September 10, 1999
Sandra Pessner

Grades:1st and 2nd
Time frame: Approximately 45 minutes

Expression of Emotions-Dance

TOPIC: Creative Dance lesson featuring a group dance that is performed informally in the classroom by individual students expressing their inner thoughts about their feelings using different colored scarves as props.

RATIONALE: Creative dance and movement are an integral part of every society. In a school setting, it fosters the use of expressive methods for the students to convey their emotions through this medium. This process will provide the opportunity for students to accept their own creative potential and be open to their own original expressions. Appreciation and application of this process of expressing their feelings through dance will last throughout the students’ lives.

GOALS: See below.

OBJECTIVE FOR CREATIVE EXPRESSION: The students will dance to the song by Kids in Motion called "Show Me What You Feel" and create their own individual style of creative expression at the given cues for the specific emotions using a colored scarf and body movements.

OBJECTIVES FOR ARTISTIC PERCEPTION: The students will respond spontaneously to the cues in the song to express their inner feelings through movement exploration.

The students will demonstrate their knowledge of choreographic principles and processes to express perceptions, feelings, images, and thoughts through creative dance by exhibiting body movements during the ‘feelings cues" part of the song.

OBJECTIVES FOR AESTHETIC VALUING: The students will reflect on their creative movement experience by answering three questions at the end of their dance as a verbal quiz.

The students will review color and core related vocabulary words by means of a verbal quiz. They will identify new vocabulary words relating to dance in a discussion by the teacher. The students will write emotion words in their journals correctly and neatly. Then they will answer verbal questions about these words before and after the creative movement part of the lesson.

The students will write three frame sentences in their journals and fill in the blanks with words that make sense neatly and individually.

STRATEGY: A combination of direct instruction, guided discovery, and inquiry will be used.

VOCABULARY: The core vocabulary words that the 1st and 2nd graders will focus on are: emotions, angry, happy, tired, sad, excited, surprised, shy, mad, strong, afraid, hungry, silly, and love. Other vocabulary words that the teacher may verbally mention are: creative movement, creative dance, movement exploration, elements of dance of time, force, and space, personal or self space, and general space.


Mad---angry, irritated, excited by real or make believe injury

Happy---to feel joy, to feel good

Sad---to feel a loss, something hasn’t gone the way you thought it would

Tired---a feeling of being exhausted, unable to do things, not much sleep lately

Excited---to feel large amounts of happiness all at once

Shy---not wanting to participate, rather be alone or with close friends

Surprised---a quick feeling when something happens unexpectedly

Strong---self-confident, you feel good about yourself

Afraid---something or someone scares you and makes you feel uncomfortable

Hungry---you haven’t had enough food to eat

Silly---goofy, you do funny things and often don’t know why

Love---the best feeling of all. It’s when you care very much for someone or something.

Creative movement---dance based on improvisation; the free exploration of movement, usually stimulated by an emotional or narrative them (eg. Anger, war), or the exploration of a movement element like time, space, or force.

Movement exploration---The basis of dances for expressive and imaginative purposes in which no set movements are used from an established dance technique, such as those in ballet, modern, or jazz.

Force---This element is characterized by the release of potential energy into kinetic energy. It utilizes body weight, reveals the effects of gravity on the body, is projected into space, and affects emotional and spatial relationships and intentions.

Space---As an element of dance, the immediate, spherical space surrounding the body in all directions. Use of space includes shape, direction, path, range, and level movement. Space is also the location of a performed dance–where dance takes place.

Time---An element of dance involving rhythm, phrasing, tempo, accent duration. Time can be metered, as in music, or it can be based on body rhythms such as breath and heart beat.

Personal or self-space---This is as far as you can reach and stretch around your body so you don’t touch anyone near you and they don’t touch you.

General space---This is a larger area where you can move freely and others seem far away, but in the same general area.


INTRODUCTION: Teacher leads the questioning sequence in a whole group setting. The teacher may ask questions such as the following. Who knows what an emotion is? What are some emotions? Who likes music? Who likes to dance? How do you suppose we will use these colorful scarves? Has anyone heard the CD "Kids in Motion"? How do you think we are going to put all these things we’ve talked about together? Today we are going explore emotions through dancing. We will first read the Dr. Seuss book, My Many Colored Days and then dance to the song, "Show me What You Feel". We’ll discuss why emotions make us feel certain ways and how we can express our feelings through positive means like reading and dance.


The initial questions are posed to the students and their responses are written on the board. The teacher then checks if any of the vocabulary words have been omitted. If they have, the teacher says each aloud as she/he writes it on the board. A definition is given for each. The teacher points to the color words on the word wall and has the students say each of these words aloud. Reviewing and asking more questions about the entire core vocabulary list checks the students’ comprehension. The students are instructed by the teacher to write all these words (relating to emotions and colors) in their journals.

After this brainstorming session has ended, the teacher reads the book by Dr. Seuss "My Many Colored Days". While reading the book, colors and emotions should be discussed. This can be done by asking the students questions about what colors do they think of when they are happy, angry, tired, excited, etc.

