F a n c y  D i v e

Background: This humorous poem by Shel Silverstein includes action words that can be expressed through movements created by the students. The teacher reads the poem text as the accompaniment to the movements. Shel Silverstein was born in Chicago in 1932 and is best know in children's literature for his poetry; however he was also a cartoonist, composer, lyricist and folksinger. He died on May 10, 1999. Other popular texts by Silverstein are Where the Sidewalk Ends (1981), Falling Up (1996), The Giving Tree (1964) and A Light in the Attic (1982) and The Missing Piece (1982).

Grade Level: 2-5

Formation: Random students in a personal space with space to move without bumping into other students.

Equipment: Poem Fancy Dive by Shel Silverstein  from his popular book, A Light in the Attic (1982) New York: Harper and Row Publishers   Pictures of people diving.

Description

In this dance the poem is read two times by the teacher while the students listen. During the first reading, the students are asked to listen to the humor in the poem.  In the second reading the students are asked to listen for words that depict actions. Students identify the words such as, dove, twirl, twist, bounced, spun among others.

Full poem text p. 30.

The fanciest dive that ever was dove
Was done by Melissa of Coconut Grove.
She bounced on the board and flew into the air
With a twist of her head and a twirl of her hair.
She did thirty-four jackknives, backflipped and spun,
Quadruple gainered, and reached for the sun,
And then somersaulted nine times and a quarter -
And looked down and saw that the pool had no water.


The teacher reads each line of the poem while students create movements to represent the text.

"The fanciest dive" - Each student makes a shape with his or her body demonstrating someone who is about to dive in to a pool.
"that ever was dove" - Each student makes a second diving shape that is different from the first.
"Was done by Melissa of Coconut Grove." Each student creates a new diving shape, a crazy or unusual shape for a dive.

The teacher repeats the first three phrases while the students perform the sequence of diving shapes.

"She bounced on the board" - Students do three jumps or hops while maintaining the third diving shape.
"and flew into the air" - Students take two or three running steps, jump up, land on two feet and hold a still shape.
"With a twist of her head and a twirl of her hair." While holding the still shape from the jump, student make one small quick twist of their head to the right or left and then move their head and upper body in a big circle.

The teacher repeats the poem from the beginning adding the new movements.

"She did thirty-four jackknives, backflipped and spun," - Students do four (not thirty-four) bend and stretch movements to a count of four. They can bend at the waist or bend a body part such as an arm, finger, or leg. The bending is followed by a spin on one or two feet.
"Quadrupled gainered, and reached for the sun," Students walk four steps forward and then four steps backward while circling their arms.  Then, slowly rise up on their toes while reaching with arms toward the sun. The hold this balance for four counts.
"And then somersaulted nine times and a quarter-" Students spin the place while changing levels from high to low to high.
"And looked down and saw that the pool had no water." In this last movement the students stand on one foot or on two feet and wildly wave their arms and legs for 8 counts.

The teacher repeats the poem from the line, "She did thirty-four jackknives," to provide a practice time for the students to coordinate the movements with the words.

The teacher reads the entire poem from the beginning as students perform the movements that correspond to the words.  The teacher should pause after each line to allow the movements to occur before reading the next line.