Question: What roles do dance and music play in culture?

About eighty-five eighth-grade students in Meghan Tiernan Fisher’s Spanish classes at Colchester Middle School recently incorporated dancing lessons and Latin music into their study in order to help answer that question.

As a physically active way to learn more about the roles that dance and music play in culture, the students participated in a Latin dance and music unit. The CMS students are researching and teaching one another basic dance steps to a number of Latin dances, including the merengue, the tango, the cumbia, and the bachata. A highlight of this unit featured Salsa dancing with the help of instructor E. Victoria Moore of SalsaLina Dance Studio. Ms. Moore’s instruction was funded by a grant from CMS’s Partners in Education (PIE) group.

CMS students receive Salsa instruction as part of their study of Spanish culture

CMS students receive Salsa instruction as part of their study of Spanish culture

In addition to the dance lessons, the classes have been listening to music from around the Spanish-speaking world.

Your schools aspire to provide rich, meaningful, engaging learning opportunities for students, and they strive to provide continuity between them. In February, for instance, Colchester High School students in Spanish and ELL classes attended a production of ¡Flamenco Vivo! at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. And the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017 has pathways that include Pathway A: High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners; Pathway C: Learning Outside Our Four Walls; and Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners—all of which speak directly to this opportunity to learn about cultures.

For more information, please call CMS at (802) 264-5800, or e-mail Meghan Tiernan Fisher ( You may also view her classroom blog.

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