Tag Archives: dance

Module 2- Practical Dance Resources

            As I am moving along in my research I am looking more for practical ideas on how to implement indigenous dance into my physical education classes. There are very few local persons who are willing to come provide dance lessons for my class, however with our first nations culture being so rich at our school I have spoken to a couple of the first nations support workers. They suggested using YouTube videos and even researching some of the history of the dances as a talking point during the lessons. As a teacher, especially in a school with such a rich first nations population, it is important for myself (and any educator really) to fully educate myself on the many styles and stories that accompany first nations dance. This entry is a little all over the place and probably appears to lack some focus, but I think each site can be focused to the one area of streamlining aboriginal dance in schools.  I have expanded my research to the following.


  1. Raven Spirit Dance 

This particular group of people provide workshops and education in Vancouver and surrounding areas on different forms of aboriginal dance forms. Mainly they appear to focus on contemporary dance and storytelling through said dance. Along with the excellent images on the website, this group would be an excellent starting point to have students experience first nations dances, along with the storytelling aspect.

  1.  Vancouver Sun Article 

This article not only delves into the history of aboriginal dance on the NorthWest coast of Canada, but it also discusses how the dance is done. Images and video from the festival itself would be a great visual for students, as it is very traditional in nature, as opposed to the contemporary dances in link above. There is excellent information on the history of the festival and would be a great resource for any teacher wanting to do a first nations dance unit. Not necessarily to use in class, but to educate ourselves before teaching something so rich in cultural history.


  1. Traditional Grass Dance 

Since the goal of this research is to put together a website for elementary teachers looking to incorporate aboriginal dance into their gym classes, it is important to provide examples. Not only for the teachers to view and study, but also for the students to get an idea of the traditions and story behind what they are learning. I have found that visual aids are much more effective, especially in the gym. Students need to see an example of the skill they are about to complete, not simply hear about it. The above video is not only beautiful, but short and sweet, perfect for the younger students with little attention span!


  1. Modern First Nations Dance Music 

Since most elementary teachers also have older students who tend to turn their noses up at something they feel “isn’t cool”, I thought this example would be a fantastic hook. This group mixes modern with traditional first nations dance music and comes up with a cool sound. Showing this to students at the beginning of the dance unit would maybe make them rethink their ideas about traditional first nations dance. I also thought this would be a great starting off point for creative dance unit, but using first nations moves and storytelling they have already learned. In the website I will be creating, this will be a part of one of the intermediate lessons on first nations dance.


  1. Best Practices for Teaching Aboriginal Students 

This actually came directly from my school district’s website, but I have linked it in a google doc. It is actually very informative and a great refresher to use before delving into a first nations dance unit. I will be including this in the website as a kind of, “Before you begin…” preparation type of section. This research has me thinking about the vast possibilities of the website I would like to create. I have begun to pare down and find some excellent resources I hope will help teachers feel more comfortable teaching first nations dance to students.

First Nations Dance in Physical Education-Module 1


I decided to focus my research on a subject I am very familiar with, physical education, and try to find connections with both first peoples, education (specifically PE) and also technology. After beginning my research I realize it is going to be difficult to tie all three of these topics together, however with some creative lessons I feel it can be done. I have spent the past 6 years in elementary schools and as a high school trained physical educator it is difficult to spark interest in the younger students, especially with subjects like dance. Yes, surprising, but unless they feel connected to the topic, they lose interest easily. I think this research will help me create lessons that not only tie students to the first peoples rich community I currently work in, but will help them learn how to express themselves in a new way. 


In Our Own Words-First Peoples Content k-3 Classroom

This is a website that links to a PDF containing lessons and resources on how to introduce the first peoples culture into the k-3 classroom. Since I currently teach k-5 PE I feel this is a valid resource. There are two units I felt could be integrated easily, with some creative lessons, into physical education; The Spirit of Celebration and The Power of Stories. Using these topics as a starting off point to a dance unit would be great.


Native Dance

This is an incredible website that contains video, lessons, and ideas about native dance across the country. This would be an excellent starting off point for students looking to create a dance to honour first people. It also has some great examples for them to view.


Cultural Dances Offer World Benefits

I took this resource mostly because it is from one of my favourite papers, but also because it has some great ideas on why cultural dance should be taught to youth. Not only is dance beneficial physically but it can help students feel more tied to their communities.


Statistics Canada

I teach at a school that has a very high population of first nations students and found this extremely interesting. It is from statistics Canada and gives some insight into the number of first nations youth who actually participate in cultural activities and extra curricular activities, which will provide some great points for my study on first nations dance in gym class.


Art and Styles of Pow Wow Dancing

This final website is mostly beneficial to me, as a physical educator, in that it breaks down the pow wow dance in detail. It gives some excellent examples of the elaborate costumes worn and could be used with students in the classroom. It also speaks to the importance of storytelling in the dance itself, something I feel will help students connect with the topic more.

Module 4, Post 1 – Story Resources

One of the main themes for all of the different curriculums has been the importance of culture and history, and using stories to teach and help students connect with information and develop their skills. I was interested to see if there were resources for incorporating some of the oral history that has been documented.

This site has videos of different stories, plus teaching resources and information about including First Nations pedagogy into a classroom.

This website discusses oral culture, including drums and music, and also has a companion site for dancing. Along with printed information there are pictures, audio-visual clips, interviews, etc.

This is part of the archives of Canada and includes documents that have recorded some traditional stories. Only the documents are included in the site, no extra information.