Today’s free arts integration lesson uses the book Anansi the Spider and the choreography of Garth Fagan to explore story sequence and problem-based learning. Created for grades 3-5, the Dance of Anansi lesson plan provides students with a way to use movement to both orient the reader to the story and provide natural transitions between each part of the event sequence.
While this dance of Anansi lesson plan looks fairly simple and straightforward, there are some key integration elements to consider as you use this in your classroom.
1. There are multiple standards that are addressed in this lesson, but the ones that have been aligned are the core standards we are looking to assess. Yes, you’ll be looking at transition words and phrases (another E/LA standard). Yes, you’ll also be having students create choreography using various movements (another dance standard). But our focus for assessment is the two highlighted in the lesson.
2. The assessment is a student reflection. You can certainly expand this into a teacher feedback component or even a rubric. But our students never have enough opportunities to reflect on their work and the work of their peers!
3. The reflection addresses both the E/LA and the Dance standards. In fact, the language for each reflection is pulled directly from the standard to ensure the strongest alignment possible.
The other great feature about this lesson is its highlight of legendary choreographer Garth Fagin (who created the choreography for The Lion King on Broadway among other work). With February being Black History Month, this is a great lesson to use that showcases a contemporary black artist sharing extraordinary work in the world.
Additionally, dance of Anansi lesson plan also provides students with an understanding that there are many different types of jobs in various art fields. You don’t have to be a dancer to be involved in dance! Participating in the art form by exploring and manipulating the elements of dance can be just as invigorating as the dance itself.
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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.