Exploring Dance Elements

Unit Overview

Context:

This unit provides students with a variety of opportunities to play with the elements of dance by creating movement. The focus is particularly on those elements covered in the primary years (body, space, time, and energy).

Summary:

Beginning with the elements of body and space, which are the focus of student work in grades 1 and 2, students have the opportunity to create dances that begin simply and become more complex as the unit progresses. Touching on nearly every expectation in the grade 3 dance curriculum, students explore the movement of various body parts, personal and general space, patterns, tempo, and energy. The unit culminates in the creation of a dance that expresses thoughts and ideas related to the natural world.

Expectations

A1. Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process to the composition of dance phrases, using the elements of dance to communicate feelings and ideas;

A2. Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing: apply the critical analysis process to communicate their feelings, ideas, and understandings in response to a variety of dance pieces and experiences;

A3. Exploring Forms and Cultural Contexts: demonstrate an understanding of a variety of dance forms and styles from the past and present, and their social and/or community contexts.

Unit Guiding Questions

How can we use the elements of dance to express our feelings and ideas? 

Lesson Guiding Questions

Lesson 1 - Body Parts and Personal/General Space

What movements can I create with each of my body parts? 
Are there movements that I haven't tried?
How can I move throughout the dancing space while maintaining a cushion of personal space around my body?
What strategies can I use to make it clear what I am trying to express with the movement of my body?

Lesson 2 - Body, Space, Pattern

What kinds of shapes can I make with my body?
How does the negative space we create when we make a shape with our bodies look to others?
How do structure and pattern change a dance phrase?

Lesson 3 – Time

How does changing the tempo change the the quality of our movements?
How does changing the tempo change how we perceive movement as an audience member?
How does changing the tempo change how we feel while performing movement (the somatic experience)?

Lesson 4 – Energy and Time

How does music change the way we move?
What does the music from a particular culture tell us about the nature of that culture?
What can we infer about a traditional dance by listening to the music it is performed to? What clues can we use?

Lesson 5 –Nature Dances Too

How can we communicate the meaning of words using movement?
How can we translate the movement that we observe in the natural world into dance?
In what ways can we use the elements of dance that we've studied to make our choreography a more effective tool for communication?

 

Assessment and Evaluation: How will students demonstrate their learning?

Assessment of learning

Culminating Performance Activity

Students' final dance phrase in lesson 5 will be evaluated with a rubric constructed using success criteria that are co-created with the students before and during the choreography. Students will employ their knowledge of the dance elements as outlined in the curriculum and their observations from the preceding lessons in the creation of these criteria.

Assessment for Learning

Check Point #1 for Lesson 1

Creation of success criteria for movement response
Self-assessment and group self-assessment during creation of movement response using success criteria

Check Point #2 for Lesson 2

Creation of success criteria for dance phrase
Individual and group self-assessment during creation of movement response using success criteria
Providing feedback to groups after their performance
Group discussion of the impact of adding ABA form to dance phrase
Reflective journaling after performance

Check Point #3 for Lesson 3

Creation of success criteria for dance phrase
Individual and group self-assessment  using success criteria
Providing feedback to groups after their performance
Group discussion of the impact of changing the tempo of a phrase of movement on how the audience perceives the movements and how it feels to perform it
Reflective journaling after performance

Check Point #4 for Lesson 4

Creation of success criteria for dance phrase
Individual and group self-assessment using success criteria
Providing feedback to groups after their performance
Group discussion of the effectiveness of various choreographic choices
Reflective journaling after performance

Check Point #5 for Lesson 5

Creation of success criteria for dance creation
Self-assessment and group self-assessment during creation of movement response using success criteria
Providing feedback to groups after their performance
Group discussion of the effectiveness of various choreographic choices in communicating the meaning of the poem
Reflective journaling after performance
Responding to the performance experience by writing poetry
Co-creation of and evaluation with a formal rubric

 

Unit Lessons: How will assessment and instruction be organized for learning?

Approx. Duration 1 class = 60 minutes
Lesson 1

Lesson 1 - Body Parts and Personal/General Space

In this lesson students will explore the scope and range of movements that are possible using a variety of body parts. They will also explore moving within their own personal space bubble and will learn to take that bubble with them as they move through general space, so as to ensure safe dancing. In the consolidation phase, students will create a cinquain that describes the qualities and movements of a particular body part and will work in pairs or small groups to create a movement response to that poem.

1 class
Lesson 2

Lesson 2 - Body, Space, Pattern

In this lesson students will investigate the various types of shapes that they can create with their bodies and will make connections between those shapes and the architectural structures and statues that they observe in their daily lives. They will learn about how negative space is used in dance and will create a dance phrase that uses their new-found knowledge about shapes along with ABA form.

