Building Confidence…Through Cups!?

During the summer holiday, I was taught by eldest niece how to do the cup song (somehow I’ve missed the phenomenon over recent years!?). I had to learn all of the moves/actions, I grappled with the timing, strained under the pressure of performing it in time with my niece (darn quick hands at the age of 10) and couldn’t resist challenging her to create a sequence / performance that involved us both. I became mentally exhausted after an intense 30 minute period.

I have taken great pride in recent years being part of a PE Department that has created a culture where children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have thrived. As part of my new role, which includes SENCo, I am spending considerable time within the SEND department. As I was thrown into the learning pit by my niece, I made a number of comparisons to PE lessons I have taught in recent years. My brain started to generate ideas about how the cup song could be used as a vehicle to develop learning confidence.
Here is a draft plan, which will be tweaked and improved on multiple occasions before going live.

Even if some students know how to perform the dance, they can still be challenged by one or more of coaching others, performing to an audience, creating new ideas, or working collaboratively with others. Once they have their Club Classic certificate/badge/sticker, each student will get to choose which challenge they do next. My current thinking is that we will have some sort of celebration display where students who achieve all five steps of a particular challenge will have their name published on the display.

The start point for every student should be to complete “Cup Classic”:

Cup Classic
1. Perform a “clap clap – tap tap tap” with rhythm
2. Perform step 1 + “clap lift place” with rhythm and consistency
3. Perform  “clap – inverted grab – tap free hand – tap table”with rhythm and consistency
4. Perform step 3 + “pass cup to free hand – tap table – cup down” with rhythm and consistency
5. Perform to music, with accuracy consistency

Then students can choose from:

Cup Coach
1. Teach a peer / friend Cup Classic steps 1 & 2
2. Teach a peer / friend Cup Classic steps 3 & 4
3. Teach an adult Cup Classic steps 1 & 2
4. Teach an adult Cup Classic steps 3 & 4
5. Teach a group of people the whole song (at the same time)

Cup Creative
1. Create an adapted version of the song, (changing one move/section) practice and perform
2. Perform step 1, adding a second change to the performance, practice and perform
3. Perform Step 2, adding two more changes to the performance, practice and perform
4. Create an adapted version with another person, to include at least one adaptation from each of your adapted performances. Practice and perform together
5. Develop your adapted version with another person, to include interactions between you and your partner (swapping cups, high fives etc.). Practice and perform together

Cup Collaborate
Perform cup classic:
1. With one other person in unison
2. With two or more other people in unison
3. Switching cups with others in your group
4. Starting slowly, and with increasing tempo, in unison (4 times through)
5. In canon, either section at a time, or whole song at a time

Cup Crowd Pleaser
Perform in front of an audience of:
1. 1 peer / friend
2. 1 adult
3. 2 or more peers / friends
4. 2 or more adults
5. A large group of peers / friends and adults e.g. In tutor time

Since drafting this blog post, I have come to know many students and staff at my new school. As a result, I have been inspired to record our own version of the cup song, using the expertise of the Performing Arts, Media and I.T. departments.

The ultimate challenge for students and staff?

Watch this space.


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