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Now of course, you can use this lesson at any point of the year, but I am going to use it on the last week of school (and will update with any extra information I come up with then). This luau will include singing, dancing, and of course, limbo. Although we are doing music standards (we sing music, we move to music, we connect music with history and culture), this lesson will be mostly fun.
Because it’s the last week of school. It’s supposed to be fun.
You will notice I pick activities strategically—we do an active warm up first, followed by a calming activity, then some fun, and finally a calming activity at the end. I try to structure all lesson like this, if possible.
Before this lesson, we have typically been doing Hawaiin music with the third graders. I use the a few folk songs and other information that is in my Hawaiian Virtual Field Trip in order to teach these lessons.
And without further adu.. here is the end of school luau!
How to do an End of Year Luau!
- Hawaiian Rollercoaster ride song
- Lilo & Stitch video—the scene we are watching is here, but you can buy the whole thing here for a good price.
- Stick for limbo (I am using a pool noodle)
- Music for limbo (I am using 50s but Beach Boys would be great)
- Ukulele or other classroom instrument (optional) (I really want this ukulele!)
- Optional leis
I can sing and dance to Hawaiian music.
- When students come in, give them a lei to wear for the day (I take them back for the next class, but you can let them have them if they keep them). Tell them we are having a luau and ask if anyone knows where they have luaus.
- Tell them luaus are from Hawaii. Hawaii is a state in the US, but it is far away (pull up a map that shows Hawaii).
- Pick a movement for the chorus, verses, and instrumental parts of the song Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride. Have students follow you in their movements. You can also have students pick, but I picked ours so that they went with the song. I used this strictly to have kids get some wiggles out so I wasn’t concerned about them learning very much in this part of the lesson.
- Watch the video of the Lilo and Stitch movie that has this scene. This one is the sing along version.
- Then, tell the students that we are going to a different tropical island– Trinidad, home of Limbo! Pick two students who are doing a good job to come up and hold the limbo stick (we use a boomwhacker). Have them walk in a circle (I use the perimeter of the carpet) and limbo under the stick. Tell them that if they hit the stick, they are out.
- Alternate version: If you prefer, you can have them go through a different way each time. So one time they could crawl like a crab. They can walk like a dog, they can lean forward or backward, whatever you pick. You can pick a different one each time they go through.
- To help them calm down, show them some pictures of Hawaii. You can just google “Hawaii” and then show them the google images results. This helps them understand that it is an actual place, not just something in Lilo and Stitch.
- Teach them the song “Aloha Oe” by rote or by solfege (whatever you prefer). You can see the ukulele/guitar/piano tabs to play with it here. Once they have at least kind of learned the song (I’m only doing the chorus), sing it with them and play an instrument (or sing with a video). It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be fun!
A Virtual Luau Option
I love to do a luau, but in the school year 2020-2021… That was not an option.
So this year (this is updated, clearly), I came up with a virtual option– a Virtual Field Trip to Hawaii!
This Virtual Field Trip is a Google Slides lesson that can be done whole group or individually. Students “go” to Hawaii, click on different pictures on the beach, and learn all about it!
- All about Hawaii
- Hawaiian words
- About the ukulele
- About Hula
- Hula tutorial
- Hawaiian folk song Nani Wale Na Hala (+ dance with or without pu’ili sticks!)
- Hawaiian folk song Aloha ‘Oe and background on the last queen of Hawaii
- Hawaiian folk song Ua Nani ‘O Nu’uanu
I took great care to make sure that I was representing the Hawaiian culture well, and my students love this lesson.
And there’s our luau! It incorporates movements, games, singing, and social studies!
You could use this with older students as well—without even tweaking much.
What would you include in a last week of school luau? Let me know in the comments!