Theme: All About Me

Dancing Shapes


Objective: Children will learn to use their bodies to explore creating straight, curved, twisted, and angular shapes with their bodies and to move through space.

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What You Will Need

  • Audio device – for playing music
  • Music – any movement music (see Lesson Tips for suggestions)
  • Large space – enough for children to move safely without touching each other

What To Do

Note: Prior to starting the lesson, mark the floor with two straight lines of tape. The lines should be long enough for half the class to line up and perform movement without touching the person next to them.

  1. Discuss with the children the important rules of dance lessons (see Lesson Tips).
  2. Remind the children of the concept of self-space (see Vocabulary).
  3. Lead the children in marking their self-space with a shape rhyme: Arms in front/Open wide/This is my self-space inside.
  4. Introduce the steps of the warm-up:
    1. Breathing – Take several deep breaths in and out slowly.
    2. Touch – Using gentle energy, tap/tickle your skin all over the body (arms, shoulders, belly, legs, etc.). Then, using stronger energy, squeeze all over your body to wake up your skin and senses.
    3. Get Moving – Do several movements that will get the blood flowing. Some examples might be jumping, running in place with high knees, swinging arms or kicking legs, and jumping with legs crossed and then open.
  5. Tell the children that they will be making shapes using their arms, legs, and bodies within their self-space (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  6. Introduce the following shapes, and have the children imitate your movement (see Vocabulary):
    1. Wall – stand strong with arms straight out to sides.
    2. Ball – curve head and arms around.
    3. Pretzel – twist arms and legs in front of you.
    4. Arrow – hinge one arm and point it and the other arm straight out in the same direction.
  7. Practice the shapes by calling out a shape and having the children make it several times.
  8. Once the children are familiar with the shapes, divide the class and line them up on each of the two lines.
  9. Each teacher (see Lesson Tips) takes turns leading a group of children in the following movements, moving toward the other group and back to their line:
    • Make a wall shape, and move it through space with a side slide.
    • Make a ball shape, and move it through space with a turn.
    • Make a twist shape, and move it through space with a hop.
    • Make an arrow shape, and move it through space with a gallop.
  10. Lead the children through a cool-down; this can include any type of slow, calming movement.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Explain self-space.
  • Describe how to make your body like a wall.
  • Describe making a ball shape with your body.
  • Tell me how a twist movement is similar to a pretzel.
  • Explain how the arrow movement is like a real arrow.

Explore, Extend and Integrate

  • Place wiki sticks, play dough, and pipe cleaners in the art center for children to use to create shapes during free-choice time.
  • Place shape sponges and plates of paint in the art center. Children can dip the shapes into paint and make shapes on paper.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children follow along making shapes with their bodies?
  • Could children perform the shape rhyme?
  • Could children follow movement directions from one line to the other and return?

Did You Know?

Creative movement is engaging, energizing, and fun! Teacher participation serves as a great example for children to understand how to move safely with energy and purpose. As children are enjoying the lesson, they are utilizing movement skills to enhance their learning. Movement concepts should be repeated throughout the day to reinforce concepts learned and to bridge the movement lesson through the rest of the day.

Learn More »


Vocabulary

  • self-space
  • straight
  • curve
  • twist
  • angular
  • hinge

Child-Friendly Definitions »


Content provided by:

Carolina Ballet logo
Visit the Carolina Ballet website


Common Core State
Standards Initiative

These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.**

Learn More »

Did You Know?

Creative movement is engaging, energizing, and fun! Teacher participation serves as a great example for children to understand how to move safely with energy and purpose. As children are enjoying the lesson, they are utilizing movement skills to enhance their learning. Movement concepts should be repeated throughout the day to reinforce concepts learned and to bridge the movement lesson through the rest of the day. 

Children are active learners and learn through play. Play is how children promote and enhance their development. As children are playing, they can use the same movement exercises and movement vocabulary. Movement vocabulary used throughout the day reinforces important concepts.

Vocabulary

  • self-space – the area of personal use immediately around a person’s body.
  • straight – without a curve or bend.
  • curve – a round, bent shape.
  • twist – to wind or weave something around something else.
  • angular – made up of more than one angle.
  • hinge – the point between two pieces of something that are connected that allows it to open or close.

Lesson Tips

- This lesson is best taught as a follow-up to the lesson, Partner Shapes, also found on this website.

- Important safety rules of dance lessons:

a. Listen to the teacher; wait to move, and stop movement when the teacher tells you.

b. Keep your body safe while moving.

c. Stay in your own self-space.

- Review the routine with assistant teachers so that they are familiar with the steps before beginning the activity.

- Musical selections can be found online. Search for Introduction and Royale March of the Lion by Camille Saint-Saëns (Warm-Up), Morning Fours by Eric Chappelle (Moving Shapes), Moon River by John Altman (Cool-Down), and Siwa by Samite (Explore, Extend, and Integrate).

Books

- The Shape of Me and Other Stuff: Dr. Seuss’s Surprising Word Book by Dr. Seuss

- Dance! by Bill T. Jones and Susan Kuklin

- Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban

- When a Line Bends . . . A Shape Begins by Rhonda Gowler Greene

Important Legal Disclosures and Information

*While we believe that the books and resources recommended may be of value to you, keep in mind that these are suggestions only and you must do your own due diligence to determine whether the materials are appropriate and suitable for your use. PNC has no sponsorship or endorsement agreement with the authors or publishers of the materials listed. 

**There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.