Mas is for everyone
We've been talking about this thing called mas for some time. Describing it as a fun and colorful event for all involved, referring to the participants as masqueraders and telling of how much excitement and joy expressed during this wonderful event. Adults and children, from all walks of life, have their rightful place in this wonderful, national celebration.
Everyone is free to dance either by themselves or with their friends and even strangers at times. You see lots of different types of movement, from chipping - which is a simple but rhythmic shuffling of the feet, waving of arms, hands, flags and pretty much anything that you can wave to people jumping as high as they can. It is an amazing thing to see and experience. We cannot say that enough. So, we wanted our students to experience it as well, in the only way physically possible to do so without having to buy them all plane tickets and fly them to Trinidad and Tobago for Carnival. Although the latter does sound nice! Putting together a fun, mas-inspired activity is the only other way we could allow them to learn and experience it.
The following activity draws inspiration from the different types of movement you see when masqueraders parade through the streets during Carnival time. The song itself adopts a simple soca melody - soca being a popular genre of music in Trinidad and Tobago and the official music of the Carnival season. It also relies on complementary movement like clapping, chipping, jumping and waving to name a few. Although its' main focus is to get students to learn a new song we also wanted to teach them about the different types of movement seen during mas. Additionally, exposure to rhythm by singing and moving to a particular beat further solidifies the main focus.
How did it go?
Children love to sing, well most of them do. We do have a couple of students who are shy about their voice and aren't the most confident singers and hey, that's ok. But for the ones who love to belt out a note or two, this activity allowed them to do just that. What made it easier for everyone was the complementary movement because it reinforced the lyrics of the song and made it easier to memorize. We also got the opportunity to teach our students a dance move that is very necessary to learn, as it is one of the main ways to move during Carnival time. Now we think they are definitely Carnival ready and next year, who knows, we may just have to buy them those plane tickets and fly them all down to Trinidad and Tobago for Carnival. At the end of it all, we can definitely say this activity was successful and everyone had fun while learning and to us, that's what matters most.
One suggestion we have to make this activity more realistic would be to have your students dress up in carnival costumes or any type of costume and move back and forth, from one side of the room to the other while singing the song. Also, it goes without saying, teach them the song first, especially the response aspect of it and encourage them to sing it all together, after all, the song title is "Mas is for Everyone".
Take a look!
If you want a new spin on an interactive song and one that can expose your students to a new or different culture, then what are you waiting for? Watch our video! You will be able to learn the lyrics and see the associated movement while seeing the general activity flow.
Get To Singin',
Tiva & Randa