Heather Williams
Grade Level: First Grade
Time Frame: 30 minutes


TOPIC: Dance lesson which incorporates visualization and imagination to create individual expressive dance movements the focus on the words and movement found during the season of autumn.

RATIONALE: Dance gives children an opportunity to express creativity through free flowing movements developed in the mind of the child. Creating these dance movements involves discovery and exploration using different parts of the body in personal and general space. The ability to express emotions is brought about through the use of dance and is an important element to adopt and use in all human lives.

Creative Expression:
Each student will express the words of Autumn through creative dance movements.

Aesthetic Valuing: Each student will respond spontaneously in movement to imagery and feelings.

STRATEGY: Guided discovery

As students enter the classroom (either after recess, after lunch, or at the beginning of the day), have lights at low level if not completely turned off. Allow students to find a comfortable spot on the classroom floor to lie down on his/her back. Ask all students to close their eyes. Lead the students in a visualization exercise, making sure to leave moments of silence between each segment of the passage:

"Imagine that you are in a large park where the leaves of many colors cover the ground.....Breath deeply...It smells good, it smells of Autumn....You feel like collecting the leaves in an enormous pile, just for fun....try to imagine yourself, pretending that your legs are like rakes...How would you do it?...And then you use your arms and your hands...You run, and then you jump into the pile of leaves....You hide in them...you throw the leaves high into the air...You roll in the leaves...Tired, you decide to rest by lying on your back and looking up into the sky....You breathe deeply...And then gently you tell your body to wake up first by moving your feet...then your hands...then you turn your head from side to side...and then you stretch."

--Imagine and Me, pg. 73

Advise the students to experiment with the creative movements they have just imagined.Repeat the key phrases of the passage one by one (shown below). Encourage students to discover different ways of symbolizing these key phrases through creative movements (support all possible movements students may suggest for each key phrase):

-To gather the leaves with the legs.
-To gather the leaves with the arms and the hands.
-To run and jump into the pile of leaves.
-To throw the leaves up into the air.
-To roll from side to side.
-To lie down quietly.

CLOSURE: Once the students have created their individual dance movements for each visualization cue, say the passage one last time aloud for students to practice their expressive movements to word cues. After dance sequence in completed, suggest that you are going to say the Autumn word cues out of order and challenge the students to remember their creative movements based on listening skills. Lastly, allow the students to demonstrate their creatively expressed dance movements in front on their peers.

EVALUATION: Evaluation will occur during the entire lesson. The teacher should observe if each student is relaxed during the visualization segment of the lesson. Next, the teacher should observe if each student creates personal movements or if the student is tempted to find assistance from other peers in the classroom. This evaluation can be used to predict whether or not the students are comfortable with being individually creative. It also tells the teacher how comfortable each students is with the expression of his or her own body movements.

A comfortable, spacious, cool, low lit classroom
Autumn passage

CLEAN-UP: If needed, students will be assigned to put desks back into original place. One student will be assigned to turn the lights back on.

This imagery activity can be extended, if time allows, to a watercolor painting activity. After completing their expressive movements, each student can use the same imagery to create watercolor paintings which express how they are feeling.

This activity can also be used with any other season (Spring, Summer, Winter).

Imagine and Me: Teacher's Guide, Volume 1: Art Image Publications, 1992.