Using Dance to Teach Culture (Lesson Plan)

Lesson Title¡Bailamos!
Grade: 6th
Lesson Objective: Explore Mexican culture an learn greater appreciation for cultural differences

            Time: 1 hour
Space: school cafeteria                                               
People: large group (whole class), uneven gender numbers, 6th graders
Materials: cafeteria sound system or portable boom box, map of North America

What Taught: Los Machetes (Page 110 of Creative Dance)

How Taught:

Be aware of the children who might need extra help.
Review where Mexico is on the map.
Talk about what aspects of Mexican culture the kids understand before the unit.
Try to name things they know that are from Mexicoor that have Mexican influence.
Point out the Jalisco area in Mexico (the dance is from the Jalisco area).
Get in two circles.
Distinguish between the inside and outside circles (don’t say “men” or “women” since the groups may be uneven).
Teach the walk forward and clap.
Teach the walk backward with the hand clap.
Practice from beginning until this point, using correct calling techniques.
Teach the back away, making sure kids dance with correct partners.
Review and add the walk backward and walk forward.
Practice from beginning until this point, using correct calling techniques.
Teach the clap leg, practice multiple times before putting it with the other steps.
Practice from beginning until this point, using correct calling techniques.
Teach the star, sure kids understand how to work with their partner.
Practice entire dance, using correct calling techniques.
Make sure kids only touch their partners during the Star.
Make sure all kids start on the left foot.
Call with he music.
Check to see if 75-80% of the kids were successful.
Play the music and have kids practice the dance without teacher calling.
If kids get confused at a certain point, review it and then call it through until they can do it without calling.
Eat Mexican desserts (churros, empanadas, biscochitos, etc) while listening to some of today’s popular Mexican artists.

Make sure everyone understands the rhythm of the song.
Make sure everyone understands where the Jalisco area is in Mexico.
Make sure everyone understands the sequence of the steps.
Make sure everyone understands how and when to dance with or facing a partner.
Read story Uncle Nachos Hatto introduce traditional Mexican clothing.
Read story Friends from the Other Side (by Gloria Anzaldua) (Story of a Mexican boy named Joaquin who crossed the Rio Grande River into Texas with his mom in search for a new life).
Make a Mexican Poncho.
Make a Mexican Pinata.
Make Tacos and discuss the basic foods eaten in Mexico(tortillas, beans, etc.)
Study the life and art of Diego Rivera. Have students discuss aspects of his most famous works.
Use copies of Kids Discover! Magazines to help kid give short oral reports on various aspects of Mexico.
Make Empanadas.
Learn about Dia de los Muertos and the significance it has to the Mexican people.
Make “El Ojo de Dios” (or God’s Eye) using yarn and popsicle sticks (this is an ancient symbol made by the Huichol of Mexico)


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