Susan Hartley collaborates with teachers and designs workshops around a selected unit of study. Examples include dancing parts of speech, geometric design, force/motion, cultural world dances, etc. As a dance specialist and licensed educator, she will design grade-specific workshops for NC Essential Standards and Common Core. During the program, students use prior knowledge (acquired from life experiences and/or the classroom) to generate word lists for a subject, then create movements to depict visual expressions of those words. Students work individually, in small groups, or as a class to put their movements into a sequence and a dance. The program culminates with informances/sharings and reflections on both the subject and the dance experience. Through this kinesthetic learning process and interdisciplinary approach, students acquire deeper understanding and longer retention of a subject. Additionally, students practice higher order thinking skills: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, creating.
Susan E. Hartley, a 30 year veteran dance educator in the WCPSS, has a BA, Dramatic Arts, and MFA in Dance. She has been a North Carolina Visiting Artist, K-12 NC and Southeast Dance Educator of the Year, director, choreographer, and performer with NC dance companies. She has taught dance at every level: infant, elementary, middle, high, university, adult and special programs. Her philosophy involves the process of discovery through movement based upon Anne Green Gilbert’s Brain Dance. Integrative activities involving English language arts, math, science, or social studies are key components to her lessons. Multiple Intelligences are utilized throughout the dance experience as she collaborates with the classroom teacher and students.