Archived Story

Woodson students post Harlem Shake video

Published 11:29am Thursday, June 6, 2013

About 400 Woodson Kindergarten Center students sat quietly in the gym on May 31. Rain had postponed their annual Fun Day to the following week. In the center of the group stood principal Jessica Cabeen — and she was dancing.

One frame later, the students exploded into motion on the video, dancing and hopping around while waving giant boas, flowers and other colorful props to blaring music. About 45 staff joined in, including a person in a green caterpillar costume who wriggled about in the foreground. It was Woodson’s own contribution to the “Harlem Shake” dance craze, imitated by many on video sharing websites like YouTube, and it was a way to celebrate the achievements of this year’s student body.

“They had a blast,” said teacher Cori McRae, who organized the event.

One Woodson class had already recorded their own version of the Harlem Shake, which is where the idea started, McRae said. While discussing it in the teachers lounge, a number of teachers rallied around the idea of a school-wide shake.

Cabeen approved, and Woodson held a “Shake to Success” to recognize a positive year for students. The principal landed the role of being the lone dancer at the beginning of the video.

“I just got to be the goofy one on TV,” she said.

Before the kindergartners recorded the dance, Cabeen and McRae commended them for their academic achievements.

“We had a really great year in regards to limited behavior referrals,” Cabeen said.

About 85 percent of kindergartners could read 10 of their 20 first-grade words, and 103 of them could read all 20. Woodson also saw a positive showing with its first year of using the Positive Behavior Intervention Support system, with 88 percent of students having zero office referrals.

“It was really, really good,” McRae said, adding students were attentive and well-behaved even during the making of the video.

Cabeen said the video could serve as a way for students to reminisce on their days at Woodson when they hit later milestones in their school careers.

“We’re hoping that this will now become an annual event,” she said.

The school played the video many times over on its televisions, and Cabeen said many parents gave positive feedback.

As for the caterpillar in the foreground, McRae said fellow teacher Amy Learn brought the outfit to put on for the video.

“She wears it every year for her Halloween costume,” McRae said, adding Learn had practiced the dance move “The Worm,” but decided instead to wriggle on the ground when that didn’t come together in time.

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