Awesome Video from Middlebranch Elementary’s METAMORPHOSIS!

KDG Growing Musical.



What Matters Most to our Children

December 29 by

What do you think matters most to your children? You driving them to lessons and practices, or is it the smile and hug you greet them with after school? If you guessed the latter, you are correct.

Sixteen years of teaching and giving the same assignment every Mother’s Day has led me to the exact same conclusion. You see, every Mother’s Day I would ask my students to give me advice on being a mother. They were to think about things their mother or guardian did for or with them that made them feel happy or loved. The classroom would go silent as the students wrote intensely for longer than they had ever written before. Often smiles would appear on their faces as they reflected on the happy experiences they were remembering. After reading their responses I would add to my list all the ideas they mentioned. Surprisingly, many of the responses were the same. Year after year, in every country I taught, and in every type of demographic, the students were saying the same things and had the same message: It’s the small things that their mothers did that meant the most and that they remembered.

Many moms today feel as if they are not good mothers unless they are racing around, shuttling their children from lessons, to practices and back to lessons again. I’ve had mothers tell me that they want to give their children every opportunity they did not have. While this thinking might bring the mother some comfort, it really does not do the same for their child who is potentially feeling overextended, stressed and tired.

After speaking endlessly about this topic with my students, it became clear to me that children today are involved in too many activities and are in turn becoming less in touch with themselves and their families. In addition, my students told me they really wished for more time to “just play”. Of course many of them enjoy their extra curricular activities, but it is not necessary they said to be allowed to do everything. What they enjoyed most, and what made their hearts happiest was when their mothers did simple things for or with them.

Here is a list of the top ten things students around the world said they remembered and loved most about their mothers.

  1. Come into my bedroom at night, tuck me in and sing me a song. Also tell me stories about when you were little.
  2. Give me hugs and kisses and sit and talk with me privately.
  3. Spend quality time just with me, not with my brothers and sisters around.
  4. Give me nutritious food so I can grow up healthy.
  5. At dinner talk about what we could do together on the weekend.
  6. At night talk to me about about anything; love, school, family etc.
  7. Let me play outside a lot.
  8. Cuddle under a blanket and watch our favorite TV show together.
  9. Discipline me. It makes me feel like you care.
  10. Leave special messages in my desk or lunch bag.

Children are incredibly wise and tend to see the world more simply than we do. Perhaps it is time we start taking their advice. Maybe we would all feel a little less stressed and be satisfied with the fact that doing little things really is… good enough.

Summer Dance Camp

This will be the first year that I’ll be teaching a Summer Dance Camp  Please pass the word!

Directional Dances:

In dance, like music, there are movement scales for learning and perfecting technique.  In music we are familiar with Do, Rae, Me, Fa, So, La, Te, Do.  In dance the movement scale is up, down, right side, left side, front, back , right diagonal, left diagonal.  Just as with music, in dance, the possibilities for creating new combinations of performance are endless.  The Directional Dances theme for Summer Dance Camp at First Friends will give students of every age an opportunity to cultivate and solidify their inner impulses for dance.  This will take place through a modern/contemporary style of dance. 

First Friends

Currently registering for Summer Dance Camp

August 6-10, 2012

Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Classes in Modern/Contemporary Dance

Elementary Hip-Hop & Teen Hip-Hop with Mrs. Payne

330.966.2800 for more information

Medicate with Movement

Next week will complete the 3rd year of MOVING TO MATH.  (Teaching elementary math through dance.)  I’m eager to share the results of our fitness testing.  This is the first year I added fitness testing to the task list.  I believe if we trainers, PE teachers, and dancers do not get kids hooked on physical responsibility early on…we are not doing our jobs!  Check out this great article from Pamela Peeke MD.  It highlights my Alma Mater: American College of Sports Medicine.

Medicate with Movement: An Rx for America

By Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH

I had the pleasure of speaking this week at the CDC’s Weight of the Nation conference in Washington, D.C., a meeting that brought together national experts on virtually every aspect of America’s obesity epidemic. This conference was a great reminder of the value of cooperation rather than confrontation in addressing such an urgent public health challenge. It was a forum for everyone in the field to share insights, find opportunities to collaborate and seek answers together. I was able to meet with other physicians, politicians, nutritionists, nurses, mental health experts, educators, insurers, and others from the public and private sectors. The bigger the tent, I say, the better.