1-2 classes
Lesson 3

Lesson 3 – Time

In this lesson students will explore the element of time and will investigate the effect that changes in tempo have on the performance and perception of movement. They will work with both locomotor and non-locomotor movements and will experience the effect of music on movement. Students will then compose a dance phrase using both locomotor and non-locomotor movements. This phrase will employ the rondo form which will allow students to learn an additional choreographic form. 

1-2 classes
Lesson 4

Lesson 4 – Energy and Time

In this lesson students will explore the element of energy and will investigate the effect that changes in energy and dynamics have on the performance and perception of movement. Students will experiment with a variety of rhythm instruments and will accompany their peers by playing the instruments while their classmates respond to the sounds with improvised movement. Students will listen and improvise to a variety of music from around the world and will create dance phrases that respond to the energy and dynamics of the music. 

1-2 classes
Lesson 5

Lesson 5 –Nature Dances Too

In this lesson students will experience the ways that the meanings of texts can be expressed through movement. They will first use pairs of opposed words and will then move on to thinking about short poems that describe natural phenomena such as seasons changing, forest fires, exploding volcanoes, rain falling, etc. Students will use these poems as the inspiration for the creation of dances that will reflect the meaning of the poems through movement and will demonstrate the effective use of the elements that were studied during the previous four lessons.

1-2 classes
Lesson 1 - Body Parts and Personal/General Space

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Dance movements can be used to expand and deepen our understanding of a written text. Our bodies are capable of a wide and diverse range of movements. The movements we create can express our ideas.

What movements can I create with each of my body parts?  
Are there movements that I haven't tried?
How can I move throughout the dancing space while maintaining a cushion of personal space around my body?
What strategies can I use to make it clear what I am trying to express with the movement of my body?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

A1.Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process (see pages 19–22 in the 2009 Arts Curriculum Document) to the composition of dance phrases, using the elements of dance to communicate feelings and ideas

A1.2: use dance as a language to represent ideas from diverse literature sources, with a focus on time and energy

A2. Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing: apply the critical analysis process (see pages 23-28 in the 2009 Arts Curriculum Document) to communicate their feelings, ideas, and understandings in response to a variety of dance pieces and experiences

A2.1: demonstrate an understanding of how the elements of dance can be used in their own and others’ dance phrases to illustrate or explore learning in other subject areas

A2.2: identify, using dance vocabulary, the elements of dance used in their own and others’ dance phrases and explain their purpose

A2.3: identify and give examples of their strengths and areas for growth as dance creators and audience members

At the end of this lesson students will be able to:
  • use the elements of dance (especially body) to express what the body part poem means and how it makes them feel.
  • tell and show that they understand how they use the elements of dance to represent the body part poem.
  • show that they have reflected on the highs and lows of their dance experience today. What worked and what didn't? Why?

Instructional Components

Readiness

In order to effectively participate in this lesson, students will need to be able to move throughout general space while maintaining the personal space around them. Except in cases where contact is part of the activity, they will need to be capable of moving throughout general space without touching others. 

Terminology

Personal space
General space
Locomotor movement
Isolate

Body storming

Materials

Chart paper and markers or black/white/smart board and chalk/markers
Bell or drum to use as a freeze command
Journals

BLMs
BLM #1 Anchor Chart: Body Parts

 

Approximately 15 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Establishing Personal Space

With students, practice moving in personal space and general space using a variety of locomotor movements and responding to a freeze command (using a bell or drum to cue). Review the terms "personal" and "general" space.  

Prompt: Let’s make a list of body parts (perhaps using the suggested warm-up as a starting point). Discuss and move body parts that students suggest – record on chart paper. (See BLM #1)

Isolate each body part, trying to only move that part without involving any other part of the body. Prompt: Are some body parts harder to move on their own? Why do you think that is? 

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Side-coach and provide feedback as children are dancing
Teacher and peer feedback after performance

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

Creation of success criteria for movement response
Self-assessment and group self-assessment during creation of movement response using success criteria
Reflective journaling after performance

Differentiation (DI)

Students self-select the body parts whose movement they are able and interested in exploring. Students with limited voluntary movement will be able to participate fully by choosing those body parts that they are able to move. For students with extremely limited voluntary movement, teachers may want to use or create a tool such as the Simpson Board that will allow those students to direct the movement of others.

Anchor charts listing body parts and success criteria should be available for students to refer to throughout the lesson. 

Quick Tip

Comments should focus on describing and highlighting students' efforts without passing judgment or suggesting that one response is better than another.
The writing of the cinquain could be done as a whole class or in smaller groups.

Hyperlinks in the Lesson

The Arts in Every Classroom: A Video Library (K-5) 

Warm-up  

Dry Bones (or Skeleton Bones)
Move the body part as it is called out in the song (moving in personal space), move through general space during the chorus using a different locomotor (traveling) movement each time.
Approximately 40 minutes

Action!

Individual > Body storming

Use the following teacher prompts to engage students in exploring the movement of their body parts in personal and general space.  

