Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

[Classic Post] Using Paired Texts to Teach about Dance—with FREE download!

This is a guest post by Lesley Boatright that originally ran in June 2014. If you like what you see here,  click here to read her blog, Practice Makes Perfect .

With one and a half days of school left, the days got hotter in our non-air-conditioned school, and my little ones really started to get antsy! As I was looking for ways to keep the learning going but have fun at the same time, I stumbled across the pairing of   Cinderella   and   Let's Dance   in the   Story World/Real World paired texts series .


I know my kids love to dance, and I decided to create a resource that would let them learn a little about different types of dance and do some writing, and then we would have a "Final First Grade Friday" Dance Party.

First I read the children   Cinderella .   We reviewed the fictional story format, and then I had the children complete a worksheet outlining the characters, setting, plot, and sequence of the story.  


Next, I read the informational text   Let's Dance  to the class. After reading and discussing, we went over four different types of dance using flashcards I had made, and we watched YouTube video clips (prescreened for content) illustrating the four types of dance I chose to focus on: hip-hop, ballet, ballroom dancing, and '80s-style let-the-music-move-you dancing, which I referred to as free dancing. After viewing the clip for each style of dance, I played it again, letting the children attempt to dance in the same style. They also competed a little booklet about the types of dance.

Finally it was time for the "Final First Grade Friday" dance party! Again, I used prescreened brain break videos on YouTube and let the children dance along.   They had a great time.   One boy asked me if he could dance his own way instead of dancing like the video. My answer: of course you can!

Just like at a real dance, some of the children were either too shy or too cool to dance!

All-in-all, our "Final First Grade Friday" dance party was a huge success, and I was proclaimed "the awesomest teacher ever!" for making such a fun lesson that combined a little bit of learning and writing with a lot of fun.

If you would like to try the dance party in your room, you can download the file at the bottom of the page.

I hope your last days of school are fantastic!


Lesley Boatright is an Early Childhood/Elementary Education teacher from Southwestern Pennsylvania. After graduating college, she moved to South Florida, where she taught kindergarten in the Palm Beach County School District for 8 years. After having children, she decided (with her husband) that Florida was too far away from the rest of the family, and she moved back to her hometown, where she took a few years off to spend time with her son. She has been teaching in the parochial school system for 18 years now, first at kindergarten, and currently in a first grade classroom. Lesley has also taught 2nd and 3rd grade Spanish and 4th grade social studies. Visit Lesley   at her Facebook page ,   blog ,   Pinterest , and on Teachers Pay Teachers   to get great teaching ideas .


For more information about the   Story World Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website , or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the booklet sheets, click the image to the right.