Flocking- Dance/ Movement

Lesson Plan

Date: November 1, 2016

Subject:  Arts Education

Grade: 9

Topic:  Dance/ Movement- Flocking


1. Bodies 5. Pen/Pencil
2. Movement Clothes (Or Comfortable Clothing) 6. Checklist
3. Music Device 7. Assessment Sheet
4. Paper 8. An Open Mind


Stage 1- Desired Results – you may use student friendly language
Broad Areas of Learning

       Lifelong learners

       Self and Community

Cross Curricular Competencies

Developing Social Responsibility

             Engage in communitarian thinking and dialogue


Developing Literacies

       Construct knowledge related to various literacies

       Express understanding and communicate meaning using various literacies

Developing Identity/Interdependence

       Understand, value, and care for oneself (intellectually, emotionally, physically, spiritually)

       Understand, value, and care for others

Developing Thinking

       Think and learn contextually

       Think and learn creatively


What do they need to understand, know, and/or able to do? 

  1. Ability to understand and successfully perform flocking in a group atmosphere
  2. Understanding dance as a collaboration of movement rather than a structure
  3. Be able to understand distinct movements using Effort Theory by Rudolf Laban (see attached for definition/description of each element)
  4. Ability to be reflective in self-assessment and peer-assessment


CP9.1 Create dance compositions that express perspectives and raise awareness about a topic of concern to youth.

CP9.2 Investigate and use choreographic processes (e.g., individual and collaborative choreography).

CP9.3 Choreograph duo or small group work.

CR9.1 Respond to professional dance, drama, music, and visual art works through individual or collaborative inquiry and the creation of own arts expressions.


CP 9.1 -Investigate how a single idea can be developed in many ways and directions (e.g., How can we represent through movement the differing perspectives on this topic?).

CP 9.2 – Demonstrate efficient, purposeful, expressive movements.

– Develop seamless transitions that sequence dance phrases in ways that exemplify the intended idea.

CP 9.3 – Generate ideas for movement exploration and development by collaborating in duo and small group work.

– Demonstrate leadership as a choreographer by offering ideas and guidance to dancers during development of composition

– Support duo or small group in repeating movement phrases and sequences with accuracy and expression during development, rehearsal, and sharing of work.

– Reflect on composition process and describe ideas, strengths, and areas for potential improvement

CR 9.1- . Use individual or collaborative inquiry to develop questions and learn about a selected arts expression

PGP Goals (and what evidence in the lesson will show that you have achieved the target?):

1.1              the ability to maintain respectful, mutually supportive and equitable professional relationships with learners, colleagues, families and communities;

-I have the opportunity to teach my partner teacher this dance medium because she is unfamiliar in this area of the Arts curriculum. We have had many professional conversations about the inclusion of dance in the Arts curriculum and the different ways it can/ has been incorporated into the classroom especially in regards to my dance lesson, Flocking. If my partner teacher can successfully guide the students through the process while I am away or will include/adapt it for her own use then I will have successfully hit this goal.

1.2              ethical behaviour and the ability to work in a collaborative manner for the good of all learners;

-In regards to my partner teacher, the ability to collaboratively teach this lesson while I am away as well as provide feedback/ constructive criticism on the strength or weakness of individual areas in my lesson that will help me improve it are important to show evidence of target completion. For students, inclusion of all members in the decision-making process and listening and building on one another’s ideas will help showcase the evidence of this goal.

1.3              a commitment to social justice and the capacity to nurture an inclusive and equitable environment for the empowerment of all learners; and

-Every member of the group is participating and contributing to the overall well-being of the group. It is important that no one is being left out of the group, feeling alienated within the group, or feeling unheard/unimportant in the group. Positive group dynamics will showcase the importance (especially to me) of fostering a safe and inclusive environment in which students can learn and grow is essential to the completion of this goal.

1.4              a commitment to service and the capacity to be reflective, lifelong learners and inquirers.

-Writing a knowledgeable and observationally based personal reflection on this lesson that is coherent and identifies areas of strength and weakness within my lesson.

2.2       proficiency in the Language of Instruction;

-Because my expertise does not fall under the dance category, successfully giving the illusion of competency and successfully make people believe I know 100% what I am doing will show that I have hit this goal. The ability to have students understand the concepts and ideas that I am formulating from my research and being able to perform these concepts successfully is another way in which I can judge the completion of this goal. The self-evaluation questions are another measure of the success or failure of my lesson.

