Mapas Bailados: Creating Visual Representations of Dances Using Maps

Ana Inés Rubinstein, PS 89—The Cypress Hills Community School


Program Background Unit Plan Lesson Plan Teaching the Lesson


Lesson Topic: Using symbols to notate locomotor movement in a defined space


Standards to Be Addressed

New York State Learning Standards for the Arts

Standard 1: Creating, Performing and Participating in the Arts

Standard 2: Knowing and Using Arts Materials and Resources


New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies


ACTFL Standards for Foreign Language Instruction


Guiding Questions



Content Area Skills and Concepts


Language Skills


Thinking/Study Skills




Whole Group Activity

The teacher asks students to talk about what a map is and to share what they know about maps, eliciting information that they have learned in their social studies classes, such as the use of symbolic notation, the use of keys to convey the meanings of these symbols, directionality, etc.). The teacher then introduces the idea of a dance map through the read-aloud.


Teaching/Learning Activities

Whole Group Activity

Read “Frank the Monster...” and show students the dance map on the inside cover of the book. Ask, “Could we create our own dance map? What would we need to know about the symbols on the map to use it?”

Using sentence strips to record the actions and their corresponding symbolic notations, create a key with the students for the following types of movement: caminar (walk), correr (run), dar vueltas (turn), menear (wiggly pathway), and brincar (hop).

Using chalk (on a rug) or masking tape (on a floor), create a large-scale dance map using the symbols you have just agreed upon. Invite children to follow the map by dancing through it.

As a class, transfer the floor map to chart paper.


Small Group Activity

Divide the children into groups of four (with varying levels of language proficiency in each group) and give each group a piece of chart paper and a marker. Ask each group to create a dance map that incorporates three movements and uses the agreed-upon symbolic notations for those movements.


Whole Group Activity

When the groups have completed their maps, have each of the members in each group present their map to the class. One group member (the reporter) will explain the map using key vocabulary and the hay que constructions while the other members perform the dance.

Review key vocabulary and symbols for use in homework.



Assessment is through informal observation and through the use of a rubric designed to measure the following abilities:



For homework: With his or her permission, follow a family member at home for five minutes and use symbolic notation to record the movements on a map. In many cases, it will be necessary to create new symbols to express these movements. Be sure to include a key that provides the meanings of your new symbols. As an example, you could map how someone in your family moves around when they are cleaning up or making a meal. After you have done mapping, use your map to answer the following questions: