Creating through Imagination and Ideas (3)


Learner Description

I teach third graders.  My school is in West Seattle, which is kind of a small community unto itself.  School enrollment is 353 students from K - 5, with 23.4% of the students living in the neighborhood. Our ethnicity breakdown is 25.1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 12.9% African American, 10.9% Hispanic, 4.3% Native American and 46.9% White.  Total percentage of students on free & reduced lunch is 44.2%. Students not living with both parents are 44.9%.  19.8% of the students have limited English proficiency and 11.2% of the students are in Special Education services.

I have twenty-one students, about half of them live in the neighborhood and the other half is bused in.  Nine of my students are Anglo-Saxon, one is African American, two are Euro-African American, three are Vietnamese, and one of each are East Indian, Euro-Native American, Ethiopian, Chinese American, Moroccan, and Korean -African American.

Of the bused in students, six of them are bilingual at home but only two required bilingual services at school.  Seven are on free & reduced lunch. Eleven of my students come from one-parent homes and one requires special education services.  All my students have parents who work outside the home with the exception of six.  My students are very needy in terms of attention from me.   Nine of them lack focus and are a year behind academically, thus most of the teaching are whole class lessons and teacher directed. These students can hardly keep to their seats and talks a lot. Small cooperative groupings took almost half of the year to finally function independently. 

I try to inspire my students to respect diversity in our community, not only in who they are, but how they learn.  Because I incorporate the theory of Multiple Intelligence into my curriculum, my classroom is definitely student-centered.


Purpose or Vision Statement

            My goal is to engage my students' mind, body and spirit in order for them to discover about themselves and to create through imagination and ideas.  My immediate goal is to teach the elements of dance and ultimately have my students create dance with variety movements related to subject matters in their curriculum.  My approach is to help them learn with kinesthetic intelligence.


Learning Objectives

Cognitive:  The objective is for my students to use their imagination and practice sequencing skills through studying and understanding plant growth cycle.

Affective:  That my students see "Dance can be connected in some way to everything in life because its elements are basic to all things that exist in time and space. (Joyce P.196).  Hopefully, they will come to understand that being human means you do not need to compartmentalize your brain nor your experiences.   In the process, I also hope that they will develop a joy in learning.

Social:  Cooperation in working within a small group.  How to give and take in decision making and understand that the group is as important as the individual.  I will group them by having them count off by  fives to form five groups. (i.e.5,10,15,20,25,5,10,1520,25,5………etc.)

Artistic Competencies: Dance elements I will be using are:  Body (parts & moves), space (shapes, level, direction, size, place, & pathway), and force (attack, weight, strength, & flow).  These elements are explained thoroughly in Joyce's book.


            While we are planting our plants, observing, measuring and describing, I will take about 30 minutes two to three times a week to teach the elements of dance.  Using the questioning and challenge method to do crossovers for variety as Joyce suggests in her book, First Steps in Teaching Creative Dance to Children.   For example, "I see a branch stretched at a low level, let me see a high level branch move in a different way.  Can you show me a branch move in a different way at a different level?"

            As the plants grow and change, I will ask them to use movement to show me the steps so far for their own plants.  At the end of the plant cycle, I will divide them into five groups and ask them to create a dance showing me the plant growth cycle in sequence.

            The only preparation I need physically is to push all the desks toward the walls for the movement sessions.  However, I need to write out the dance element sequences that I will be teaching so that I can keep the students engaged constantly.  I also plan to teach body parts, moves, space and force in that order.


1.      Students will be given a paper with pictures of plants growing in various stages, ordered randomly.   They are to cut the pictures and glue them down in the correct chronological order to demonstrate their understanding of the plant growth cycle.

2.      In their performance, I will observe their understanding of the different body movement elements, their application of those elements and their group cooperation as well as their enjoyment of the performance.

3.       Students are to write in a response journal, their observation of the process of movement.  For example, they can response to the following questions:  What did they enjoy most?  What was most successful for them?  How did they improve in their interaction with other members as the process continued?  What was easy and what was hard for them?  What made the successes happened in their small group and what was the most challenging?   Did they overcome the difficulties and if so, how?  If not, do they have any suggestions as to the solutions?  Which of the processes would they choose to do again in the future?

4.      Students will be given a checklist of cooperative learning skills, which includes participating, encouraging, listening, questioning, persuading, sharing, respecting, and helping, They will evaluate themselves for two stages of the process, in the beginning of group work and at the end of the presentation.   Evaluation scores are from 1 - 4, with 1 being the lowest and 4 being the highest.



Joyce, M. (1994). First steps in teaching creative dance to children. Mountain View,

CA: Mayfield Publishing Company.

Joyce believes that teaching the elements of dance is foundational for students in order for them to explore movement and creativity with their bodies to the fullest.  She gives very clear language for teachers to use when teaching these elements throughout her book.  Most useful are all

the short and precise lesson plans, which are given in a logical sequence, and can be implemented without much stress for the teacher.





















































Making an effort to increase student learning by integrating  movement will help children gain meaningful context to their lives.