I was showing a video about the Massai jumping dance (youtube it!)to my classroom while my mentor teacher stepped out of the room, and suddenly I heard some giggling and mimicking from students at the front of the classroom. Others followed suit, and suddenly the whole class was in an uproar.
Since we are studying Africa, this video was a great way to represent the Kenyan Massai people's culture and dance. However, my 8 year old students thought that their 'costumes' and 'silly jumping' was a joke. I gave them a few words of caution to be respectful, but let it go for the time and continued playing the videos I had planned to show.
When my mentor came back in, we decided to take it a little further. Describing the athleticism of the Massai dances, we spoke of the incredible talent it takes to complete a dance like this. We also talked about how important it was to their culture.
But most importantly, we made them jump. And after thirty seconds, they were gasping for air, collapsing on the floor, and saying how cool it was that the Massai people were able to jump so high and for so long. Teachable moments make me :)