Folk Dancing

Lesson Plan:

Statement of understanding:

Songs, especially dance songs, must have a steady beat: a constant pulse that is held through the entire song.  Folk music is taken from different countries, and dances can be adapted from where the songs are from to match the style of the culture.  It is natural to want to find the steady beat of a song when trying to dance to it, and in this lesson students will be taught how to find the steady beat and dance to a folk song using simple locomotor and non-locomotor movements.

”I can” statements:

  • …move with the beat of the music
  • …find the steady beat
  • …dance with a group
  • …memorize a dance
  • …dance in place and moving around



  1. Pat legs and get the beat going
  2. “Watch me” – Model whole with music (students watch / tap steady beat)
    1. In-In-In-Touch-Out-Out-Out-Touch
    2. Turn (left shoulder)-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Stop
    3. In-In-In-Touch-Out-Out-Out-Touch
    4. Jump-Jump-Clap-Clap-Jump-Jump-Clap-Clap
  3. “Now echo me” Say (teacher says moves, students echo)
    1. In-In-In-Touch-Out-Out-Out-Touch
  4. “Say it while I do it” Say and watch (teacher says and models, students say)
    1. In-In-In-Touch-Out-Out-Out-Touch
  5. “Let’s all do it” Say and move (teacher says and models, students say and move)
    1. In-In-In-Touch-Out-Out-Out-Touch
  6. “Echo me again” Say (teacher says moves, students echo)
    1. Turn (left shoulder)-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Stop
  7. “Say it while I do it” Say and watch (teacher says and models, students say)
    1. Turn (left shoulder)-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Stop
  8. “Let’s all do it” Say and move (teacher says and models, students say and move)
    1. Turn (left shoulder)-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Stop
  9. “Now we’re going to put those together”
    1. Teacher says and models, students say and move
    2. In-In-In-Touch-Out-Out-Out-Touch
    3. Turn (left shoulder)-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Stop
  10. “Now let’s do that again and  repeat the first part after the turn”
    1. Teacher says and models, students say and move
    2. In-In-In-Touch-Out-Out-Out-Touch
    3. Turn (left shoulder)-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Turn-Stop
    4. In-In-In-Touch-Out-Out-Out-Touch
  11. “Now echo me” Say (teacher says moves, students echo)
    1. Jump-Jump-Clap-Clap-Jump-Jump-Clap-Clap
  12. “Say it while I do it” Say and watch (teacher says and models, students say)
    1. Jump-Jump-Clap-Clap-Jump-Jump-Clap-Clap
  13. “Let’s all do it” Say and move (teacher says and models, students say and move)
    1. Jump-Jump-Clap-Clap-Jump-Jump-Clap-Clap
  14. “Now let’s add that to the first 3 parts”
    1. Teacher says and models, students say and move
    2. Entire dance 1x
  15. “Now let’s do it and whisper”
    1. Entire dance 1x
  16. “Now we’re going to be silent”
    1. Entire dance 1x
  17. Listen to the music and find the beat: pat leg to start
  18. “Now let’s do it 3x silently and without stopping”
    1. No more leg patting

Assessment statement:

I will be looking at students individually and as a group to make sure that they are copying the dance movements, and are staying with the beat and are successful in completing the dance.

Personal Evaluation:

Musicianship (4 points):

The tempo for the song was good for the actual dance, but I let the tempo that we started off with get too fast.  It was not too fast for the dance, but I would have liked it to be slower.  Next time I will try to monitor that more.  The dance that I came up matched the music and I started with the phrase, but I think that I could have added a bit more to the stepping because it was not very fast and it would have been more interesting.

Leadership (5 points):

I feel like I did a good job communicating with everyone, and was loud enough and engaging for most of it and I felt confident in what I was doing.  Everyone seemed to be able to follow what I was doing, and I was able to help when needed.

Preparation (5 points):

I was confident in my plan, I had it memorized and I didn’t have a problem executing it.  I had everything ready to go, even with the little mix up with getting the music started.  I think that my plan was good and easy to follow.

Facilitating the Experience (9 points):

I think that I had a good attitude about starting and stayed on task the whole time, and I didn’t really lose focus.  I knew my plan and what I was doing at each step and kept going, and as I saw that everyone was able to follow me I adjusted the pace to the pace that they were learning.  I tried to use basic instructions so that there wasn’t a lot of unnecessary talking, and I was mostly successful.  I did notice that there was a time where I was confusing myself, but I just went through it.  I didn’t need to adjust that much, but I wish that I could have given some more feedback instead of just focusing on getting through my plan.

