Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Do Be Square

Sharon Hardy


The student performs a square dance using proper movements keeping the beat and the rhythm of the song.


The student knows the traditions and techniques (e.g., steps and movement styles) of various dances (e.g., folk, social, and classical) in various cultures and time periods.

The student performs folk, social, and classical dances from various cultures.


-CD Player
-CD or tape of any square dance suitable for elementary use (i.e. not too many complicated patterns) Preferably one that has a -caller-. I use the Square Dance Sequence from -How the West Was Really Won- by Hawthorn and Wilson available from Somerset Press.


1. Set up CD or tape player with music.
2. Become familiar with the square dance you have chosen and the order of the -caller's- directions.
3. Clear area for dancing - if classroom is used this will involve moving chairs, desks,etc.


1. As the students enter the classroom have the square dance music playing.

2. Tell students they will be learning basic square dance steps as well as a complete dance today. Give a bit of background on square dancing.

3. Have students choose a partner and then seat the partners in -squares-- 8 students per square - 4 couples
Note: Stress the partner can be a boy or a girl - this eliminates some problems. If there are extra couples (not enough for a complete square) seat them to the side and exchange them in and out of a square during the lesson.

4. Tell students all square dance calls are basic - it's up to the -caller- as to their order and use.

5. Tell students the -secret -of square dancing is to always return to their side of the square and to stay with their partner unless an exchange has taken place.

6. Demonstrate - bowing, do-si-do,promenade, circle to the right/left, elbow swing, right-hand/left-hand star, balance to the left/right corner using one of the squares.

7. Have individual -squares- walk through steps of the dance with your guidance.

8. Have all -squares- prepare to try their steps with the music.

9. Play music and have students go through the dance- there will be confusion!

10. Square the sets (get back where partners started from) and review some steps that caused the most confusion.

11. Try again with the music .

12. Repeat the above several times.

13. Have fun!!!


The student's participation in the dance should be assessed by teacher observation. Create a checklist of student names and use the following criteria to formatively assess students. Please note that this lesson only addresses one type of dance.
Criteria: 4 - always
3 - most of the time
2 - sometimes
1 - needs direction
0 - did not participate

1. Student listened to and followed square dance directions.

2. Student's performance improved with repetition of steps.

3. Student attempted to maintain beat and fit steps with the rhythm.

4. General attitude toward the lesson and square dancing is appropriate for acceptable classroom behavior.
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