Mark Gustafson
EDTE 229B-Arts Methods


The Chicken Dance

Grade Level: 3rd Grade

Approximate Time: 15-30 minutes

Topic: Introduction of a modern folk dance that emphasizes the coordination of both fine and gross motor skills within the melodic structure of the song.


Artistic Perception – The students will identify and perform the five main dance movements of the "Chicken Dance" to accordion music.

Historical & Cultural Context – The students will be able to identify the main parts of an accordion and discuss the different types of music where it can be heard.

Strategy: A combination of direct instruction and inquiry will be utilized.


Dance – movement to music

Accordion – a musical instrument that produces sound by compressing air into reeds

Melody – a series of notes that form a theme

Folk Music – traditional music that celebrates an event

Rhythm – music performed in time


Introduction – The teacher will assess the students’ knowledge of folk music by posing open-ended questions. Who can describe folk music? Can anyone give an example of a folk song? Where can one find folk music? This will lead to a discussion on the various types of instruments used in folk music. The teacher will then give an example of a traditional song and explain why the accordion and other acoustic instruments are played (can be performed solo and without amplification) primarily with this music.

Guided Instruction – Following the introduction, the teacher will then give students an opportunity to experience together a modern folk dance. The teacher will then gather the students in a circle and group them in pairs. The following movements will be modeled by the teacher:

1. "The chicken cluck" – This is the first movement in the song and requires the students to hold their elbows to their sides and open and close their hands, imitating a chicken’s beak.

2. "Flapping the wings" – The second movement is imitating a chicken flapping its wings. Students are to place their hands under their corresponding armpits and flap their arms.

3. "Shaking the tail feathers" – Much like the twist dance, the students are to twist and turn their posterior while crouching down into a low position.

4. "The clap" – The students will clap their hands four times at the appropriate melody line.

5. "Grab a partner" – During the bridge (middle) of the song, the students will lock opposing arms with their partners and dance in a circular motion. At the midpoint of the bridge, the students will change direction until the verse begins again. The song will repeat from the beginning, and steps one through four will be repeated.

Closure: After performing the "Chicken Dance", the teacher will regroup the students and ask for their opinion of the dance. Were they able to follow the transitions easily? At what type of gathering or event would the "Chicken Dance" be appropriate? The discussion might lead to comments regarding the accordion or other ethnic folk dances that are familiar. Could they identify the different sounds of the accordion? Was the dance fun? And finally, the teacher should ask the students whether they should perform the dance to the second grade class.

Evaluation: This would occur during the students’ performance in class. The teacher should look for student participation in following the basic structure of the dance. Exposure, not mastery, is the goal of the lesson. The teacher should also consider the students’ comments regarding the dance and any related questions or insights that may arise from the lesson.

Materials: A cassette tape recording of the "Chicken Dance", a tape player and a large class area for dancing.

Clean-up: Have the students return desks, chairs and other obstacles to their places.

Extensions: The lesson can be adapted to any grade level, and older students could compete with each other to see who could perform the dance with no mistakes, or which pair could do the dance the fastest. Students could also perform the dance at a school assembly.