After this book has been read and discussed, the teacher then shows the students the scarves and talks further about different colors coordinating with different emotions.

The students are encouraged to touch the scarves and to make motions with them relating to emotions. The teacher says, "Show me how you move when you’re feeling happy", "Show me how you move when you’re feeling shy", "Show me how you move when you’re feeling mad", and so on down the list of emotion words. To review, they are:













This step is the prelude to listening to the song by Steve and Greg’s Kids in Motion. The song is called "Show Me What You Feel".

The lyrics, in case you want to sing along, are:

Show me how you move when you’re feeling happy,

Show me.

Come on show me how you move when you’re feeling shy,

Show me.

Show me how you move when you’re feeling mad,

Show me.

Come on and show me how you move when you’re feeling tired,

Show me.


Show me how you move when you feel like dancing around.

I say, show me how you feel like dancing around.

Show me how you move when you’re feeling sad,

Show me.

Show me how you move when you’re feeling excited,

Show me.

Show me how you move when you’re feeling strong,

Show me.

Now show me how you move when you feel afraid,

Show me.


Show me how you move when you feel surprised,

Show me.

Come on and show me how you move when you’re feeling hungry,

Show me.

Show me how you move when you’re feeling silly,

Show me.

Now show me how you feel when somebody loves you,

Show me.


This song is a valuable one because the rhythm and beat of the song are even keeled and the voices of the singers are also even keeled. This allows and encourages the students to be original and creative with their body expressions and movements.

After the song, the teacher encourages the students to have slow moving cool down time as they put their scarves away in the box.

The teacher asks the students to review the vocabulary again which is still on the board. The teacher asks the same questions as she/he did at the beginning of the lesson. They are: "Who can tell me what an emotion is? What are some of the emotions? What color scarf did you choose and why? Did you like dancing to the music and song ‘Show Me What You Feel’? Did you dance to all the emotions?

The teacher revisits the vocabulary on the board with the students. She/he asks questions about each word to check comprehension. She/he calls on students that may have not been participating as well as hoped for in this review and with the questions above or draws names randomly from a can.


The teacher will direct the students to sit at their seats and take out their journals and pencils. The prompt the teacher would like them to think about and then write about is "My favorite movement was________________________. I felt the emotion of______________________. The color I thought of was__________________________." I will model this group of frame sentences on the board for them and then they are to copy them into their journals and add their own thoughts where the blanks are located. These sentences are later checked by the teacher for accuracy in copying off the board, if they make sense, and if the students have filled in the blanks with correctly spelled words from the word wall.

The students are asked to pair share their final writing prompts to a neighbor when they are finished. Then the students are asked to volunteer to read their prompt to the class aloud.

"Tomorrow, the teacher says, "I will bring in magazines for you to make your own collage about one emotion that you felt today or that you know about. We will be cutting pictures out of magazines and gluing them to a piece of colored paper. These will be placed on our art wall after each person talks about them in a pair share, small group, and then to the whole class.


Evaluation will occur three times. Once will occur during the dance through the expression of emotions checking to make sure that the students used the proper cueing signals. Students must show the meaning of emotions through expression of different emotions at the specific cues during the song with their body movements and scarf movements. Another evaluation time is during the class brainstorming session prior to and after the dance by means of a verbal quiz. This checks understanding and comprehension during the verbal discussion. Their two-part writing activity (vocabulary words and the writing prompt) is the last evaluation. The students must show their knowledge of aesthetic valuing by completing a writing prompt that makes sense, the words from the word wall are spelled correctly and it is copied correctly off the board. Neatness is a factor in this writing assignment as well.


There is to be one scarf for each student and one for each teacher and adult. They are to be in assorted colors and placed in a large cardboard or other kind of box at the front of the room (inside the circle, but near the perimeter). The book "My Many Colored Days" by Dr. Seuss and the cassette tape or CD of "Kids in Motion Songs for Creative Movement" by Steve and Greg are required. A cassette player or CD player with proper cords and/or batteries are needed. The students’ journal and pencils are needed for the writing activities.


The students should move their desks to the perimeter of the classroom and clear a large circular space in the middle. Then, to put desks back during clean up time, they should use the same original floor plan. That configuration is clusters of four desks. Two desks are side-by-side and the other two desks are facing those two.




For an extension related to dance, I suggest that a piece of instrumental music be chosen for the students to create their own dance using only the music as their cues to change emotions. Single or several scarves may be used to enhance their creative movement and expression.

For older children, I would suggest that the students write an individual essay on any one or more emotions they choose. This may be from personal experience or fictitious. They should incorporate colors as they relate to emotions and use at least two illustrations.



Dr. Seuss. My Many Colored Days. Alfred A. Knopf: New York. 1996.

Greg and Steve. Kids in Motion. Song, "Show Me How You Feel". Longmove Records: Chicago. 1994.