Chelsea Branch » Ms. Branch's Biography

Ms. Branch's Biography

Chelsea Branch is from Fort Wayne, Indiana. She attended Hope College in Holland, MI and graduated with a BA in Dance Education K-12 and a minor in English Education. Chelsea most recently worked at Hamilton Elementary School as the dance and yoga teacher. During her five years at Hamilton, she designed and implemented a PK-8 dance curriculum centered around National Arts Standards that created opportunities for student creativity and voices. Chelsea worked closely with classroom teachers to build arts integrated units in literacy, math, and science. Additionally, she assisted in leading SEL initiatives that greatly improved the climate and culture for students. Mindfulness is a core value in Chelsea‘s work with students and she was trained by Mindful Schools. Chelsea is passionate about sharing yoga and is certified in Yoga Calm, Rainbow Kids Yoga, and became a RYT 200 yoga teacher through Marianne Wells Yoga School in Costa Rica. 

In her free time, Chelsea loves to read fiction and memoirs, cook (although she’s not very skilled yet), and is a professional dancer and choreographer.    



Interview with Our New Dance Teacher!

How LUCKY are we that we get to have Mr. Echevarria at our school next fall? The video interview conducted are all questions from our Decatur students. Thanks for submitting your awesome questions to allow us to get to know Mr. Echevarria! I can't wait to see what you create together next year!

Grace B.'s Dance Choreography Reflection During the Pandemic

Dance is communication. It can sometimes be healing, an outburst of emotion, and connection. Sixth graders took the time to choose three words about their time at home during the current pandemic and used dance to communicate their lives at that moment. Please take a minute to watch Grace B.'s choreography to her three words: lonely, hopeful, stressful. I know we can all connect to Grace's words and movement in some way during this time!
This week the sixth graders were reflecting on their learning in dance class throughout the year. Check out this impressive piece by Roy B. who painted someone that we studied in our arts integrated unit with Ballet and Social Studies, Misty Copeland! Amazing work, Roy!! I can't wait to get into the new Decatur Dance studio and hang this wonderful piece!

Newsies Choreography by Fourth Graders!

Fourth Graders have been studying the musical "Newsies" to learn how to use their voice to stand up for what's right. Recently, we have turned our attention to the number "Seize the Day" and the students created their own choreography. Check out these two students who decided to create their project together (remotely). Nice work!!
Decatur's K-3 students went on a virtual field trip to see "Peter and the Wolf." Before attending the ballet production, they learned about production elements and instrumentation with Ms. Schmittle and Ms. Branch. One reflection question was, "If you had the opportunity to design costumes, the lighting, or the sets for “Peter and the Wolf,” which would you choose and why?" Above is one example of a student who would take the opportunity to design costumes and drew out her one of her inspirational designs!
Third graders are diving into Fosse Choreography by learning one of our favorites from his repertoire, "Steam Heat." We have studied his life, his dance skills, and his inventive choreography and now we are going to learn this silly piece for ourselves! Since we aren't all together to use the black hats at Decatur, we all get to use whatever hats we want! Check out our exciting and crazy assortment of "Steam Heat" hats above! :) 

"Brave Ballerina" The Story of Janet Collins Read Aloud

Kindergarteners heard the story of Janet Collins in "Brave Ballerina" this week. Listen to this courageous woman's story about her journey as a dancer here. They used this response sheet to capture their ideas before and after the story was read aloud. I loved reading your thoughts, Kindergarteners!

Decatur students have been dealing with lots of big emotions since we haven't been at school together. The fifth graders have been working on a continuation of our yoga unit from when we were at school, and are reporting that the yoga practices online have been helping them feel calm, stretched out, and ready to face their day. 
Second Grade has started creating their own dance spaces in their homes for e-learning. Last week, students created maps of their space and this week they used three different types of pathways to start their own choreography. Can't wait for the next creative movement class where they will make these maps and pathways come to live through original choreography!!
Although I miss moving and grooving with the Decatur students at school, they are doing a great job of keeping up with their work at home!! Thank you to all of the Decatur students who are practicing their skills and flexing that choreographic muscle at home! Great work! 

Dear Wizard of Oz Parents and Participants, 

We are so appreciative of your support as we had just begun the process of building our spring show. It is with heavy hearts that we are announcing to students today via google classroom that we have made the decision to postpone the show. We know the students will have tons of questions about how delaying the show will work, but due to the uncertainty of our transition back to school we hope to be able to answer them when we return to the building. We do not currently have all the answers as so much changes day to day - but we will work to create a plan when we return to school. The cast and crew have been working so hard already and we can’t wait to get back to work with them on this performance. In the short time we had, amazing things were happening, so we know that whenever we get started again, we will produce a magical “Wizard of Oz.”


Chelsea, Cate & Margaret

Our sixth graders spent some times discussing the positive memories we share in our talking circle yesterday. We created a yarn web to illustrate the connections that we will share forever as a class and a community.