Technology Level: Class based.
Audience: Ages 4-8 (Grades 7-8)
Duration: 1 hour
Students will respond to visual stimuli of pets expressing different emotions. They will explore the ways in which these animals express emotions with their bodies and then work in groups to develop a sequence of feeling movements for a cat or a dog. By reflecting on the fact that animals have feelings too, it is hoped that students will begin to develop kindness and empathy.
While it is understood that students in grades two and three are typically achieving level two outcomes in other subject areas, many have not yet been exposed to the dance syllabus. This lesson, therefore, explores level one core content as outlined below (definitions from the glossary on The Arts: Years 1 to 10 Curriculum Materials CD-ROM):
|Space- Where we move and the shape of the movement||
|Time- How long it takes to complete a movement or movement phrase||
|Energy- Potential for force and the capacity for action||
|Form- Shape a group of movements to communicate an idea or feeling||
- A clear space at the back of the classroom
- Lesson Plan
- Pictures of cats and dogs
|1. Introduction (10 mins)|
|1.1 Cats and Dogs(10 mins)||
1.1 Today we are going to be talking about cats and dogs.
I am going to show you some pictures of cats and dogs and I would like you to tell me how you think the animals are feeling in each of the pictures. View the pictures provided and record the students’ responses under five headings:
Read back over the list and add any other emotions that the students can identify and describe in their own cats and dogs.
|2. Body(30 mins)|
|2.1 Warm-up and Exploration(10 mins)||
2.1 The students participate in a warm-up exploring the feelings and movements discussed in the above activity.
Begin with simple stretching and bending as well as small, gentle movements, and then progress to higher energy locomotor and non-locomotor movements.
Discuss with the students their favourite ways of moving and identify the movements that they thought were the most effective both visually and in terms of conveying emotion.
|2.2 Choreographing(10 mins)||
2.2 Divide students into small groups of four or five and ask each group to decide whether or not they are going to focus on a cat or a dog for their movement sequence. Using the pictures and the lists created above, the groups must then select three feelings for their pet, ensuring they choose feelings that will use a range of movements i.e. locomotor and non-locomotor, at more than one level, slow and fast.
The groups begin their task by creating three freezeframes with their bodies to show the feelings that they have chosen.
Freezeframes – Students create a frozen picture with their bodies as if the pause button had been pressed at a particular moment during the story. Freezeframes are also called tableaux, still images or frozen pictures.
Drawing on the explorations made during the previous warm-up activity, the groups then make each freezeframe into a movement. Students need to make certain that they continue to use the levels, speeds and types of movement specified on the above lists.
Each group decides on the order in which their movements will be performed and how many times they will repeat each movement. They then practise their sequences, ensuring that they are also using facial expression to convey meaning.
|2.3 Performing(5 mins)||2.3 The groups perform their movement sequences for the rest of the class.|
|3. Conclusion (10 mins)|
|3.1 Appreciating(10 mins)||
3.1 The students participate in a cool-down reflecting on their personal responses to the movement sequences:
Ask the students to sit up slowly in their places and then reflect on the content of the lesson. Suggested key questions:
|Key Learning area||Curriculum link|
4.1 Students use improvisation to create new movement for a specific purpose.
4.2 Students perform movement sequences with improvised sections.
Developing Concepts and Skills for Physical Activity
Enhancing Personal Development
Suggested Extension Activities
- Practise the movement sequences and perform them for another class. A number of the sequences could even be joined together to make a longer dance about feelings.
- Write captions for each of the animal pictures provided, explaining how the animal is feeling and suggesting why the animal might be feeling that way.
- Use the captions as starting points for a whole-class story or individual stories about cats and dogs.
- Create a poster comparing the ways in which animals and people show their feelings: use the animal pictures provided as a starting point and then either draw pictures of people showing similar emotions or take photographs of the students showing the different emotions with their faces and bodies.
Suggested Homework Activities
- Ask students to draw a picture of their favourite feeling movement or shape.
Suggestions for Adapting this Lesson for Lower or Higher Year Levels
This lesson could be adapted for lower year levels by running the group task as a wholeclass activity and by cutting down on the number of dance components being considered.
Higher year levels could be extended by exploring the components of dance in greater depth and at a higher level. The group movement sequences could incorporate more than three feelings, and a sequence could be created in binary (AB) or ternary (ABA) form to compare the ways in which animals and people show their feelings. Refer to The Arts: Years 1 to 10 Syllabus and The Arts: Years 1 to 10 Sourcebook Guidelines for more detail.
- Queensland School Curriculum Council (2002) Creeping Creatures, Brisbane: The State of Queensland.
- Queensland School Curriculum Council (2002) Movement of Life, Brisbane: The State of Queensland.