Total: 23 points

Personal Reflection:

The learners are watching me, waiting for my next instruction, but they don’t always look like they are enjoying the activity.  I think this is a mix of them concentrating on what’s going on, but also that my teaching from the beginning is not very musical.  Looking back I wish that I had done more with the music playing in the back to liven things up a bit.  I didn’t really give any feedback other than “that was good” because I didn’t see where anyone was struggling with the steps.  I didn’t adjust to them with the learning of the steps because I was just trying to get through my plan and not change the way that I had already started teaching the steps.  This was also because I thought it was good to have them know how each step was going to be taught so they could stay engaged and not get confused.  I thought that we would do a better job keeping time, but things got a little too fast and I did not correct them.  I think that I should have started the lesson with “let’s keep a steady beat” or something like that to make them aware of the tempo.  I think that my instructions were easy to follow, but my movements could have been more engaging because there was no music.  I think that if we had more time to be familiar with the language assisted motion that we were trying to work with I could have been more comfortable with the plan and making the necessary adjustments.  This is something that I want to work on, to be more flexible and not always stick to the script.  The dance was successful, but the tempo mix-up kind of messed everyone up a little bit.  I think that it would be beneficial for us to have more of these kinds of activities, perhaps more informal teaching, just to try it out and see how flexible we can be and get used to thinking about adjustments “on the fly” when things don’t go exactly as we are wanting them to.  I am not used to teaching without a script, or a given template, so it would be nice to have some more experience with teaching, anything really just to get rid of nerves and to not be so serious all of the time.

Goals for next time:

1. Be more flexible with directions/plan in general.  If they don’t need the extra steps, be comfortable with adjusting to the needs of the group rather than sticking to the plan.

2. Be more musical right from the beginning, generate interest right away and keep that up.  Don’t be afraid to go all-in with an activity.


Teaching for Music Understanding Reflection

The biggest take-away for me from the Wiggins reading was that it is easier to learn things in a whole-part-whole manner and that the experience has to be meaningful.  It is much easier for a student to participate in a musical activity and learn from that than to start with what’s on a page and have to translate that into something that is supposed to feel natural.  Teachers need to be doing things with their students rather than telling them or doing things for them.  In class we do a lot of activities that involve the students, and we are constantly being a part of discussion and actually doing things and thinking about what we are doing.  We don’t start with an explanation of what we are going to be doing, we participate in an activity and after we discuss it as a class, where everyone is encouraged to share what they took away from the experience.  In this chapter, Wiggins states that “the role of the teacher in this process is to establish a productive environment in which individuals can thrive and flourish and figure things out for themselves” while still having an active role.  Teachers can give guiding questions about figuring out a problem rather than simply give the solutions.  They start where the students are at and give them the tools and aid that they need to get to the next level.

In building a learning community students and teachers are learning from and listening to each other, and sometimes students will help “translate” what the teacher is saying to other students, and this helps when students need things put into a different context so that they can make connections to it.  Students will learn in an environment where they are actively engaged, and when it means something to them.  Building on past and personal experiences is more natural than anything, and students can be taught how to learn by having a role in the classroom.  After participating in activities that are structured in similar ways in class, it becomes natural to learn something else because there is that previous experience.  Sometimes the teacher needs to think about getting themselves out of the way and think about themselves more as a helper on their students’ musical journeys because not everyone starts in the same place or will take the same route.  Instruction can come from feedback and assessing, and communication instead of a lecture.


  1. How can we take our own learning experiences and apply it to these theories?  The chapter started out with saying that we tend to teach the way that we were taught, and if this is the most natural response to teaching, how to we take what we know how to do and take it to the next step?
  2. What is the end goal for general music classes? I know that there are different activities for each grade level, but how can you really make your music class something that hopefully all students enjoy and take to other parts of their lives?


Coordinated Movement to Music

Lesson Plan: 16 Jan 2018

Understanding:  Every song must have a steady beat, a pulse that is unchanging and is held throughout the entire song.  There are also a lot of skills outside of music that require, or at least benefit from, keeping a steady beat.  Learning how to recognize and follow a steady beat is helpful with learning other skills that require some sort of rhythm and it is a natural thing to want to learn with different parts of the body.  In this lesson students will learn how to recognize and follow the steady beat through a series of movements with their arms that follow the pulse of a song.  

“I can” statement:  

  • “I can find the steady beat in the song”


  • Chairs
  • Caribbean Soca In D mp3


  1. Get class in position so they can all see the teacher, “Get ready to copy what I am doing” and start music.
  2. Wait 8 counts for intro to get everyone paying attention and ready for moving.
  3. Cue in with 8 counts of patting on lap with both hands, then fist pumps, tap shoulders, tap head
    1. All movements with both hands and 8 counts each
  4. Patting lap for 8 counts to reset
  5. Cue in with 8 counts of patting on lap with alternating hands, then fist pumps, tap shoulders, tap head
    1. All movements with alternating hands and 8 counts each
  6. Patting lap for 8 counts to reset
  7. Cue in patting lap then fist pump (2 movements) with both hands for 8 counts
  8. Cue in patting lap then tap shoulders (2 movements) with both hands for 8 counts
  9. Cue in patting shoulders then tap head (2 movements) with both hands for 8 counts
  10. Patting lap for 8 counts to reset
  11. Cue in patting lap then fist pump (2 movements) with alternating hands for 8 counts
  12. Cue in patting lap then tap shoulders (2 movements) with alternating hands for 8 counts
  13. Cue in patting shoulder then tap head (2 movements) with alternating hands for 8 counts
  14. Patting lap for 8 counts to reset
  15. Cue in tapping lap, shoulders, fist pump, head (4 movements) with both hands until everyone is doing it
  16. Finish with patting lap (both hands) fist pump, patting lap
    1. All movements with both hands and 8 counts each

Assessment: Throughout the activity I will be looking at the students and watching for them, making sure they are keeping the steady beat and following directions.  I will know that they are understanding the activity when they are watching me for the movement changes and are keeping their movements in time.