My talk focused on the need for health care providers (doctors, nurses, and allied workers) to actively engage their patients and consumers in discussions about the importance of physical activity. We’re literally writing prescriptions for walks rather than pills and potions. The panel, “Systems Change: Enhancing the Obesity Chronic Care Model” had me sitting next to Dr. Keith Bachman from Kaiser Permanente and Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom from the University of Pittsburgh, both of whom have incorporated physical activity as a vital sign in patient charting and monitoring.

What I heard from my fellow panelists reminded me of something I once heard my good friend Dr. Robert Sallis say that summarized my own thinking. Dr. Sallis, a family practitioner at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles and founder of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise is Medicine campaign, asked: “What if there was one prescription that could prevent and treat dozens of diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity? Would you prescribe it to your patients?”

Heck yes! The prescription is simple: regular physical activity.

All too often, conversations about obesity are driven by the latest theory, whether it’s the best new fad diet, the worst ingredient of the month, or the newest pill. While we can debate all day long about these provocative theories, I am guided by the science. And there is plenty of evidence-based science supporting the benefits of regular physical activity.

Getting up and assuming the vertical more often reduces mortality and the risk of recurrent breast cancer by about 50% and colon cancer by more than 60%. It reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by about 40%, lowers the incidence of heart disease and high blood pressure by 40% and reduces the risk of stroke by 27%. And type 2 diabetes? Physical activity lowers the risk of developing it by 58%. Plus you drop weight and feel great. A royal win-win-win.

But the key question is how to get physicians, nurses, and other providers to prescribe physical activity just as they now prescribe medical drugs.

Part of the answer, at least, has been the creation of Exercise is Medicine, a global initiative by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Medical Association. The goal of Exercise is Medicine is to make physical activity a standard part of disease prevention.

We’ve made a lot of progress in shifting America’s medical treatment paradigm, but much more needs to be done. We’ve conducted research showing 65% of patients would be more interested in exercising to stay healthy if their doctor told them to. This is especially true if the medical care provider is walking the talk and sharing what a great experience it is. We’ve educated policymakers and advocated with the White House, congressional leaders and others to encourage healthcare providers to offer exercise prescriptions to all their patients.

Meanwhile, Kaiser Permanente is demonstrating what all this looks like in practice. In Los Angeles, Kaiser is pioneering an effort to integrate exercise as a vital sign in patients’ electronic medical record, measured alongside blood pressure, weight, pulse and BMI. Preliminary results show that by doing so, the provider has to open the discussion about activity and this discourse can lead to change on the part of the patient.

None of this work would be possible without powerful public and private sector partnerships because obesity is too big a problem for any one organization to solve alone. Many have joined this important effort including the U.S. Surgeon General, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the American College of Preventive Medicine, to name just a few. Private industry sector partners who provide funding and services include The Coca-Cola Company, NBA FIT, the YMCA, and many others.

So what’s next? As I told those attending Weight of the Nation, the next step is to get Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers to reimburse health care professionals for counseling patients on physical activity. Public debate has focused a lot over the last few years on investing in preventive care. Physical activity and nutrition counseling are low-hanging fruit, a relatively small investment in reducing the $150 billion annual cost attributed to sedentary living, about 12% of the U.S. healthcare budget.

The Weight of the Nation conference, along with an upcoming HBO documentary series set to air May 14 and 15, will go a long way toward calling attention to obesity. And the timing couldn’t be better with the recent publication of a report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine predicting that by the year 2030, 42% of Americans will be obese and 11% will be severely obese. This is a call to arms for all sectors — public and private — to actively team together to create solutions for this complex problem.


3 Keys for Staying Busy and Doing it Well…

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Have you ever been feeling down and been told to just stay busy and consequently tried burying yourself in your work only to find that you ended up feeling more miserable than before? That’s because this is the wrong way to approach the tactic of staying busy to stay happy; you need to keep yourself busy with positive activities. By immersing yourself in activities that keep you thinking positive, having fun and doing your best on a daily basis you can keep your spirits up and keep the blues at bay. Here are a few positive activities you can keep busy with if you’re feeling down.