Stage 2- Assessment
Assessment FOR Learning (formative) Assess the students during the learning to help determine next steps. 

Work with students to better incorporate Effort Theory into the “Rob the House” exercise (discuss, model, and critique). Observe students working in groups and attempt to give them feedback on possible inclusion of Effort Theory in their movements.


Assessment OF Learning (summative) Assess the students after learning to evaluate what they have learned.

See attached Rubric. Self-Evaluation using the same rubric that I am using to mark the students (they also answer the questions on the back to demonstrate knowledge gained from this lesson). Peer-evaluation to determine group dynamics and use of rehearsal time that I was unable to see within class.

Stage 3- Procedures:

Accommodations – which students require differentiation and what kind Modifications – how have you planned to accommodate the student’s needs
-There may be students that are unable to dance because of religious or cultural reasons.

-Because this is grade 9, many of the boys will be “too cool” to want to participate.







-I have a substitute assignment ready in case there are students that cannot participate that is based on the lesson itself and the teachings (Effort Theory) that I will be doing in class.

-I also structure the “dance” as simply being movements with others in a group. Therefore, they are not touching or formally dancing with a partner. In this way, I hope to get around the “unable to partake in dance” difficulties.

Motivational/Anticipatory Set (introducing topic while engaging the students)

  1. Begin the class with having everyone move in space. Walk. Get them to shake out limbs and more movement ready. (~5 min)
  2. Guided movement exercise- “Rob the House”- students are guided through a scenario in which the teacher creates a scene and the students have to make the movements that the teacher is calling out (These movements fit the theme of the scenario which, in this case, is robbing a house). This is an intro into having the students think about dance abstractly as different sets of movements rather than a structured form. Students learn about the different aspects of Effort Theory- Space, Weight, Flow, and Time by performing the designated moves that the teacher is calling out.

Ex. Teacher- “You are sneaking quietly towards the house.” Students begin tip toeing in space. Description- Light weight, direct (or indirect) space, sustained time, Bound flow

(15 min)

Main Procedures/Strategies:

  1. Explanation of Flocking- Dance Improvisation- See Teaching Sheets. Flocking Video (YouTube 30- 1:30). (10 min)
  2. Begin Flock Experimentation- Line. Then small group. Then large group.

(25 min)

Closing of lesson:

1.      Discuss/ Summarize with the group how the different aspects of Effort Theory were examined first in “Rob the House” and, secondly, in their initial explorations. Discuss how they can continue to use Effort Theory in their project moving forward. Any Questions? (~5 min)

Personal Reflection:

I believe that this lesson went well overall but I definitely see it improving in the future. The first slight hindrance that befell this lesson was the time in which I had to teach it. I only got one full day of instruction myself with the students (the Tuesday because Wednesday was “take your kids to work day”) before my partner teacher took it over to work with them on the Friday and Monday. I feel as though if I could have been there to fully follow through with my vision of the project it would have turned out a little better than it did. The second problem, that I believe is fairly universal from what I have observed, is absences. On the day we were supposed to perform, one of the groups dropped to six members, another group lost two students to sickness, and the final group stayed at the full amount. This made the numbers really skewed with one group dominating in members. One of the comments that a student put forward was that it was harder to do in the large group and that the small groups had the advantage. In regards to the lesson, all groups were still equal because members were mirroring and, no matter how many people there are in the group, if everyone is doing the movements then they will be assessed accordingly. However, the students didn’t really see it this way and this resulted in the big group being significantly less motivated and, thus, not trying very hard during the performance. I couldn’t get around this by interchanging members because they practiced and choreographed within their groups and pulling someone out would have been detrimental to the group integrity. I believe, however, that if the groups had been closer to even that this “jealousy” wouldn’t have been an issue.

I do believe that this is an awesome assignment that simply needs a few tweaks to make it register a little better with the participants. I do believe that if I had more time in the classroom that I could have better motivated and explained the concepts of this assignment to my students. This lesson has shown me that this assignment can work and that many students will actually enjoy it. Looking forward, I plan on using this lesson again but with the slight modification that I can fully see this lesson through with my students at every facet of the procedure and not just the beginning. In this way, I believe that I can have a great lesson plan for my future arsenal.


