Weight in Words


ELA and Dance

  • 30-45 Minutes


  • CD Player/iPod dock
  • Board and writing tools (stylus, chalk, etc.)
  • Samples of musical pieces.
  • Chart paper
  • Journals
  • Pencils
  • Room to move


Step 1: Begin by playing a variety of musical examples with varying moods/textures. Some samples include: Flight of the Bumblebee, Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata, Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, Elgar’s Nimrod Symphony (IX).

Step 2: Ask students to capture the essence of those pieces with one word. Probe for words that go beyond “sad”, “happy”, “excited”. Be sure to have them search for the best word they can find in their memory banks that describe that piece.

Step 3: Write the description words on the board in a list. Then, have the students move to their word for each piece.

Step 4: In a separate column, ask students to describe one action word that would showcase their descriptive word in the other column. Again, avoid words like “jump” and look for more descriptive words like “leap”.

Step 5: Have students repeat step number 3, but this time, move as described by their action word.

Step 6: Make one more column beside the other two. This time, have the students describe what kind of weight they would use in their body to demonstrate their action word (light and airy, loaded down by chains, etc).

Step 7: Repeat step 5, but adding the weight of their action from their created list.



Each student will write a brief journal entry that describes the essence of each song using their colorful vocabulary list generated in class.

Each journal entry will also include a description of how they translated their labels into movement and how that made them feel.