Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Dance with Me

Diane Weiner


Students create a simple dance that illustrates the changes in rhythm in a song.


The student performs movement sequences to various accompaniments (e.g., sound, music, and spoken text), demonstrating their effect.

The student understands how individual solutions to movement problems are based on personal choices.

The student knows how to analyze simple songs in regard to rhythm, melodic movement, and basic forms (e.g., ABA, verse, and refrain).

The student understands the relationship between music and other subjects (e.g., between folk songs and historical events).


-Recordings and sheet music (with lyrics) of five simple songs in either AB or ABA form (Check index of any text.) Examples include -Willobee-, -When I First Came To This Land-, -We're Sailing Down the River-; Gr. 3, CD 1, Music and You, (1991), McMillan; -La Raspa-, Gr. 1, CD 3, Share the Music, (1998), McMillan
-Recording of “Oh, Susannah”: Foster, Stephen; CD1, Gr.3, Music and You, (1991), McMillan
-Criteria Checklist (see Assessment) written on white board or chart tablet


1. Prepare Criteria Checklist for student reference.
2. Prepare a cassette of each song that will be used.


Authentic Context:
Your class is helping a kindergarten class prepare a program for their parents. You will create a simple dance that illustrates the changes in rhythm for each of the five songs they are learning to sing. Each student will be assigned to a group that is responsibile for choreographing one song.

1. Before playing a recording of -Oh, Susannah,- ask the students to listen carefully and to raise their hands when they hear the music change to a new section.
2. Have the students identify the form of the song. Ask volunteers to show movement or steps that could be used for each section (e.g., march in place in one section, turn in a circle in another section).
3. Divide the class into five groups and assign each group a song. Explain to the class that they are to create the choreography for each major section of the song using only one type of movement for each section. The movement should reflect the rhythm and character of the music. Tell the students to keep the dance steps appropriate for kindergarten level; for example, walking to the beat, high and low movements, twisting, bending, hopping, and marching.
4. Post the Criteria Checklist. Review and discuss the criteria that will be used to assess the choreography created by each group.
5. Give groups an appropriate time limit to create and practice the choreography for their song.
6. Each group should perform their movements to their assigned song for the entire class.


The teacher will use the following criteria to assess the choreography of the group. This assessment may be copied for student use.

Criteria Checklist

1. Clear change in movements when music changed. Competent Not Yet

2. Dance is appropriate for kindergarten students. Competent Not Yet

3. Movements are creative. Competent Not Yet

4. Movements chosen fit the style of the music. Competent Not Yet

5. Overall performance captures the audience interest. Competent Not Yet

Self Reflection:
The interpretation of the rhythm of the song could also be expressed by ...


Students will be able to create dances that illustrate changes in the rhythm of a song. Students will be able to teach simple dances to kindergarten students.
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