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Dancing Through Poetry

Estimated Time Frame:  3 class periods.

Grade:  6,7,8

Subjects:  Dance, Language Arts (English), Physical Education, Science

Introduction:  This lesson provides students with the opportunity to practice creating and performing a dance that translates concepts in their biopoem into movement

New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards

STANDARD 2.5 (Motor Skill Development) All students will utilize safe, efficient, and effective movement to develop and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.

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Movement Skills

    Demonstrate developmentally appropriate form when using movement skills in applied settings.

    Demonstrate the use of force and motion to impact the quality of physical movement.

    Employ the principles of space, effort, and relationships to modify movement. 

    Modify movement in response to dynamic, interactive environments. 

    Use visual and verbal cues to improve performance during a physical activity. 

    Evaluate the critical elements of a movement skill or skill combination and provide appropriate feedback.

    Apply a learned skill to another movement setting.

    Perform planned movement sequences based on a theme and using rhythm or music

STANDARD 2.6 (Fitness) All students will apply health-related and skill-related fitness concepts and skills to develop and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.

Achieving and Assessing Fitness

    Engage in moderate to vigorous forms of physical activity that address each component of fitness.

STANDARD 1.2 (Creation and Performance) All students will utilize those skills, media, methods, and technologies appropriate to each art form in the creation, performance, and presentation of dance, music, theater, and visual art.


          Perform planned and improvised sequences demonstrating aspects of time, space/shape, and energy accurately transferring a rhythmic pattern from the auditory to the kinesthetic.

          Choreograph and perform dances that communicate meaning on a variety of themes, demonstrating the ability to work in small groups in the choreographic process.

          Develop dance technique that uses strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination appropriate to age and physical development.

          Accurately identify and demonstrate basic sequences of movement from at least two different styles or traditions, demonstrating awareness of movement principles in dance (e.g., alignment, balance, initiation of movement, directing of focus).

STANDARD 3.3 (Speaking) All students will speak in clear, concise, organized language that varies in content and form for different audiences and purposes.

Oral Presentation

          Read aloud with fluency

          Use clear, precise, organized language that reflects the conventions of spoken English

          Prepare, rehearse, and deliver a formal presentation in logical or sequential order including opening, supportive details, and a closing statement

          Develop and deliver a formal presentation based on a central theme, including logical sequence, introduction, main ideas, supporting details, and concluding remarks to an audience of peers, younger students, and/or parents

Multiple Intelligences: Musical Learner Bodily/Kinesthetic Learner

Materials and Resources

CD players (students may want to bring in their own CD players or Ipod + speakers from home).

Rubric for evaluation of dance

Performance/Behavioral Objectives


SWBAT express themselves through dance from interpreting poetry

bulletSWBAT work in small groups while expanding their knowledge of dance.

Anticipatory Set:

As you all know you have been working on poems in science class. Now you will take the poems you created and put them into a dance. You will be in groups of 3-5 (teacher should use his / her own discretion here) and collaborate to create a dance using each of your individual poems (treat each student's poem as a " verse").

Sequence Instruction

1. Teacher will remind students that they will be creating a poetry dance.

2. The students can use any form of dance in order to show their creativity

3. The students will be using the biopoems they constructed in a prior science class on Phragmites  (the science teacher should have informed students their biopoems would be used in this way).

4. Students will work in small groups.

5. If desired, students can use teacher-approved music in order to accompany their poem and dance (but remind students that they must get a signature in writing agreeing to the specific piece of music used).

6. The first class should be used to allow students to brainstorm ideas and start roughing out their dance. The second class will be used to finalize the desired dance moves and narration and to practice the performance, and the third should be used for presentations of the dance and poems themselves.

Accommodation and Modification:

If desired / necessary students with physical disabilities may choose not to participate in the dance portion; instead those students can act as choreographers, music directors, and / or poem narrators  for others in the group.

Closure: "Keep up the good work and creativity".

Homework: Please continue to think of ideas to incorporate in your group dance and practice your part in the performance.

TEACHER FEEDBACK REQUEST:  We are always to working to improve these lesson plans. If you use this lesson plan, we'd love to hear from you with your thoughts, comments and suggestions for future improvements.  Please take the time to fill in our survey at .  Thanks!

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2009.  Allison McGrath (Author), Louise Wootton and Claire Gallagher (Editors)

 Although the information in this document has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement NE97262206  to Georgian Court   University, it has not gone through the Agency's publications review process and, therefore, may not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred.

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