A few weeks ago, a very smart second grade teacher at my school (yes, YOU Mrs. R.) told me she was brining her Wii in for a treat. Huh? I was confused.
Apparently, you can hook a Wii up to a Smartboard. And it’s not very difficult either. Well I had a Wii collecting dust in my basement. Maybe I should try this out?
I found the thing just where I thought it was, under a heap of boxes full of who knows what. My issue was I didn’t really have many games that would be fun or appropriate for kindergarten. I went to a local gaming shop and found a used copy of Just Dance Kids 2 for seven dollars.
I brought it all in and Mrs. R. helped me set it up in about five minutes. And so it began.
I have two controllers, so only two kids can actually ‘play’ at a time. No matter, everyone does the dancing. I told them the rule was, if you didn’t dance when you didn’t have the controller, you didn’t get a turn with it. I also added a rule about asking for it. If someone asks (or in our case begs) for the controller, they don’t get it. You give it to someone you see dancing – that’s it.
Well that Wii has changed our inside recess time. I still put out some games and table toys, but most of the class chooses to dance. At snack time, once the majority of the kids are done eating, we dance for two or three songs as a whole group motor activity. And because the game is made for kids, I don’t have to worry about anything inappropriate.
So far our two favorite tracks are ‘Whip My Hair’ and ‘Just the Way You Are.’ The kids know all the words and moves. The one about whipping hair is a little much for me as I feel like I may need to go into traction for my neck after playing along.
Now I remember the Bruno Mars tune ‘Just the Way You Are.’ It’s a classic ballad, but somehow the game turns it into a dance track. What I love most about it is the singing, not the dancing. When it gets to the chorus, you can hear every one of my sprouts voices, in unison, belting out:
When I see your face
There’s not a thing that I would change
‘Cause girl you’re amazing
Just the way you are.
It’s pretty cool and if the timing is just right and someone is walking by the classroom, it looks like I’ve taught my entire class to sing and dance in unison. Pretty impressive.