Accessibility Tools

Lesson Plans

Movement Essay

  • Lesson Plan Creator: Lauren Curley
  • Grades: Grade 6
  • Subjects: Language Arts
  • National/State Fine Arts Standards: Connect/Analyze
  • Tags: Creative Movement

In this lesson explore the structure of an essay through movement. Students will develop their own movement theme, create introduction and conclusion paragraphs, as well as form the body of their essay. This lesson involves collaboration between students.

Learning Objectives/Goals

The objective of this lesson is to identify and explain how to structure an essay and to apply that same structure to create a dance.

Materials Needed

For this lesson you need a minimum of four different music tracks and a drum. If available a whiteboard and/or movement cards are helpful.


Establish the rules of the class and identify the movement space. Ask the students what the first thing they need to think about is when they are writing an essay (answer: theme). Provide them with a movement theme (theme: energy qualities). Pick three energy qualities they will explore today (percussive, sustained, swing).


Have the students begin by spreading out in space. Ask the students what the word percussive means. Using the drum to provide a beat explore percussive movement. If there is time ask them to explore again but this time having the movement travel or change level. Repeat the same with sustained movement and swinging movement. Encourage students to explore using their whole bodies and also using just one body part.


Ask the students how they structure an essay once they know the theme. Assign one of each of the energy qualities they explored to a paragraph. For the introduction and conclusion have them create one movement from each quality to represent a sentence. The "introduction" paragraph has a frozen shape to start, followed by one percussive movement, one sustained movement, and one swinging movement. The "conclusion" paragraph has the same three movements from the introduction, followed by a new pose or movement to represent the end of the essay (i.e. a stomp, melt to the ground, etc). For the three paragraphs that make up the body of the essay have the students explore their own movement.

- Introduction
- Paragraph 1: Percussive
- Paragraph 2: Sustained
- Paragraph 3: Swinging
- Conclusion


Divide the class into groups. Using the same theme (energy qualities) ask the students to give you three new qualities to explore. Have each group create their own essay exploring the new energy qualities.


Have each group show their movement essay. Signal the transition from one paragraph to the next by changing the music or hitting the drum. Ask the students which qualities they saw most clearly and if each group followed the essay structure.

Extension to the Lesson

Using the level cards and speed cards have the students assign a new level and speed to each of their paragraphs. You could also have each group pick their own energy qualities (either on their own or using the movement cards) and have the students guess which ones the groups picked.

Follow-up Resources

Dance to Learn video lessons.


Back to All Lesson Plans

What People are Saying

The diversity of the dancers really spoke to my students! It was great to see boys and girls dancing, and different races. The high level of engagement was so refreshing and got students excited about thecontent.
This activity was valuable because it helped students make connections between dance, rhythm, healthy lifestyles, and expression. The students were impressed by the talent of the dancers and it was motivating to them.
Opportunities for art and expression are so limited at school but so essential and valuable for all students, especially those who struggle to learn through traditional methods. My Kindergarteners have been dancing since you left!
This was so engaging. I looked around the auditorium and every student was watching. Not one person was talking or distracted
This activity is valuable to teachers and students because it gives them a creative outlet. We need movement in the classroom to engage, energize and deepen student learning.
I got great ideas on how to incorporate movement into math and science lessons.
I loved how you made movement and exercise relatable to the students. The dancers were full of energy and there was very little down time so students stayed engaged.
Our children were captivated by the performance. They listened to you and they were learning without knowing. They usually giggle when bodies are shown and talked about. But the way you presented it was so tastefully done, they now do poses and movement around the room and outside. You brokesome barriers and they took that permission and literally ran with it!