Lesson Plan on Giraffes Can’t Dance (Reggio Japan)

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Kindergarten / Yochien / Hoiku Lesson Plan – Lesson Plan on Giraffes Can’t Dance (Reggio Japan), Reggio philosophy

Title: Exploring Diversity and Self-Expression through “Giraffes Can’t Dance” – A Reggio Emilia Inspired Lesson Plan for Kindergarten Students in Japan

– To introduce and explore the central themes of diversity, self-expression, and acceptance through the children’s book “Giraffes Can’t Dance.”
– To foster creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration skills among students.
– To align the lesson plan with the Japan MEXT curriculum and incorporate the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach.

Curriculum Links:
– Japan MEXT Curriculum: This lesson plan aligns with the MEXT curriculum’s goals of promoting social and emotional development, fostering creativity, and encouraging students to appreciate diversity and respect others.

Theorist Link:
– Reggio Emilia Approach: This lesson plan incorporates the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach, such as child-led learning, project-based activities, and the use of art and creativity to enhance learning experiences.

– “Giraffes Can’t Dance” by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees
– Art supplies (colored pencils, markers, crayons, paints, etc.)
– Construction paper
– Scissors
– Glue
– Chart paper
– Sticky notes
– Music player and speakers
– Various musical instruments (optional)


1. Introduction (10 minutes):
– Begin by gathering students in a circle and introducing the book “Giraffes Can’t Dance.”
– Engage students in a brief discussion about dancing, asking questions like: “Have you ever danced before? What kind of dances do you know?”
– Explain that today, they will be exploring the story and its central themes of diversity, self-expression, and acceptance.

2. Reading and Discussion (15 minutes):
– Read aloud “Giraffes Can’t Dance” to the students, using expressive voices and gestures to engage their attention.
– Pause at key moments in the story to ask open-ended questions, such as: “How do you think Gerald the giraffe feels when the other animals laugh at him?” or “Why do you think the cricket encourages Gerald to dance?”
– Encourage students to share their thoughts and feelings about the story, promoting active listening and respectful communication.

3. Artistic Expression (20 minutes):
– Provide each student with a piece of construction paper and art supplies.
– Instruct students to draw a picture of themselves doing something they love or expressing their unique talents, just like Gerald the giraffe.
– Encourage students to use colors and shapes that represent their emotions and individuality.
– After completing their artwork, have students share their creations with the class, explaining what they drew and why it is important to them.

4. Group Reflection (10 minutes):
– Create a large chart paper titled “Our Unique Talents.”
– Give each student a sticky note and ask them to write or draw one thing they are good at or enjoy doing.
– Invite students to stick their notes on the chart paper, creating a visual representation of the diverse talents within the class.
– Facilitate a group discussion, asking questions like: “How does it feel to see all the different talents in our class?” or “Why is it important to appreciate and respect each other’s unique abilities?”

5. Dance and Movement (15 minutes):
– Play a variety of music genres, including different cultural styles, and encourage students to move and dance freely.
– Provide optional musical instruments for students to experiment with rhythm and sound.
– Emphasize that there is no right or wrong way to dance, and everyone’s movements are valid and unique.
– Observe and participate in the dance session, offering positive feedback and encouragement to students.

6. Conclusion (5 minutes):
– Gather students back in a circle and recap the central themes explored in the lesson: diversity, self-expression, and acceptance.
– Ask students to share one thing they learned or enjoyed during the lesson.
– Conclude by reminding students that just like Gerald the giraffe, they can embrace their individuality and express themselves in their own unique ways.

– Informal assessment can be conducted throughout the lesson by observing students’ active participation, engagement, and ability to express their thoughts and feelings during discussions and art activities.
– Students’ artwork and their ability to explain their creations can also serve as a form of assessment, showcasing their understanding of the central themes.

Extension Activities:
– Create a class book inspired by “Giraffes Can’t Dance,” where each student contributes a page showcasing their unique talents and interests.
– Organize a mini talent show where students can perform or demonstrate their individual skills in front of their classmates.
– Collaborate with the music teacher to explore different dance styles and cultural dances from around the world, further promoting diversity and appreciation for different cultures.

Note: Adapt the lesson plan as needed to suit the specific needs and abilities of the students in your class




MEXT (Japan)


Reggio Emilia



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