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Monday Morning Ready04.14.2017
Jumpstart Your Week!

You don't have to follow the world of professional dance to know Misty Copeland. These days, the prima ballerina is becoming a household name. And it's not just because she dispelled any myths regarding the athleticism of dance in her viral commercial for Under Armour.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Do you like to dance? Why or why not?

Grade 5-6

Do you consider ballet to be artistic, athletic or both? Explain your answer.

Grade 7-8

Misty Copeland overcame big obstacles to become a prima ballerina. What is something you'd really like to do? What obstacles stand in your way? How do you plan to overcome those obstacles?

Grade 9-10

According to the article, "Ballet Across America" is a program highlighting diversity and innovation in ballet. If you were creating a program like this, what type of dance would you feature? What would you include to ensure that the program was diverse and innovative?

LESSON PLAN
Explore Dance!

PROCESS:

  1. Divide the class into small groups. Have each group select a traditional dance style. Instruct them to find a video showing people performing that dance. As they watch the video, challenge students to identify elements of the dance, other than the steps, that are important. 
  2. Instruct groups to conduct research to learn more about the dance. What culture does the dance come from? Why is the dance important to that culture? Does it tell a story? If so, what is the story about? Has the dance changed over time? If so, how and why?
  3. Have groups create a poster or record a video to share what they learned. Encourage them to share a video or perform the dance live for the class as part of their presentation.

ASSESSMENT: 

As groups make their presentations, encourage classmates to look for similarities between dances from different cultures. Challenge them to identify specific elements that are the same. Discuss reasons why these similarities might exist.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:  

Grades 3-4:
Prior to conducting this activity, identify several traditional styles of dance from different countries. Divide the class into small groups. Assign each group a traditional dance. Circulate among groups and provide suggestions as they conduct research. Then have groups create posters that tell about important elements of their assigned dances. Have each group share its poster and a video of the dance with the class. If necessary, point out similarities as students learn about the different types of traditional dance.

Grades 5-6:
As a class, conduct research to identify several traditional styles of dance. Be sure to include dances from different countries. Then divide the class into small groups. Assign each group a traditional dance. Instruct groups to create a poster that shows where the dance is performed, explains the significance of the dance to a particular culture and displays pictures of costumes and props used during the dance. Have each group share its poster and a video of the dance with the class. Challenge them to identify key similarities between dances from different cultures. 

Grades 7-8: 
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select a type of traditional dance. Review selections to ensure that there are no repeats and that the dances chosen come from a variety of different cultures. Instruct groups to conduct research to learn more about the dance, including how to perform the steps. Have groups create an informational video about their dance. Give them the option of including group members performing the dance in the video or having them perform live for the class. After all presentations are complete, challenge students to identify common themes found in dance around the world. 

Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select a type of traditional dance. Review selections to ensure that there are no repeats and that the dances chosen come from a variety of different cultures. Instruct groups to conduct research to learn about the history of their dance and the role it plays in a particular culture. Tell them to also learn how to perform the steps. Have groups create an informational video about their dance. As part of the video, have them include a tutorial in which group members teach others how to perform the dance or have them give live lessons to the class. After all presentations are complete, challenge students to identify stereotypes associated with particular types of dance. Discuss reasons why the stereotypes exist and why they may or may not be an accurate reflection of the dance or the culture it represents.

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Dance and Festivity
Invite students to enjoy highlights of music for dance and festive events around the world as they listen to the tunes on this Smithsonian Folkways recording.

The Meaning Behind Hula
For Hawaiians, both native and those who have made it their adopted home, the Hula is more than just a dance. It is an artistic representation of the islands themselves. Watch this Smithsonian.com video to learn more about the dance and its deep connection to the islands.

Irish Music: Experiences in Dance, Singing and Instrument Playing
Use this Smithsonian Folkways lesson to help elementary students explore the world of Irish culture through playing, singing and dancing. Students will learn to differentiate styles of Irish music and start discussing the cultural context of song and dance.

Israeli Song and Dance for Middle or High School Ensembles
Use this Smithsonian Folkways lesson to introduce students to Jewish folk music. Students will sing, play and dance a traditional arrangement of “Al Tiruni” and participate in guided discussions of Jewish history and cultural heritage.

Circle of Dance
Music and dance have always been essential to the spiritual, cultural and social lives of Native people. View this exhibit from the National Museum of the American Indian to learn how 10 social and ceremonial dances from throughout the Americas remain a vital part of contemporary community life.
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