This is the best thing I've ever done! This rotation I began my introduction to the ballet to prepare my 2nd graders for their trip to the ballet later this month. In the past I have introduced it by reading the fairy tale and then going through a slideshow of what ballet is and trying out the feet/arm positions. While there was nothing wrong with this lesson, what I did this rotation seemed to get such better results.
Warren Ainley's blog about introducing ballet through a pantomime activity about a little fish and a shark but it didn't really fit with the woodwind instrument we were discussing this rotation. So, instead of scrapping the idea I used Peer Gynt: In the Hall of the Mountain King. Our instrument was the bassoon, so it worked very well for telling the story. I kept the story telling simple and actually told it as the music was playing. During the 2nd listen, we pantomimed the chase, making sure to use our facial expressions to share what Peer Gynt must have been feeling.
After we finished pantomiming, we sat back down and I told them in a few weeks we would be going on a music field trip and that the performers would be pantomiming to tell a story, just like they had.
WOW! Not one "eew" out of a single boy when I said the word ballet!!! And even fewer than normal when I said that both boys and girls can perform in the ballet???? It was both refreshing and astonishing. I will never teach my ballet unit again without doing a pantomime exercise first.