Prompt: Glue your feet to the floor and move only the top half of your body…how can you move another half of your body? Are there other halves that we haven't thought about? Can you balance on two, three, four, five, one...parts of your body – is there another way of doing that? Try balancing on different body parts. When you balance, are you in personal or general space? Can you travel on two, three, four, five…parts of your body – is there another way of doing that? Try traveling on different body parts. When you travel, are you in personal or general space?

Whole Class > Writing a Cinquain

(adapted from Creative Dance for All Ages by Anne Green Gilbert) 

Write a cinquain collaboratively that describes the qualities and movements of a particular body part.

Record on the board or chart paper. 

Ex:

Legs
Long, flexible
Bending, leaping, stretching
We jump with them
Strong supporters

Individual > Creating Movement in Response to the Poem

Read the poem as the dancers improvise (create on-the-spot) movement in response to the poem. Ask students for volunteers to share their movements with the class.

Whole Class > Co-constructing Criteria

As a class, co-create success criteria for assessing the movement the students create to accompany the poem. Record criteria on the board or chart paper and post where students can refer to them as they work in their groups.

Criteria might include the use of a variety of body parts, movement in both personal and general space, movement that reflects the meaning of the words, active participation, and cooperative creative work with other group members. 

Small Group > Creating Dance Phrases

Create groups of three or four. Ask the students to share their created movements with their group. Have groups sequence the movements together to create a short dance phrase. As an extension, you may have the students read the poem as a choral dramatization while they are moving.

Approximately 20 minutes

Consolidation

Small Group > Sharing Works in Progress

After reviewing appropriate audience behaviour, groups will present their movement responses and students will provide oral feedback related to the success criteria.
Students will also complete a reflective journal entry describing their feelings and reactions to both creating and watching these movement responses to the cinquain.
Extension: Groups may be given time to revise their dance pieces based on the feedback given by the class prior to presenting again for evaluation.

Lesson 2 - Body, Space, Pattern

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Repetition and pattern are useful in creating harmony and interest in dance phrases. 
Our bodies can create a wide variety of shapes and we can use space in different ways to show these shapes.

What kinds of shapes can I make with my body?
How does the negative space we create when we make a shape with our bodies look to others?
How do structure and pattern change a dance phrase?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

A1.Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process (see pages 19–22) to the composition of dance phrases, using the elements of dance to communicate feelings and ideas

A1.3 create dance phrases using a variety of pattern forms  

A2. Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing: apply the critical analysis process to communicate their feelings, ideas, and understandings in response to a variety of dance pieces and experiences

A2.1: demonstrate an understanding of how the elements of dance can be used in their own and others’ dance phrases to illustrate or explore learning in other subject areas

A2.2: identify, using dance vocabulary, the elements of dance used in their own and others’ dance phrases and explain their purpose

A2.3: identify and give examples of their strengths and areas for growth as dance creators and audience members

At the end of this lesson students will be able to:
  • create a dance phrase using body shapes and negative space
  • show that they understand how to use an ABA pattern in a dance phrase
  • show that they understand how they and their classmates have used the elements of dance to represent the shape cards
  • show that they have reflected on the highs and lows of their dance experience

Instructional Components

Readiness

In order to effectively participate in this lesson, students will need to be able to move throughout general space while maintaining the personal space around them. Except in cases where contact is part of the activity, they will need to be capable of moving throughout general space without touching others.

Students will need to understand how to move the parts of their bodies both together and in isolation.

Students will need to be comfortable with creating simple dance phrases and understand the idea of sequencing (beginning, middle, end).

Terminology

General space
Personal space
Negative space
Closed shape
Open shape
ABA form

Materials

Chart paper and markers or black/white/smart board and chalk/markers
Bell or drum to use as a freeze command
Journal

BLMs
BLM #1 Anchor Chart: Body Parts
BLM #2 Anchor Chart: Body Shapes
BLM #3 Anchor Chart: The Elements of Dance

 

Approximately 10 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Swing Warm-up

Ask students to swing to the left (arms reach sideways and across the body, opposite leg extends), swing to the right, swing back to the left, allow arms to swing overhead into a gallop and recover with a swing to the left, reverse, repeat. Use 8 counts to change places, find the person closest to you, repeat several times facing them. Prompt: Now, what words would you use to describe the shapes we were making with our bodies when we were doing our swinging warm-up?

Record responses on the chalkboard/whiteboard.

Prompt: What other kinds of shapes might we make with our bodies? (e.g.: CURVED, STRAIGHT, TWISTED, BENDY, STRETCHED, ANGULAR, ETC…)

Ask students to experiment with making these shapes with their bodies. Encourage them to use all of the body parts discussed and used in the previous lesson. Encourage them to move throughout general space. (See BLM #2) 

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Side-coach and provide feedback as children are dancing
Providing feedback to other groups after their performance

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

Creation of success criteria for dance phrase
Individual and group self-assessment during creation of movement response using success criteria
Group discussion of the impact of adding the ABA form to dance phrase
Reflective journaling after performance

Differentiation (DI)

Students self-select the shapes they are able and interested in exploring. Those with limited voluntary movement will be able to participate fully in this way. For those with extremely limited voluntary movement, teachers may want to use or create a tool like the Simpson Board that will allow them to direct the movement of others. 

