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The Arts In Every Classroom: A Video Library K-5

Teaching Dance Activities and Discussion

Second-graders at P.S. 156 in Brooklyn, New York, learn a West African dance called “Sunu.”

Suggested Activities and Discussion

Consider these questions for reflection:

  • In your school, how can dance be incorporated into studies of other subjects, such as social studies, math, and science?
  • How might you incorporate the natural movements that children do every day into classroom learning?
  • How could you collaborate with your school’s dance or physical education department to integrate dance into your classes?

Improving Practice

Here are some additional ways you can build on the ideas in this program in a variety of school and community settings:

Professional Development for Teachers

  • Consider the practical aspects of incorporating dance-based lessons in your class. How would you plan the material? What resources would you use?
  • Think of ways that dance and movement could make your teaching more effective; for example, to bridge language barriers or developmental gaps.
  • Consider how dance and movement impact learning and behavior in your students’ daily lives. For example, children are able to master complex movement patterns in sports. Can the same skills be extended to classroom learning?
  • Visit a performance of a local dance troupe or attend a session of a tap, ballet, or other dance class. Reflect on how the experience affected you. Would you like to try it again?

Curriculum-Planning Sessions

  • Include a dance specialist teacher in your planning session. Invite the specialist to help develop a themed unit that includes dance.
  • Invite a dancer or choreographer to a session. Together, identify places where dance and movement would make the curriculum stronger.
  • Explore educational outreach opportunities offered by a local performing dance group or dance studio. Do they provide special programs to schools or have resident artists who may offer a residency in your school?

Community Outreach

  • Invite a dance specialist teacher to comment on the work in this program and identify opportunities to teach dance in your school.
  • Invite a representative of a dance organization that provides outreach programs to explain how dance and movement can enhance learning at your school.
  • Invite community members to attend a performance by students.
  • Present reflections by students on how working with dance has enhanced their readiness to learn or their academic achievement.