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Herriman Journal

Herriman Elementary fourth graders rock the house at Legislative Luncheon

Mar 16, 2020 01:29PM ● By Jet Burnham

Fourth grade students showcase what they know about rock formations with whole body movement and body shapes in “We Will Rock You.” (Jana Shumway/Herriman Elementary)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Twenty-three fourth graders from Herriman Elementary rocked the house at a Utah state legislators appreciation luncheon held Jan. 31 to showcase Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Programs.

“It was an honor to be invited since they have around 400 elementary schools who have the BTSALP to choose from,” said Jana Shumway, BTSALP dance educator at Herriman Elementary.

Linda Gold, BTSALP instructional coach for Jordan School District, said the luncheon gives state representatives an opportunity to see the effects of arts in education.

“They get to see the joy in the faces of the children as they listen to them tell about core subjects through art,” she said.

Shumway created a 12-minute presentation called "We Will Rock You” to show guests, including state representatives, educators and arts specialists, how she teaches students academic concepts through dance and movement.

“We were learning about different kinds of minerals rocks—sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic,” said fourth grader Ruby Wright. “We did different moves and dance for each type of rock. We sang in this cool rhythm, and we told about them in our lines.”

Using the basic elements of dance—time, space, energy, body and motion—Shumway choreographed students with fun movements and body shapes representing the formation of rocks and concepts such as heat and pressure. To represent the formation of sedimentary rocks, students floundered around as if they were tiny rock particles in water. As they sank to the floor, a flowing sheet of blue fabric slid over them, and they became compressed at the bottom of the ocean floor.

“Their hands are pressing, their bodies twisting and turning, as they go lower and lower down to the floor,” said Shumway.

Students said the performance was a fun way to show what they had learned.

“My favorite part about it was when we were learning about igneous rocks and how they form in the volcanoes” said AJ Lealaogata.

Lydia Carr liked the part about fossils. Her group used their bodies to form a rock and then broke away to expose a Utahraptor made up of three students positioned to represent its head, body and tail.

As a dance specialist at Herriman Elementary, Shumway provides kinesthetic learning for students to physically explore concepts from their core class curriculums. She said the physical use of their bodies is an effective visual and kinesthetic learning tool.

“The movement sticks in their heads, which is just such a great powerful way to cement what they've learned so that they'll never forget it,” Shumway said. “Hopefully when they take their science test, they'll think back to it and have that ingrained in their head because they can see the movement, they can remember doing that, they remember what the movement represents.”

Shumway has been a dance specialist for nine years and was recently recognized as the Utah Dance Educator of the Year by the Utah Dance Education Organization.

Each class at Herriman Elementary spends time each week learning with Shumway. [JB1]  Students act out the stages of the water cycle, learn about the history of soccer through movement or participate in a “Fly over Utah” experience where they move like the different types of plants they would see from the air.

Each year, students showcase what they’ve learned with Shumway through an informance, an informative performance. This year, second graders will demonstrate what they’ve learned about gravity, the world and communities. The third grade’s informance will be about the moon and force and motion. Kindergarteners will perform "Pete the Cat," and first graders will perform "Giraffes Can't Dance."

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