Anchor charts should be available for students to refer to during the lesson.

Quick Tip

Comments should focus on describing and highlighting students' efforts without passing judgment or suggesting that one response is better than another.

Link and Layer

Language: Oral communication,  journaling

Music: 3/4 time signature

Mathematics: ABA patterns

Visual Art: negative space 

Dance: general and personal space, body parts 

Approximately 40 minutes

Action!

Whole Class > Shape Library

Ask students to spread out in the room, ensuring enough personal space to move. Instruct everyone to make a different curved shape while moving in general space. On a signal, call out a student's name and everyone borrows that dancer’s shape, trying to accurately imitate it. Repeat using different shaping words (e.g., straight, twisted, bendy, stretched, angular etc.)

Pairs > Sculptor and Clay

Invite half of the students to be sculptors while the other half will be lumps of modeling clay. Based on a shaping theme (curved, angular, etc.), the sculptors will dance around the clay lumps, stopping to mold them into shapes that follows the same theme. When the music stops, the sculptors will walk around the shape gallery looking at their (curvy, angular, twisted) creations. Switch roles so the clay will become sculptors and the sculptors will become clay.

Pairs > Puzzle Pieces 

Possible read-alouds to accompany this activity: The Missing Piece and the Big O by Shel Silverstein.

Ask students to find a partner and label themselves A and B. Explain that A will make a shape with lots of empty space between their body parts. This is called negative space. B will then make a shape that fits into A's shape, filling up some of the space, the way a puzzle piece would. Ask B's to stay frozen in their shape and A's to dance away and find another puzzle piece to fit themselves into. Repeat several times, alternating which partner stays frozen and which one moves around the space.

Small Group > Card Dance

Divide the students into small groups. Give each group a set of 4 cards, each with a drawing of a shape (this may be a closed or open shape, it will not be one of the traditional "geometric shapes", i.e. circle, square, rectangle, etc.) The students will then decide in which order they will place their shapes and will create group shapes with their bodies that correspond with each shape on the cards. 

Once students have had a chance to explore their shapes, co-create success criteria with the students so that they can self-assess and provide feedback. Have students present these shapes, with smooth transitions between each shape, to their peers and will receive feedback. This can be done either by pairing groups up and having them present to one another, or by having groups present one at a time to the class. Ask the students to then return to their groups and to choose one shape that they will repeat at the beginning and end of their shapes dance, thereby creating an ABA form. Groups will continue to work on their dance phrases, adjusting them to accommodate the ABA structure.

Approximately 20 minutes

Consolidation

Small Group > Sharing Dance Pieces

Students will present their movement phrases a second time, both with and without ABA structure and will discuss, using the success criteria, how the phrase changed when they modified the structure.

Key Questions for Discussion:

Did using ABA structure make the piece more interesting/effective?  

Can you think of other ways that we might use repetition to make dance pieces?  

Individual > Reflection

Students write a journal entry reflecting on their successes in this lesson and where they feel they can improve. Students can also reflect on how well they worked together with their group members. 

Lesson 3 - Time

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

We can modify movement in interesting and profound ways simply by changing the speed (tempo) at which we perform it.
How does changing the tempo change the the quality of our movements?
How does changing the tempo change how we perceive movement as an audience member?
How does changing the tempo change how we feel while performing movement (the somatic experience)?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

A1.Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process (see pages 19–22) to the composition of dance phrases, using the elements of dance to communicate feelings and ideas

A1.3 create dance phrases using a variety of pattern forms

A1.4 demonstrate how dance elements can be used to create and expand the movement vocabulary within different sections of a larger pattern
 

A2. Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing: apply the critical analysis process to communicate their feelings, ideas, and understandings in response to a variety of dance pieces and experiences

A2.1: demonstrate an understanding of how the elements of dance can be used in their own and others’ dance phrases to illustrate or explore learning in other subject areas

A2.2: identify, using dance vocabulary, the elements of dance used in their own and others’ dance phrases and explain their purpose

A2.3: identify and give examples of their strengths and areas for growth as dance creators and audience members

Learning Goals
At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
  • create a short dance using the rondo pattern (ABACADA)
  • show how they can use the element of time to change the movements they've created
  • tell and show that they understand how they and their classmates have used the elements of dance (especially time) to create a rondo pattern and change their movements
  • show that they have reflected on the highs and lows of their dance experience 

Instructional Components

Readiness

In order to effectively participate in this lesson, students will need to be able to move throughout general space while maintaining the personal space around them. Except in cases where contact is part of the activity, they will need to be capable of moving throughout general space without touching others.

