Lesson plan

Animal Dancing

In this dance-infused lesson plan, students will love listening to a story about friendship before they create their very own animal dances with a peer!
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

Students will be able to work together to create an animal dance.

(5 minutes)
  • Ask students if they have been to the zoo. Ask them to think of some of the animals they might see at the zoo.
  • Record ideas on the board.
  • Say, “Today we are going to listen to a story about dance. Listen carefully as I read to hear about animals in the story!”
(10 minutes)
  • Read aloud the book Tanya and Emily in a Dance for TwoBy Patricia Lee Gauch and Satomi Ichikawa
  • Pause as you read to notice details on each page and ask students to tell you what they notice about each character.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to share how the two girls helped each other as they became friends. (For example, they became better dancers, and they worked together.)
  • Encourage students to retell the key details in the story by asking them to think about the most important parts of the story.
  • Have students turn and talk to a partner to share ways that they could work together to help a friend.
  • Discuss how the characters in the story created their dance at the zoo using animals for inspiration.
(15 minutes)
  • Explain that now students will get to work together to create their animal dances, just like the characters in the story.
  • Tell students that each group should choose one to two animals to include in their animal dances. They should then practise the dance together.
  • Pair students up and space each group around the room so that they are not right next to another pair.
  • Put on music for the students to listen to while they create their animal dances
(10 minutes)
  • Read aloud the book Tanya and Emily in a Dance for TwoBy Patricia Lee Gauch and Satomi Ichikawa


Help student pairs choose one to two animals to use in their animal dance. Ask students to use specific kinds of movements in their dance to encourage them to get started.


Ask students to record their dance on paper by drawing the different animals.

(5 minutes)
  • As students are working in pairs, assess how they are working together. Verify that they are able to follow the directions to create an animal dance.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the class together and ask a few students to share parts of their animal dances with the group.
  • Celebrate their success by saying, “You worked so well together to create animal dances! Just like you helped each other create dances, you can help each other out in other ways at school!”

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