Learning Tinikling (ti'-nik-ling) in PE Class

Did you learn the Tinikling dance in PE class? Mrs. Bruce and Mr. Dowell, our PE teachers, don't just play games. They introduce activities that are sometimes unique and unexpected by their students, and underscore the importance of exercise, and creating lifelong habits for active lifestyles. At times PE activities lend themselves to cross-curricular standards with music and history.

Tinikling, a traditional Philippine folk dance, originated in the Spanish colonial era. It involves two people beating, tapping, and sliding bamboo poles on the ground and against each other in coordination with one or more dancers who step over and in between poles in a dance.  As you see in the photo above, students use PVC pipes and learn 5 basic sequences. Mrs. Bruce tells us, "Students learn about another culture and the tradition. It is also a great cardiovascular activity and a fun way to learn how to dance!  Not many students wanted to learn to dance at first, but they become so focused on learning how to do it and mastering it, they really have fun. I was impressed with a group of 7th-grade boys who picked this up quicker than others. This helped me clearly understand how much they appreciated this lesson."

Likewise, Mr. Dowell notes that, "Students like to engage in PE lessons that integrate authentic music of the culture or time period that is highlighted in the lesson. It's not just about moving to music, it's appreciating the movement while engaging in a storyline." His students enacted scenes about Paul Revere and George Washington by using teamwork and locomotor movement while giggling the entire time. Keeping students apart but engaged in their physical activity has been a challenge this year. Our PE teachers did not let that stop them. They know that being creative and doing the unexpected is also what makes their classes a jump up!