Dancing with a Boy or a Girl

Okay, okay, we're going to the dance competition tomorrow.

  For a few years now, our school has incorporated dance into the PE curriculum ala Mad Hot Ballroom. There's even a competition and the whole dance unit is a HUGE deal among the kids. In my third graders' end of year letters to the next year's rising third graders, news of and advice about the dance competition always features prominently.

  The kids are partnered up with yes, a boy or a girl, and learn proper hand placement on the partner's shoulder or waist. They learn the steps to the Bachata or one of several other dance styles, and when the PE coach blows his whistle, everyone spins his or her partner. The synchronization of so many little couples twirling at the same time in fancy clothes is quite excellent.
  We, in second grade, though, are not old enough yet for the fun and skill of ballroom dance, so we make up the audience. There are several dance competitions--each grade has a separate contest for the first round, and the more coordinated and rhythmic children get ribbons and progress to the semi finals. Then come the finals, where the real action happens - trophies. We attended the third grade first round, but got a little wiggly toward the end. Yes, we lost about 45 minutes of instructional time so that we could watch the competition, but it's a big deal at our school, and bringing the second graders gets them psyched to participate the next year.

  Then came a whole lot of snow and not a whole lot of learning. I really do love watching the dance competition, but after missing so much instructional time with snow days, I was none too keen on the idea of dropping everything to go see another round. But....we've been back to the normal learning for long enough now that giving up a little class time wouldn't be too crazy (half of the time is our recess time anyway)....and the competition organizers talked up the finals so much at our whole-school meeting today....so we're going tomorrow! Bring on the Bachata and the twirling!

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