Going Out With Your Friends

One of the many paradoxes of depression is the fact that the more depressed you become the less you want to go out with your friends and do activities that you enjoy, which in turn is many times exactly what you need to do do overcome your blues. Even if you don’t feel like socializing, force yourself to do so anyway. Don’t be passive about it either, be the one who invites others and initiates the social activities. The reason this helps to keep you happy is because when you’re with friends you are able to escape the self absorbed mindset that is easy to fall into when you’re alone, causing you to dwell on your problems. Also when you do activities with your friends that you typically enjoy, it gives you a critical boost of positive feelings.


In addition to the health benefits did you know that exercising is also good for you mentally? When you exercise you release a chemical in your brain known as endorphins that reduce your perception of pain, both physical and emotional. This can be a potent way to give yourself a boost if you’re feeling down. Another benefit of exercising is that it is a great way to improve your self esteem and self image. Keep a log book documenting your progress and you’ll feel proud of yourself as you are able to see yourself losing weight, gaining strength and gaining muscular endurance. For a double dose of good times try playing team sports with a local league or with your friends. This way not only do you get the benefits of exercise but also the benefits of socializing as well.

Volunteer Work

Relativity is the idea that something is only measurable in relation to something else. This being the case, if you can get involve in volunteer work in your community you can make a positive impact in the lives of others while at the same time seeing that your problems aren’t as bad as you think they are in the grand scheme of things. In addition to feeling good about helping others you’ll also be delighted to receive compliments from friends and family who are proud of you for your efforts. There are several different types of volunteer work that you can do. Some examples are doing a food drive, joining a group to raise awareness of a certain issue and coaching a kid’s little league sports team. As with most activities that keep you busy to keep you happy the more social your volunteer work is the better.

Bonus Tip

One thing you should remember is that there is a huge difference between clinical depression and feeling down. While keeping busy with positive activities to stay happy can be effective for both you should see a professional if you suspect you have clinical depression. In the end, staying busy doing positive activities may be more effective as a part of a larger treatment regimen to overcome depression.

Educating through DANCE demonstrations this month!

If you have ever wondered…”HOW does Kimberly teach ‘THAT’ through dance”…May is the month for you.  There will be 3 opportunities for you to experience my teaching techniques in the classroom.

Wednesday May 16th at 12:20pm at Portage Collaborative Elementary School there will be a Character in Motion Workshop.

Friday May 18th at 2:30pm at Middlebranch Elementary School there will be a Metomorphosis Demostration.

Tuesday May22nd at 11:00am and 1:30pm at The Arts Academy at Summit there will be a Moving to Math Demonstration.

Come see the students SHINE!  Join us for any of the unique experiences with dance.  You will be glad you did!


Preparing for Middlebranch Elementary

A kindergarten (from German About this sound Kindergarten (help·info), literally “children’s garden”) is a preschool educational institution for children

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Wednesday morning I will have the privilege of beginning a new school.  The kindergarteners at Middlebranch Elementary School located in Plain Local School District will enjoy learning about Butterfly Metamorphosis through music, dance and visual art. For this project Benjamin Payne offered up a listen to new music he has been writing with Jon Conley (Massillon) and Mike Welsh (Canton).  It sounds exciting and fitting for the vignette performance pieces I’ve choreographed.  So this evening we commenced the recording process of the narration used in the production.

Academic Content Standards I’ll be covering:

  1. Students will invent movement ideas inspired by a stimulus from the music and visual arts disciplines.
  2. Students will connect movement and rhythm by synchronizing movements to rhythm.
  3. Demonstrate reasoning skills when asking and answering questions about their dance experience.
  4. Discuss why dance in a healthy activity.
  5. Living things are different from nonliving things. (Science)
  6. Living things have physical traits and behaviors, which influence their survival. (Science)

I found it very refreshing to create this evening while the rain began to trickle outside. There is a newness and inspiration that arrives with the study of BUTTERFLY METAMORPHOSIS.  I hope the kids and teaching staff find it as fun and inspiring as I have!