Author: Jana Shumway
Year: 2007
Artform: Dance
Subjects: Language Arts
Grade: 4th Grade
Duration: 45 minutes

Fourth grade students will begin dancing to a poem about a crocodile in the Nile River. Then they will “swim” and move about with the crocodiles as they float down the Nile River on a log. As they float they will learn about prepositions.


  • One chair per student; set up in a circle.
  • Word list of prepositions for students to refer to when they choreograph their small group dances.

Music Resources:

Download PDF Lesson Plan

Standards & Objectives

Fine Art Standards
Integrated Standards


The student will identify and demonstrate movement elements (time, space, energy and motion) in performing dance.


The student will improvise, create, perform, and respond to movement solutions in the art form of dance.


Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

G. Form and use prepositional phrases.

Fourth grade students will understand prepositions within English grammar through dance improvisation and choreographic experiences.

Teaching and Timeline


Tell and dance “The Crocodile” poem with your students. After the first couple of verses have the students join you when you say “Well that’s no good!”

The Crocodile Poem

I stood on the banks of the River Nile, smiling at a Crocodile.
It said, “A person served on toast is the food I love the most!”
I said, “I will not be your dinner, I’m . . . I’m much too thin and I’m growing thinner!”
So I grew as thin as thin as I could ‘til the Crocodile said, “We’ll that’s no good –

“I’ll pour you from my gravy boat!” “Oh no, I’ll jump around in your throat!”
“So I jumped around as best as I could, ‘til the Crocodile said, “Well that’s no good –

“I’ll cook you up inside of my pot!” “Oh no – I’ll be a stringy knot!”
So I knotted up as best as I could, ‘til the Crocodile said, “Well that’s no good –

“I’ll bake you up inside of my pie!” “Oh no – I’ll wriggle around like a fly!”
So I wriggled and jiggled as best as I could, ‘til the Crocodile said, “Well that’s no good –

“I think I’ll put you in my stew!” “Oh no – I’ll kick inside of you!”
So I kicked and kicked the best that I could, ‘til the Crocodile said, “Well that’s no good –

“I’ll make you into my dessert!” “Oh no – I’m sharp and I would hurt!”
So I grew as sharp as sharp as I could, ‘til the Crocodile said, “Well that’s no good –

“I’ll swallow you up way deep inside!” Oh no – I’m really much too wide!”
So I grew as wide as wide as I could, ‘til the Crocodile said, “Well that’s no good –

“You’re much too clever for me today . . . so I think you’ll just have to go away!”
So I climbed right out of the River Nile and waved good-bye to the Crocodile.

(From Moira Morningstar’s book “Growing with Dance”)


Say and dance the poem one more time. As soon as you finish the poem, start playing Valley of Dreams by John Tesh. Immediately have the students follow you as you dive into the water and start to squiggle and swim towards the circle of chairs (or “floating logs”) that are set up. Then give directions on how the crocodiles swim with the logs.

Work Period

Ask the students what they are dancing about. They are dancing about “prepositions”. Now ask the class for suggestions. Call on individuals to give a preposition and choose whether they dance or create a shape using that preposition. Write down about 6 suggestions and do a new dance using their ideas.

Next divide the students into small groups of 4 or 5. Using the chairs, have the students create a preposition dance. Have them list 10 prepositions on a piece of paper. Then next to the preposition write “shape” or “movement”. From this list they can create their small group dances. Have them also manipulate time, space and energy! When completed, have them perform for each other and discuss what prepositions were used.


The students could perform their dances at an informance for parents or for another class at school. Review the definition of preposition again. Have the students create a three dimensional visual art project using 6-8 prepositions. Or you could read a book. Every time you read a word that is a preposition, have the students respond with a shape that shows the meaning of that preposition.


There are about 150 prepositions in English. Yet this is a very small number when you think of the thousands of other words (nouns, verbs etc). Prepositions are important words. We use individual prepositions more frequently than other individual words. In fact, the prepositions of, to and in are among the ten most frequent words in English. Many prepositions also have more than one meaning.



A preposition is a word governing, and usually preceding, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause, as in “the man on the platform,” “she arrived after dinner,” “what did you do it for ?”

Resource: Google Dictionary


Adjust the dance as needed for individual student needs.


Formative Assessment:

While the kids are dancing watch to see if they are understanding the concepts. If not, sidecoach them to help them understand.

Summative Assessment:

You can have a discussion or quiz at the end of the lesson; or have the students share what they learned with a partner and then report to another group of students or to you as to what they learned.

They can also demonstrate their understanding through choreographic assignments (but be sure the objectives are clear for the assignment and then make sure they meet those objectives).

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