Overview: This lesson provides new ways for students to develop vocabulary acquisition and understand adjectives and verbs through movement.
For this arts integration lesson, our focus is on using dance to help guide vocabulary acquisition and an understanding of adjectives and verbs. Within the dance itself, the focus is on the elements of weight, space and time and accurately depicting the words chosen to describe a piece of music. This is written for Grade 3 Common Core ELA standards and integrated with Grade 3 dance standards.
Step 1: Begin by playing a variety of musical examples with varying moods/textures. Some samples include: Flight of the Bumblebee, Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata, Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, Elgar’s Nimrod Symphony (IX).
Step 2: Ask students to capture the essence of those pieces with one word. Probe for words that go beyond “sad”, “happy”, “excited”. Be sure to have them search for the best word they can find in their memory banks that describe that piece.
Step 3: Write the description words on the board in a list. Then, have the students move to their word for each piece.
Step 4: In a separate column, ask students to describe one action word that would showcase their descriptive word in the other column. Again, avoid words like “jump” and look for more descriptive words like “leap”.
Step 5: Have students repeat step number 3, but this time, move as described by their action word.
Step 6: Make one more column beside the other two. This time, have the students describe what kind of weight they would use in their body to demonstrate their action word (light and airy, loaded down by chains, etc).
Step 7: Repeat step 5, but adding the weight of their action from their created list
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.