Students will need to understand how to move the parts of their bodies both together and in isolation.

Students will need to understand how to create a variety of shapes with their bodies.

Students will need to have some experience using simple patterns to create dance phrases.

Students will need to have experience creating simple dance phrases and must understand the idea of sequencing (beginning, middle, end).

Terminology

Tempo (pl: tempi)
General space
Levels
Accelerate
Decelerate
Locomotor movements
Non-locomotor movements
Rondo

Materials

Chart paper and markers or black/white/smart board and chalk/markers
Bell or drum to use as a freeze command
Journal
Music with two distinct tempi (suggestions include Geoff Bennett "Skin" or "Music for Bipedal Music" or CDs from The Soundtrack Performance Group http://www.gatofuentes.com/dramasound/ 

BLMs: 
BLM #1 Anchor Chart: Body Parts
BLM #2 Anchor Chart: Body Shapes
BLM #3 Anchor Chart: The Elements of Dance
BLM #4 Anchor Chart: Speed Words
BLM #5 Anchor Chart: Locomotor Movements
BLM #6 Anchor Chart: Non-locomotor movements

 

 

 

Approximately 10 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Review and Setting the Context

Review the elements previously taught: body and space. Discuss the experiences of the previous two lessons. Introduce the focus for this lesson: time.  Ask the students to look at the clock face.

Prompt: Notice that there are three different speeds of movement happening simultaneously; the second hand is moving quickly, the minute hand is moving at a slower speed and the hour hand is moving very slowly, so slowly, in fact, that we hardly notice that it's moving at all. Are there any other examples that you can think of where different parts are all moving but at different speeds? (e.g., machines, cars, musical instruments, etc.)

Record responses on a blackboard/whiteboard. Ask students if they can think of some words that we can use to describe the speed or tempo of something. (e.g., fast, slow, lazy, speedy, medium, presto, allegro, etc.) Record responses. (See  BLM #4)

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Side-coach and provide feedback as children are dancing
Providing feedback to other groups after their performance

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

Creation of success criteria for dance phrase

Individual and group self-assessment  using success criteria

Group discussion of the impact of changing the tempo of a phrase of movement on how the audience perceives the movements and how it feels to perform it

Reflective journaling after performance

Differentiation (DI)

Students self-select the shapes they are able and interested in exploring. Those with limited voluntary movement will be able to participate fully in this way. For those with extremely limited voluntary movement, teachers may want to use or create a tool like the Simpson Board that will allow them to direct the movement of others. 

Anchor charts should be available for students to refer to during the lesson.

Quick Tip

Comments should focus on describing and highlighting students' efforts without passing judgment or suggesting that one response is better than another.

Link and Layer

Mathematics: patterning

Music: rondo form, tempo

Dance: general space, personal space, body parts and shape 

Hyperlinks in the Lesson

Elements of Dance Lesson, Kennedy Centre, ARTSEDGE

Warm-up

Start in the smallest shape you can make. While I slowly count to 8, grow into the biggest possible shape. Now, while I count backwards from 8, slowly shrink into a different small shape.  Repeat. Try with 4 counts, 2 counts, 1 count. How does the movement change? 

Approximately 60 minutes

Action!

Individual > Follow the Music

Choose music with at least two distinct tempi (speeds). Ask the students to match the speed of their movements to the speed of the music as they move through general space. Encourage them to move on different levels, in various directions, through various sizes, etc. Once they have experienced dancing with the music, try dancing against it.   

Prompt: What does it feel like to move slowly when the music is going quickly or vice versa? Which do you prefer, dancing with the music or in contrast to it? Why? Discuss.  

Extension: Try watching half the class dancing with and in contrast to the music and comment on the experience as an audience member. Switch roles. 

Whole Class > Machines

Ask one student to begin this improvisation by doing a simple, repetitive movement that maintains a rhythmic tempo (they might also create a sound to accompany the movement). Each subsequent student will connect somehow to this collective machine, adding a movement (and sound) that keeps to the same tempo that the first person established (medium works well for the first time). Prompt students to use a variety of body parts, levels and facings. Once all of the pieces of the machine are assembled, prompt students to gradually accelerate and decelerate their movements/sounds. Discuss how the change in tempo changed the quality of the movement.

Prompt: Did they have to change their movement? How? Why? Repeat this activity using different movements at varying speeds. 

Whole Class > Classification

As a class, brainstorm a list of locomotor and non-locomotor movements. (See  BLM #5 and  BLM #6) Ask students how they would organize them in terms of time. Prompt: Which movements are usually fast, slow, medium? Record responses. Some elements might fit into more than one "time category". Walking, for instance, can easily be done at almost any tempo, whereas flick, jab, skip and run, are harder to do slowly. If students are struggling with the classification, have them get up and try some of the movements. 

