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Giraffes CAN dance!

about eight years ago I purchased the book, Giraffes Can't Dance from Kohl's where they also offered plush toy giraffes as book companions. I bought six toy giraffes thinking I would do an observational drawing lesson based on the book with my young students. When I sat down to think through the lesson, I was stuck.

I couldn't figure out how to teach 8 year olds to draw a giraffe in a dancing pose of their choice. I put the bin of giraffes and the book on my shelf where it stayed for years...taunting me with their smiling faces, reminding me that I haven't figured out how to make them dance.

One summer, years later, I joined a creativity challenge by Kim Darche on twitter. She put out prompts every day to get people's creative juices flowing. One day she asked people to share 7 jobs a giraffe can't do. Immediately I thought about my giraffes begging to dance in the art room. I began drawing giraffes doing things that they were not well suited for and realized something.

I realized that I wasn't doing something because I was afraid I wouldn't be good at it. I was letting a fear of failure keep me from pushing through a challenge and giving those poor giraffes a dance party. I made this Fuglevision episode with this in mind.

So, we gave it a try. I told my 2nd graders that we're going to dive in to this lesson even though I'm not sure exactly how to teach it or even if kids your age can do it. But, if it works, these Giraffes get to dance! The kids were all in with me as we took the bin of giraffes out, read the story, and created.

Not only did we figure out a way to concretely visualize the legs, body, and head in a dance pose to successfully create a unique giraffe dancing pose we also added UV paint to the background so our giraffes could dance under the stars. I purchased a class set of black light flashlights and we ooohed and aaahed for quite a while.

We even took digital pictures of our dancing giraffes and made them dance even more in the Green Screen App by Doink with digital animation. I explain it all in my lesson here.

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