Fifth graders have been having ballroom dancing lessons twice a week since January.
It's a curriculum developed by Dancing Classrooms, which, in the words of executive director Rodney López, aims to "teach essential life skills through the practice of social dance."
A group of fifth graders were asked today, "Why do you think the school is spending two periods a week teaching you ballroom dancing?"
They were quick to answer:
"It helps us come together as a grade."
"At recess, people are in little groups, which is fine. We have different interests. But this gives us a time to all be together."
"It helps us connect. I may not know you well, but then I'm like, 'Oh, you're having a hard time with this step too?' Or, 'I like the polka too!'"
"Moving around, and having a great teacher, brings an element of fun to getting to know each other. Nobody's forcing us."
"This is something we are all new at. Usually in school, people are starting in different places. One person already reads a little, maybe somebody comes in knowing the math. With this, nobody's better than anybody else. We're all beginners. Which is nice."
All of it is true, and all of it is important.
Their teachers, who are dancing alongside the students in every class, know that these kinds of connections will pay off in the classroom, this spring and throughout these students' remaining years at Gordon.
The curriculum culminates next Thursday evening at 6pm, when students will present what they have learned to families in a culminating celebration. The evening will include dance demonstrations as well as written work students produced as homework for the class, and even some math challenges. On Grandfriend's Day on May 10th, here will be an encore presentation for the guests of fifth graders .