Chinese Dragons
Bayless Elementary School

This Chinese Dragons movement activity comes at the end of the Chinese New Year lessons that I do each year. Up until this point, students have learned about Chinese instruments, culture, celebrations, and symbols. They have also sung several songs from China and performed Tai Chi.

Students will be able to listen and move appropriately to the music and follow directions for the Chinese Dragons movement activity.
Students will be able to demonstrate self-control, responsibility, cooperation and safety when participating on the Chinese Dragons movement activity.
Students will be able to discuss how they felt during the movement activity.
A CD of a variety of Chinese music.
A stereo or CD player.
Lots of room.
Beanbags (for the kinesthetic learner).
Objectives should be posted or written.
Optional: Character words on cards or written.
Clear out/ stack the chairs in the room. (If you have access to a gym/cafeteria, even better.) Divide the class into five groups of four or five. Try to keep the groups small at first and add more groups if there are more than five students in each. Designate a leader in each group and try to have an even mix of boys and girls.
Explain that when the Chinese music begins, each group must start moving around the classroom while staying connected. Students put both hands on the child’s shoulders ahead of them. The tricky part is that if the music is fast, the group should move quickly; if slow, they move slowly. When the music stops, all freeze. If a “dragon” or group breaks, they must sit down quietly. If two “dragons” touch each other at any time, they both sit down.
Then I ask the children to decide which character words they will need to use to be successful in this activity. I explain that the leader must be responsible to lead his/her group so as not to touch any other “dragons”or go too fast so that his/her “dragon” would break. The followers must be responsible to stay latched on to the person ahead of them.
We start to play and move around the room. Students quickly learn that if they get out of control or go too fast, they will be sitting. They are back in the game once the music starts again. I allow each person in the group to get a turn to be the leader of their “dragon.” After that is accomplished, the entire class makes one large “dragon."
The musician of the day gets to be the leader. Then students sit on the rug next to their friendship buddy (an established partner in music class). They discuss if they were more comfortable being the leader or the follower in the activity.
We discuss how in this activity, as well as many other times at school and in life, we need to have leaders and followers. One is not more important that the other. Then I ask for suggestions of how each “dragon” showed cooperation, self-control, safety and responsibility. If there's time, we end with a Chinese book about the dragon.
The teacher will determine if the objectives have been met by watching students perform the activity and through discussion at the end of the activity.