“Giraffes Can’t Dance” by Giles Andreae

giraffesThis is a wonderful book to use on many levels with different age groups.  I credit Carol Read (2008) for these ideas as she explores the notion of scaffolding children’s learning through literature.

Before even reading the story have the students create a Sound Collage of the jungle. Brainstorm, break up the class and then conduct the jungle orchestra….animal footsteps, insects, birds, trees rustling etc.

Another pre-reading activity is to explore the dances the animals do. Use different pieces of music and have some fun with movement, culminating in musical statues.

Once the story has been read to the class, the teacher can work with the class to re-create the story. There are different options for this. In a large class, small groups can be formed with each group, given a four line stanza of the book. They will be in charge of presenting it with movement and using appopriate emphasis.

As a fun, class activity, students can form small groups and be given one of the animals (maybe there are more). A piece of music is played and each group has a few minutes to come up with a little dance.  Re-create a group drama, with their own twist as they show the group’s animal dance.

Another re-telling option, is to have groups choose three of their favourite moments from the book. They then present them in tableaux form with one word per freezeframe describing how Gerald felt in that scene.


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