Arts and Movement in the Elementary Curriculum

In spring 2020, Alan Brown collaborated with Christina Soriano, Director of Dance at Wake Forest University, to teach EDU 222: Arts & Movement in the Elementary Curriculum. This dance and education class was designed to offer a specific connection to the characteristics of what mental and physical characteristics make us human, so it was a natural fit to engage students on a second level by inviting them to consider a question being explored by first-graders at Brunson Elementary School: “What makes a bird a bird?” Brunson students were learning about birds’ amazing bodies and expected to engage with complex text through read-alouds, drawing, writing, role-play, music, and movement, all components of the EDU 222 course.

For more information about this collaboration, see this Wake Forest News article by Cheryl Walker and this Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools blog post by Kim Underwood.

2020 EDU 222 students with collaborating with Brunson students.

In fall 2018, Alan Brown also collaborated with Professor Soriano to teach a special section of DCE 122: Movement for Men with a focus on education and literacy. Within the class, students engaged in readings and movement activities that connected poetry, dance, visual imagery, multimodal literacies, physical literacy, and brain-based learning. The students took what they learned about the ways that movement shaped and illuminated their personal identities, creative processes, and academic experiences to share with fourth grade students at Brunson Elementary School.

During this time, Movement for Men students taught language and movement activities centered on poetry from The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, sports photographs from the Wake Forest art collection taken by legendary Sports Illustrated photographer Walter Iooss, and their own creative writing. During each visit to Brunson Elementary, Movement for Men students used their writings and accompanying movements as models for their fourth grade counterparts, who then created their own embodied expressions of language.

For more information, see the article that Alan Brown and Christina Soriano penned for the North Carolina ELA journal Fringes or this Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools blog post by Kim Underwood.

DCE 122 students at Brunson Elementary School 
with Principal Jeff Faullin (left) and instructors Christina Soriano and Alan Brown (right)