Additional Material:



A type of movement improvisation in which students mirror or shadow each other’s movement in groups. Often uses a diamond formation. Students follow the movements of a leader and share leadership throughout the group. This is an extended version of mirroring for three or more people.  Participants do not necessarily need to be able to watch the leader, as long as they can see and follow each other. (adapted from the Ontario Arts Curriculum, 2009 )

An Instructional Approach

  • Begin with groups of four students.
  • Students stand in a line one behind the other. The student at the front of the line uses simple, slow movements using space to the side of her/his body so that students can see and mirror in a follow-the-leader fashion.
  • Playing slow music will support this activity. At specific intervals, of about 1 minute, rotate the leader to the back of the line to determine a new leader.
  • Once students are comfortable moving in the space and following a leader, arrange the groups into a diamond formation. (see diagram)
  • Repeat the follow-the-leader movements, following student #1, and instruct students that when the direction in which the group is facing changes, the leadership will pass to the person at the ‘front’ of the group. All students mirror or shadow the person at the front. Allow students to practice changing leadership by making ninety-degree turns.

Variations for Different Levels of Readiness

  • As their skill increases, groups can increase in number. A student may be added to the centre of the diamond, but that student will not take the lead. Other students may be added ‘along the lines of the diamond’, and they will not take the lead. The four students at the four tips of the diamond will continue to pass the lead to each other.
  • When one leader feels as though s/he is done leading, s/he points to another dancer, who then takes over leading.
  • The teacher can call for a new leader, signaling a ninety-degree turn.
  • The teacher could be the first leader.
  • Music is chosen to suit the age of students. – Students can flock through the space and pass through another “flock of birds”.
  • Different tempos and styles of music may be used.


  • – Students can change their arrangements in their flock to be farther away from one another to extend their sensitivity.
  • – Students can create more difficult movements and different styles of dance.- Diamonds may overlap each other, or be arranged one within the other to explore contrasting movements between groups.

Cross Curricular Uses

Health and Physical Education

Students in flock can explore sport skill movements i.e. dribbling, free throw shot, pivot.

Daily Physical Activity

Flocking may be used with whole class involvement and vigorous movements


Students can move as different states of matter, different weather systems, or a variety of stages of the water cycle.


Divide class into two, one group forms a circle and performs a choral chant of a poem, while the other group performs a flock in the centre of the circle, to music at low volume.


*Taken directly from the Council of Ontario Drama and Dance educators (CODE) http://www.code.on.ca/resource/flocking

*Given to my partner teacher as a step by step resource to use within the classroom.


Terminology For the Lesson:

Dance – a series of rhythmic and patterned bodily movements usually performed to music

Choreography – A creation or compilation of steps, patterns and movements which make up a dance or a dance routine.

Improvisation – this is the action of dancing without defining movement previously; the dancer does not know what s/he will execute but moves spontaneously and freely, in opposition to composed dance, where the dancer memorizes choreography.

Flocking– type of movement improvisation in which students mirror or shadow each other’s movement in groups.

Mirroring –It consists of a bodily activity for two, in which one person moves and the other follows as if s/he was a mirror. This strategy is used to develop concentration, communication, cooperation and creative skills.

Kinsphere: (or kinesphere)- imaginary space that surrounds the human body. It has a spherical shape and its size is determined by the maximum space reached by limbs in any possible direction.

Rhythm – a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.

Effort Theory-it is a mental impulse from which movement originates. There are four motion factors that constitute it: SPACE (direct or indirect), WEIGHT (strong or light), TIME (sudden or sustained) and FLOW (bound and free). The dynamic of movement is the result of the combination of these factors and its effort qualities.

Space – the kinespheric space, the scenic space, and execution of direct or indirect space from the point of view of effort theory.

Weight – weight can be understood in two different ways: as its usual meaning, but referring to the gravitational relationship of the human body towards earth and as an effort component, in which case it would be light or strong

Time – two main different ways to understand time: as a rhythmical component (exactly the same way as it works for music) and as an effort component, in which case it would be sudden or sustained.

Flow (free, bound or continuous) – Free- not have big control to stop movement immediately

Bound– individual has the control to stop moving at any moment

Continuous- the stream or momentum of movement doesn’t stop.


*Taken from: http://www.contemporary-dance.org/dance-terms.html


Student Reflection for Summative Self-Assessment

Name: __________________                                                 Group (Circle):     1        2        3

What did you learn in this unit?


What did you learn about dance? Create your own definition of dance from your new knowledge.


How could you apply Effort Theory when looking at everyday movements (In: dance, basketball, football, in gym class, running, etc…)? Describe one or two movements using this knowledge.


If you could do the performance again, what would you do differently? The Same? If nothing, then how would you change this assignment to better challenge yourself?






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