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Alley Cat Directions

Found In: kinesthetic learning; performing arts; social studies

My students and I identify the cardinal direction of east based on the position of the sun during early morning. Once east has been established in the classroom, south, west and north can be located by making a right angle turn for each respective direction. Next, I play the song “The Alley Cat” and teach the students the dance steps that go along with it. (See the video below for dance instructions.)

After a series of specific left and right moves, there is a prominent pause in the instrumental music for which the students make a hard right angle turn and then clap. While the students clap, they also call out the cardinal direction they are facing. This helps reinforce and remind students of the worldly reality of cardinal directions. The students love the novelty of learning through music and movement. The same procedure can be applied and appreciated when reviewing the intermediate directions.

[Editor’s Note: the video below demonstrates “The Alley Cat” dance. We chose to present the video for your reference. It does not represent the author’s classroom, nor does it illustrate his unique modification of the dance for the purpose of teaching cardinal directions.]


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