Where the Wild Things Are: K-1st Grade

Join Elle as she teaches a creative movement lesson for Kindergartners and 1st Graders based on the book “Where the Wild Things Are.”


What are some of your favorite stories? Have you ever seen a play or musical where a story comes to life? One way dance has been utilized is to tell stories. Let’s use dance to tell the story of Max in “Where the Wild Things Are.”

Warm Up:

Try walking in all different directions (forward, sideways, backwards) all through the space. One students understand they can choose what direction they walk in add a level to the walk. “Can you walk sideways on a low level.” Continue playing with directions and levels until they are a bit warmer. Then ask what other ways can we move? Can we hop, skip, jump in different directions and levels? Again, do this until the students seem to understand and have a grasp on actions words, levels, and directions.


Read “Where the Wild Things Are” Give the following prompts as you read:

  • Wolf Suit: Sneaking around on a Low Level
  • Eat you up: How can we chew with different body parts?
  • A forest grew: Start on a low level, grow to a tall tree, shake your leaves off, then get small again
  • Ocean: Swishing, sailing, swimming around the room on a Medium Level with different body parts
  • Wild Things: Quickly skipping on a high Level until they freeze on one leg
  • And it was still hot: Move quickly on a High, Medium, or Low level

Can Students remember all the actions done for the entire book? Try reading the story again, and when you say the word/phrase see if they can remember what to do without a prompt from you.


Do you have a favorite story you could turn into a dance? Any story can be turned into a movement story! Do this process in reverse and come up with our own movement story and see if someone can guess what the story is about. Doing this with other books or activities might be able to help with a child’s ability to memorize a story or remember a series of events.

Feel free to share these videos, embed them for your students, or link to this page. New online educational resources are being developed every day. If you have suggestions for what you’d like to see let us know: rdt@rdtutah.org.

Elle Johansen, originally from Salt Lake City Utah, began her dance training at the age of 9 with the Janet Gray School in Salt Lake City Utah. There she was disciplined in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, and various forms of African dance. Elle earned her BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah in 2015 where she received both the “Outstanding Senior Award” and the “Student Service Award.” Elle has a passion for dance education and is currently a teacher at the Janet Gray School, Tanner Dance at The University of Utah, South Valley Creative Dance, and a teacher with Repertory Dance Theaters AIE program. Throughout her training Elle has had the privilege to work with Hubbard Street, Alvin Ailey, and the Staaliche Balletschule School located in Berlin Germany. Elle has been a guest dancer with RDT since 2015 and officially joined the company in 2017.

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