Personal Evaluation:

Musicianship (5 points) ____5_____

I stayed in tempo the entire time, and kept my rhythms consistent and movement changes were with the musical phrases.  The motions that I chose were simple enough to follow and followed the style of the piece.


Leadership (5 points) _____4______

I felt comfortable leading because I knew the sequence, but my face did not project the energy that I wanted.  I was able to maintain contact with everyone and make sure that they were staying with me, but I started to get too focused and my face started to rest too much at times.  I was able to start and end with the positive energy.


Preparation (5 points) _____5_____

I knew the piece I was working with, memorized my sequence, and all of my materials and my plan were prepared ahead of time.  I did have a moment where I was looking around too much at everyone that I forgot to change my motions (the phrase was 16 counts instead of 8) but I recovered and everyone kept going.


Facilitating the Music and Learning Experience (10 points) _____10_____

I made sure that I had everyone’s attention, and made sure that they were watching me the entire time, and at the beginning I was clear on what I was expecting them to do.  I planned my lesson to set everyone up for success, I kept the movements simple and in the same order to allow them to get back on track if they got lost somewhere.  I kept everything going, even when I made a mistake, and was always looking at the students to make sure they were on track.

Total ____24____


Overall I feel that my lesson was executed successfully, and I had fun planning and teaching it.  When I was planning it I would run everything by one of my younger brothers (9 yrs old) and he had a lot of fun doing it with me before I brought it to class.  Everyone responded well and liked the movements that I chose, especially the “fist pumps” that resembled playing the cowbell in the song.  The song had a clear groove and I think that is what kept up the energy when I was not expressing it with my face or my motions.  I would like to improve my personality, and I think that this is something that will happen as I get used to leading these types of group activities over the semester and in my internship.  I would like to explore this type of activity more, and get the chance to become more comfortable with it so it feels more natural.  I felt comfortable enough leading it because I knew my plan, and everyone was very receptive and was willing to participate.  I found myself wondering if speaking or singing parts could be added to this activity, or if the sole focus of it would be only movement, and in what context I would use an activity like this.  I think that doing things like this would help me get out of my comfort zone of sticking to a strict plan and coming up with fun things to do that make me get out of my serious personality.

Goals for next lesson:

  1. Keep up the energy and be able to project it with my face
  2. Step out of my comfort zone and do something a little more creative

‘The Horace Mann Schoolyard’ and ‘Derek’

1. What do these children know about music? What can they do?

All these children know about music is what they have access to on a daily basis, what they create and what they observe in the world around them.  They have a lot of games and activities that include “singsong taunts, calls and cries with definitive pitches and a wide variety of rhythms conveyed through clapping, patting, stepping, and tapping” (pg. 23) that they probably do not even think of as creating music.  The songs that they sing are usually following their natural speaking voice, and can even have a range up to an octave, something that they don’t even think about.

2. How did they learn what they know, or how are they learning?

They are learning directly from each other how to interact on the playground, with set games and songs that they participate in and teach each other.  They also take songs that they know and modify them to fit their particular game/activity and range.  In the case of Derek, all he knew was the music that he used for dancing.  He has a natural internal rhythm and learning ability that allowed him to learn through watching how to use his body to produce complex dance movements.  His dancing was more individual and used for show, compared to the simple group songs and dances that the children on the Horace Mann schoolyard.

3. What surprised you, if anything, about these children? What did you learn from them, or what reactions or responses did you have as you read?

When reading about the schoolyard children I was surprised by the amount of activities that they had organized.  Each little group of students had some sort of song, movement, or chant that complimented their activities, and I was impressed at the amount of organization that went into these activities.  I think that the students don’t think much of the organization that they have, they just do.  That is something that they just adopt as a part of their lives.

4. What are the implications for your career in teaching and music, based on what you’ve read?

From this I think that I can take away that music doesn’t have to be strictly notes on a page, it can be fun and enjoyable, and you don’t even need to tell students that you are teaching them music, just a fun game or activity.  These kinds of things are accessible to them both in and out of a music classroom.  I think that this is something that I can take with me, no matter what kind of class I end up teaching, that music can come in a lot of forms and that students should have the ability to create something for themselves.  It also encourages me to look around me more for what kind of music people participate in and create with what they have, and how I can take what they already know and build on that in my classroom.  I think that from reading the stories of these students I can think more about how I can get the music that they learn in class to be able to apply to their personal lives.



  1. What kind of music making would you suggest for loner children?  Some kids might have trouble joining in with groups and might not have the confidence like Derek to show off any skills they may have.
  2. How do you think the area and socioeconomic groups that children live in affect their ability and willingness to participate in music making?  Some students seem more willing than others to join in on activities like the ones from the Horace Mann story, and I am curious as to what makes them feel like that.