Small Group > Tempo Rondo

In groups of three, ask students to compose a short dance phrase using the locomotor and non-locomotor movements listed on the anchor charts. Ex.: walk, stretch, run backwards, roll, spin, flick. Once students have composed their movements, have them practice the phrase so that everyone in the group knows it well. Explain that performing the movements at this tempo will be their "A" section. Have each person in the group work on changing the tempo of the phrase. One person will work on performing it very quickly, one very slowly, and the third at a moderate tempo. Each tempo must be distinctly different from the tempo used in the "A" section. The phrases will then be organized as a rondo so that the "A" section is followed by one of the changed tempo sections in an "ABACADA" format, so that the "A" section both starts and finishes the piece. Dancers who are not dancing should choose a shape to freeze in. All dancers will perform the "A" section whereas the "B, C, and D" sections (very fast, very slow, medium) will be performed by only one dancer as a solo. The dancers should choose a final shape to end the piece with. 

Whole Class > Co-Constructing Criteria

Co-create success criteria with the students so that they can self-assess during the choreographic process and provide feedback. 

Approximately 20 minutes

Consolidation

Groups > Sharing Dance Pieces

Students will present their dance pieces and receive feedback from their peers using the posted success criteria. Discuss after students have performed.

Key Questions for Discussion:
How does changing the tempo change the the quality of our movements?
How does changing the tempo change how we perceive movement as an audience member?
How does changing the tempo change how we feel while performing movement (the somatic experience)?

Ask students to write a journal entry reflecting on their experiences and successes in this lesson and where they feel they can improve and extend their learning.
Lesson 4 - Energy and Time

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

The quality (energy) with which we perform a movement is significantly influenced by the dynamics of the music we choose. 

How does music change the way we move?
What does the music from a particular culture tell us about the nature of that culture?
What can we infer about a traditional dance by listening to the music it is performed to? What clues can we use?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

A1.Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process to the composition of dance phrases, using the elements of dance to communicate feelings and ideas

A2. Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing: apply the critical analysis process to communicate their feelings, ideas, and understandings in response to a variety of dance pieces and experiences

A2.1: demonstrate an understanding of how the elements of dance can be used in their own and others’ dance phrases to illustrate or explore learning in other subject areas

A2.2: identify, using dance vocabulary, the elements of dance used in their own and others’ dance phrases and explain their purpose

A2.3: identify and give examples of their strengths and areas for growth as dance creators and audience members

A3. Exploring Forms and Cultural Contexts: demonstrate an understanding of a variety of dance forms and styles from the past and present, and their social and/or community contexts

A3.2  identify and describe the role of dance in the community

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • choreograph a short dance phrase using music from a specific cultural group
  • show that they understand why people in various communities dance at important times in their lives 
  • show how they can use the element of energy to change their movements
  • tell and show that they understand how they and their classmates have used the elements of dance (especially energy) to create a short dance phrase
  • show that they have reflected on the highs and lows of your dance experience 

Instructional Components

Readiness

In order to effectively participate in this lesson, students will need to be able to move throughout general space while maintaining the personal space around them. Except in cases where contact is part of the activity, they will need to be capable of moving throughout general space without touching others.

Students will need to understand how to move the parts of their bodies both together and in isolation.

Students will need to have experience using the dance elements of body, space, and time.

Students will need to have experience creating simple dance phrases and must understand the idea of sequencing (beginning, middle, end).

It may be helpful for students to have experience playing a variety of non-pitched percussion instruments.

Terminology

Sharp
Smooth
Strong
Light
Sustained
Percussive

Materials

Rhythm instruments
Recordings of a variety of musical styles from around the world
Music player
Chart paper and markers or black/white/smart board and chalk/markers
Bell or drum to use as a freeze command
Journal

BLMs: 
BLM #1 Anchor Chart: Body Parts
BLM #2 Anchor Chart: Body Shapes
BLM #3 Anchor Chart: The Elements of Dance
BLM #4 Anchor Chart: Speed words
BLM #5 Anchor Chart: Locomotor Movements
BLM #6 Anchor Chart: Non-locomotor Movements

 

Approximately 10 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Review and Setting the Context

Review the elements previously taught: body, space, and time. Discuss the experiences of the previous two lessons. Introduce the focus for this lesson: energy. As a class, look back at the list of locomotor and non-locomotor words (from previous lesson).  

Prompt: What kind of energy do you think corresponds with each of these words? (e.g., skip might have a sharp energy, whereas slide might have a smooth energy). Have students experiment with dancing the words. Once they have had a chance to try the movements, ask them to organize them in new way, using energy words: sharp/smooth and strong/light. Record classification on chart paper/board. (See BLM #7)

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Side-coach and provide feedback as children are dancing
Providing feedback to other groups after their performance

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

Creation of success criteria for dance phrase
Individual and group self-assessment using success criteria
Group discussion of the effectiveness of various choreographic choices 
Reflective journaling after performance

Differentiation (DI)

Students self-select the shapes they are able and interested in exploring. Those with limited voluntary movement will be able to participate fully in this way. For those with extremely limited voluntary movement, teachers may want to use or create a tool like the Simpson Board that will allow them to direct the movement of others. 

