Wow! When I watch this amazing video of the Bell Biennale by Steven Pam it felt like it was yesterday the festival happened. Thank you so much Steven for putting this together. You have really captured the moment and the overall feeling of the festival. Argh the rain! We are so glad that Steven captured the weather with the majestic sounds of the Balinese Gamelan DanAnda in the opening sequence. Reflecting back, Chelsea and I feel that the weather in some way enabled a shared struggle that bonded the school community around the festival.
Chinese art and music has been the main focus for the 5/6 students in preparation for the Bell Biennale Arts Festival (Our Asian Neighbours). Last Monday grade the 5/6 students had great learning opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Chinese culture when the Melbourne Chinese Museum visited the school to run three workshops. The first workshop was a Chinese language infused dance with all the grade 5/6 students. Included in some of the dance routine was also some simple Tai Chi moves.
After getting warmed up with the dance 5/6 students were ready to learn about Chinese medicine. During this session the students had a hands on experience with an interesting variety of herbs, fungi and other medicinal plants. After learning about what some of the herbs can cure the students were then given a mock patient that need help with a particular ailment. Students were then charged with the task of choosing the right recipe to make a soup that could possibly cure the ailment.
The third workshop was about making Chinese lanterns. This was a great hands on experience for the students that required a high degree of fine motor skills. As they made the lanterns they learnt why the lantern is an important symbol for luck in Chinese culture.
Following on from the previous post part 1
Like singing in a choir or playing in an ensemble, dancing with others in unison as a synchronised group, brings great pleasure. Clearly from the images below this is what the students were experiencing under the graceful guidance of Nita Hall from Asia Raya. The level of engagement was extremely high and Bell’s grade 3/4 students demonstrated excellent choreography skills whilst following Nita’s moves.
One of the dances that the students learnt wasn’t originally from Java but from the island of Sumatra. This was called the plate dance. As the students entered the room there were pairs of small yellow and orange plates laid out on the floor. Yellow for boys and orange for girls. When the students got dressed up in the colourful costumes they looked amazing. The red horns of the headdress that the girls wore represented the buffalo commonly found on the island of Sumatra. Both boys and girls had to wear traditional Javanese sarongs with the girls wearing beautiful pink tops and red scarves. The boys accompanied the girls with bright blue shirts and black scarves to match their headdress. How amazing do they look?
Fact: Did you know that when this dance is performed back in Indonesia that the dancers actually dance on broken plates. Nita says that this requires great skill so as to not cut their feet on the shards of broken plate.
Watch some of the grade 3/4 students perform the Plate Dance.
The other dance that the students learnt was a penguin dance. Again after some practice, the students were able to follow Nita’s moves and their costumes were also wonderfully ornate and colourful.
Preps have been dancing and singing up a storm in music over the past couple of weeks. It all started out when we decided to turn ‘Bananas, Bananas’ into a rocking partner dance with a twist at the end (although most of the students preferred to jump). We quickly progressed to our new favourite song ‘Clap, Clap Your Hands’. In this tune the students with their partners and to dance to a series of movements that included pressing noses and taping chins in time to the music.
After that we progressed to combining some singing with instruments to ‘We Can All Play In The Biggest Band’. Here the students learnt the song and then divided into groups where they were given the chance to rotate through the various instruments. The students loved being given the chance to play their instruments as a whole band whilst singing the song.
Last week’s musical analysis using the thinking routine ‘See (Listen), Think, Wonder’ the students watched Music From A Dry Cleaner… Here there were lots of thinking and wondering about how the musician created music from machines. This followed on perfectly from the previous weeks analysis of Music From A Tree.