressively and playfully.
The story begins with the alligator factory line, which will begin with soothing machinery noises that builds up with the children getting up in a line.
The line then is interrupted by a falling egg which hatches the duck on impact, who is startled into life. This will be acted out as falling down in a controlled manner, starting off really high up on the assembly line to then slowly falling down to being the duck who is left sitting on the ground
The factory sound effect will be played again whilst the ducks (the children) explore the factory looking high and looking at all the machinery that is around them whilst the machinery plays.
The exploring will be interrupted by the kids making their own noise of being startled by seeing the big green alligator
The ducks will then sit down as they are taken out of the factory and will listen to the story as it continues.
When it is night time, the duck and the alligator like to do crazy dancing, so a music break will be played at this point – the ‘shake it’ breakdown of Hey Ya! will play for a freestyle dance part where the kids can make their own crazy moves
The story then leads to the duck being trapped by another alligator which will be expressed through the children making the expression they would make if they were shocked, we could share examples of these together and talk about how we would feel if we were in the duck’s position being trapped.
Then, the duck is reunited with his fellow ducks and they have to exercise to make sure they can fly away from the factory. A zumba dance routine will be used to highlight the importance of exercise for the ducks to be able to be fit and healthy to fly away. A discussion about health and wellbeing can be had at this point about the importance of movement in our daily lives.
When the ducks fly away, I will get the kids to act out flying away accompanied by slower classical music by Johann Strauss. The float-like nature of the music will work well with the imagery of the ducks being in the sky, free from the assembly lines of the alligator factory.
As the story draws to an end, the main duck and alligator friends are reunited in a tropical holiday destination, so I will get the early years class to lie down as calming beach sounds will be played to initiate the cooldown. A run through of the experiences we’ve had as the sitting ducks can also be explored.
This will then lead into a final wrap up of what we’ve learned about the story and about the importance messages created:
- being active is important to our wellbeing
- We can make friends with unlikely characters, against the perceptions of the norm
- Not everything is as it seems
Overall, this story works well with an early years class and would benefit for specific aspects to be teased further out with prompts of dance movements and aspects of choreography.
Warner, M. (2015) Teaching Ideas: Sitting Ducks, Available at: https://teachingideas.co.uk/library/books/sitting-ducks (Accessed: 9 October 2019).