Anchor charts should be available for students to refer to during the lesson.

Quick Tip

Focus on describing and highlighting students' efforts without judgement.

Link and Layer

Music: dynamics

Social Studies: connections to world cultures and celebrations (can be tailored to suit the cultural diversity of a given school/area)

Dance: general space, personal space, body parts and shape, time  

Hyperlinks in the Lesson

The Arts in Every Classroom: A Workshop for Elementary School Teachers

Warm-up

Follow Us... we're following the leader!

One student (A) is the leader and stands near one wall, three other students (B, C, & D) stand against the opposite wall. The remaining students stand between them, facing B, C, & D.  When student A moves, students B, C, & D copy her and the rest of the students copy them. 

Approximately 40 minutes

Action!

Individual > Verbs in Space

Call out a variety of verbs and ask students to dance as though they are using that verb to change the quality of the space. (e.g., wiggle the space, scratch the space, stretch the space, sculpt the space, pet the space, bang the space, collapse the space). Ask the students to contribute more verbs and continue experimenting with the results. Remind the students to use all of their body parts, not just their arms and hands.  

Prompt: How can you squeeze the space with your feet? your hips? Encourage students to use different levels, and to move either in general or personal space, depending on the case.  

Whole Class/Small Group > Dynamics and Energy

Sort rhythm instruments into two groups: those that make smooth, sustained sounds (triangles, sand blocks, bells) and those that make sharp, percussive sounds (drums, rhythm sticks, boomwhackers). Place the instruments in two distinct parts of the room. Divide students into two groups, one group will experiment with the smooth, sustained sounds while the other group experiments with the sharp, percussive sounds. Each group will then further divide in two so that half of the group members will play the instruments while the other half responds with movement that matches the energy of the sounds. Those two groups will then switch so that all students have the opportunity to experiment with playing the rhythm instruments and with exploring the movement. The groups might also watch each other and provide feedback. The smooth, sustained group will then switch with the sharp, percussive group.  

Whole Class > Imagining World Dances 

(Adapted from A Moving Experience by Teresa Benzwie)

Choose several contrasting pieces of music from around the world (e.g., Balinese Gamelan music, Inuit Throat singing, French Canadian folk music, African drumming, etc.) Ask the students to imagine how people might dance to this music, in particular what kind of energy their movement might embody. Ask them to improvise to several pieces, encouraging them to experiment with smooth and sharp movements. Prompt: What do they think people wear when they dance to this music? Where do they dance (wedding, party, funeral)? Who do they think dances to this music (women, men, children)? Why?

Small Group > Creating Dance Pieces

Ask groups to choose one of the pieces they've improvised to. Students will then create a short piece that responds to the energy of this music. If the music is smooth and sustained, the movement should reflect those qualities; if the music is percussive and sharp, the movement should reflect those qualities.  

Whole Class > Co-Constructing Criteria

Co-create success criteria with the students so that they can self-assess during the choreographic process and provide feedback. These criteria should reference the use of the dance elements previously studied (body, space, time and now energy) in this unit. 

Approximately 15 minutes

Consolidation

Small Group > Sharing Dance Pieces

Students will present their dance pieces and receive feedback from their peers using the posted success criteria. Discuss after students have performed.

Key Questions for Discussion:

How does music change the way we move? 
What does the music from a particular culture tell us about the nature of that culture?
What can we infer about a traditional dance by listening to the music it is performed to? What clues can we use?

Students will write a journal entry reflecting on their experiences and successes in this lesson and where they feel they can improve and extend their learning.

Lesson 5 - Nature Dances Too!

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Dance can be used to communicate both abstract and concrete ideas, thoughts and feelings about the natural world.

How can we communicate the meaning of words using movement?
How can we translate the movement that we observe in the natural world into dance?
In what ways can we use the elements of dance that we've studied to make our choreography a more effective tool for communication?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

A1.Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process (see pages 19–22) to the composition of dance phrases, using the elements of dance to communicate feelings and ideas

A2. Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing: apply the critical analysis process to communicate their feelings, ideas, and understandings in response to a variety of dance pieces and experiences

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • choreograph a short dance phrase that is inspired by a poem about the natural world
  • show how they can use all the elements of dance that they've studied but especially time and energy to communicate the message, feeling or idea of the poem
  • tell and show that they understand how they and their classmates have used the elements of dance (especially time and energy) to choreograph a dance
  • show that they have reflected on the highs and lows of their dance experience today and throughout this unit

Instructional Components

Readiness

In order to effectively participate in this lesson, students will need to be able to move throughout general space while maintaining the personal space around them. Except in cases where contact is part of the activity, they will need to be capable of moving throughout general space without touching others.

