Inly Upper Elementary Students Explore Movement Through Poetry

By Colleen Quinn, Inly Movement and Theater Instructor

Recently the Upper Elementary students in grades 4–6 explored movement in a different way: through a writing project. Inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem, I Hear America Singing, we talked about where we see dance movements in everyday life: the teacher’s hand twirling while writing on the white board, the pianists hands gliding over the keys, the carpet workers pulling up the rug, the mother curling her hair and the father tying his tie.

Here are a few examples of their poems:

I See America Dancing
By Kiko C. (6th grade)

I see America dancing, the swaying movement I see.
My parents wave their fingers demanding orders strictly,
The teacher pointing at the board,
The infant baby crawling and stumbling,
Crazy truck drivers beeping at everyone in their path,
Hobos rattling their cups frantically,
And the young girl skipping home from school,
All these people different but they all have dance inside.

I See America Dancing
By Zoe P. (4th grade)

I see America dancing, the frantic dancing I see.
The trees blowing slowly in the breeze,
They bend forwards and backwards,
The sun rising up into the sky,
The Starbucks man quickly serving coffee.

I See America Dancing
By Max P. (4th grade)

I see America dancing, the crazy movement I see.
I see the teacher twirling on the whiteboard,
The gas man filling happily the van,
The Dunkin’ Donuts man twirling, tired-ly giving the lady her coffee.

I See America Dancing
By Clara Q. (6th grade)

I see America dancing, the rapid movements I see.
The children gliding to and fro at recess on their swings,
The waitress swiftly strolling by the tables to serve,
The artist’s hand sweeping and twirling,
The people going on their way and swirling right past me.

I See America Dancing
By Jacob K. (4th grade)

I see America dancing, the different movements I see.
Like the way the boy stomps his feet when he’s mad,
The girl who skips on her way to the bus stop,
Crawling babies learning how to walk,
And my swimming coach blowing the whistle,
And my piano teacher sliding her hands across the keys.

I See America Dancing
By Rebekah S. (5th grade)

I see America dancing, twirling steps I see.
Those of the father gracefully raking the leaves,
The mother swiftly leaping over her son or daughter,
The strong skip of the school girl making her way to class,
I see America dancing, the wonderful dances I see.

I See America Dancing
By Nicholas V. (6th grade)

I see America dancing, the beautiful gestures I see.
Bikers swaying and swerving, the boy playing his video games,
Parents cooking and moving, music instructors rattling tambourines,
Children playing and swinging,
Teachers demanding absolute silence, wildly dancing with their outstretched arms.

I See America Dancing
By Isabel F. (4th grade)

I see America dancing, the many dances I see.
The ice cream man scooping with a twirling hand.
I see the milkman leaping in a rush,
The dog is swaying its tail, the children hopping,
I see America dancing.

I See America Dancing
By Sam S. (5th grade)

I see America dancing, the various dances I see.
My brother running fast at me like a madman,
My dog lies down carefully,
My father makes breakfast rapidly.
I see my family dancing.

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