Students will need to have experience using the dance elements of body, space, time, and energy.

Students will need to have experience creating simple dance phrases and must understand the idea of sequencing (beginning, middle, end).

Terminology

Body
Space
Time
Energy

Materials

Overhead projector or board 
Pairs of words (see below) written large enough that students can read them from any place in the room
Short poems on chart paper
Bell or drum to use as a freeze command
Journal

BLMs: 
BLM #1 Anchor Chart: Body Parts
BLM #2 Anchor Chart: Body Shapes
BLM #3 Anchor Chart: The Elements of Dance
BLM #4 Anchor Chart: Speed words
BLM #5 Anchor Chart: Locomotor Movements
BLM #6 Anchor Chart: Non-locomotor Movements

BLM #7 Anchor Chart: Energy Words

 

Approximately 10 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Review and Setting the Context

Review the learning of the previous 4 lessons by discussing, moving, and re-reading the anchor charts that have been created during these lessons. Prompt: What dance elements have we worked with (body, space, time and energy)? How would you explain each of those elements to someone who had missed a class? Can you show that with your body? What have we learned about movement? How can we change our movement by using these elements?   

Explain to students that today we are going to work on putting together all that we have learned so far.

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Side-coach and provide feedback as children are dancing Providing feedback to other groups after their performance

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

Creation of success criteria for dance creation
Self-assessment and group self-assessment during creation of movement response using success criteria
Group discussion of the effectiveness of various choreographic choices in communicating the meaning of the poem
Reflective journaling after performance
Responding to the performance experience by writing poetry

Differentiation (DI)

Students self-select the movement they are able and interested in exploring. Those with limited voluntary movement will be able to participate fully by choosing the movement that they are able to make. For those with extremely limited voluntary movement, teachers may want to use or create a tool such as the Simpson Board that will allow them to direct the movement of others. 

Anchor charts (listed above), including success criteria for this lesson, should be available for students to refer to throughout the lesson.

Quick Tip

Comments should focus on describing and highlighting students' efforts without passing judgment or suggesting that one response is better than another.

Link and Layer
Science: Growth and Changes in Plants, Forces Causing Movement, Soils in the Environment
Language: poetry, journaling, oral communication
Dance: general and personal space, body parts, shapes, time, energy
Approximately 40 minutes

Action!

Individual > Body storming

Explain to students that you will give them a series of two-worded pictures. Draw an imaginary line down the centre of the room and explain to students that if you choose the first word you will go on the one side of the room and if you choose the other word, you will go on the other side. Put the words up on the board (or LCD/Overhead projector). Explain that when you say "Switch," students will change sides of the room and try dancing in response to the other word.

Sample word pairings: swirling/calming, floating/zooming, whispering/whipping, twirling/fading, scattering/settling, pouring/drizzling, tumbling/dripping, erupting/crumbling

Debrief with students. Prompt: What did you notice while you were dancing these words? How did the way you used the elements change? How did you use your body/space/time/energy to communicate the idea of each word?

Whole Class > Examining Poetry

(Adapted from Dance and Language Experiences with Children by Joyce Boorman) 

Present four short poems (or one stanza from a longer poem) to the students, each capturing a natural event or phenomena (e.g., seasons changing, a forest fire, exploding volcano, ice breaking up in a river, rain falling on dry ground, etc.) Read the poems aloud both alone and as a group. Place a chart-paper sized copy of the poems in each of the four corners (1 poem per corner) of the room. Ask students to choose which poem they’d like to work on and to go to that corner. If some of the poems are very popular, divide that group in two so that two smaller groups are working on the same poem. 

Small Group > Creating Dance Piece with Poetry as a Stimulus

Using their understanding of the dance elements, ask students to choreograph a short dance that seeks to explore, describe, communicate and interpret the poem they’ve chosen. You may choose to assign particular lines to individual students and have them responsible for creating the choreography for that particular line. 

With the students, co-create success criteria that reflect the elements you’ve taught so that they can self-assess during the creative process and provide feedback. (e.g., The dance shows effective use of body/space/time/energy to communicate ideas from the poem.)

Extension: Students could also write their own poetry that responds to one of the pieces presented by their peers or that describes the experience of dancing from a somatic perspective. 

Approximately 20 minutes

Consolidation

Small Group > Sharing Dance Pieces

Students will present their dance pieces and receive feedback from their peers using the posted success criteria.

Extension: Students may be given time to rework their dance piece incorporating the feedback they were given prior to evaluation.

Individual > Unit Reflection

Students write a journal entry reflecting on their experiences and successes in this unit and where they feel they can improve and extend their learning.  This final journal entry should focus not only on the work in this lesson but should summarize their experiences of the entire unit.