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Lesson plan: Jump Jim Joe

A KS2, Year 3-4 PE lesson plan written by Sue Nicholls

Song Bank link

Jump Jim Joe


Subject links

  • PE QCA Unit 2: Dance activities


Minimum 1 hour

Learning Objectives

  • Children will create and link dance phrases using a simple dance structure or motif.

  • Children will perform dances with an awareness of rhythmic, dynamic and expressive qualities, on their own, with a partner and in small groups.


  • Hall or large space

  • Jump Jim Joe performance track

  • Jump Jim Joe echo track

  • Jump Jim Joe echo track (slower version)

  • Jump Jim Joe backing track

  • Video recording equipment (optional)


  • Share the Learning objectives with the children at the start of the session.

  • Practise doubling numbers: 2, 4, 8, 16 etc, going up to numbers that the children can calculate.

  • Tell the class the ancient rice and chessboard tale. It involves a king and his faithful servant, whom he wished to reward. Refusing gold, the servant asked for a grain of rice to be placed on one square of a chessboard, which would be then doubled on each successive square. So, the second square would have two grains, the next, four grains and so on. The king agreed, thinking that this request would save his gold reserves. However, rice was worth a lot of money, so imagine the king’s horror when he learns that he would have to give his servant 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 grains of rice – a harvest of unimaginable wealth! Set the children the task of working out how many rice grains would be sitting on each chessboard square; the numbers will quickly become utterly unmanageable!

  • Listen to the performance track of Jump Jim Joe; this is an American social dance with simple social intentions, involving open gestures, welcoming faces and enthusiastic dance actions!

  • Ensure that everyone understands the pattern of actions. One ‘starter’ couple stands in the centre of the circle; they hold hands and carry out the actions described in the lyrics: jumping, nodding and shaking heads, tapping one foot, walking round in a small circle and finally letting go to find a new partner, bringing them back to the centre.

  • Play this number chanting game, which underpins the pattern and most importantly, makes the point that the number of participants in any doubling game grows amazingly quickly! Everyone stands in a circle with two children in the middle. Keep the chant steady and rhythmic, and don’t hurry the words:

    Two in the middle
    Yo, ho, ho!
    Clap hands, stamp feet,
    Yo, ho, ho!
    Two in the middle
    Yo, ho, ho!
    Each calls another (each person in the centre beckons to someone to join them)
    And the number grows!
    Four in the middle...
    Eight in the middle...

  • Continue until everyone is in the middle.

Main activity

  • Try these warm-up activities first:

  • Ask all the children to find their own space in the room/hall. Ask the children to perform head swings by first looking up to the line where the ceiling meets the wall, and then sweeping eyes down the wall, across the floor and up the opposite wall.

  • Work on head nods and shakes by asking questions that only elicit responses of yes or no, eg.:

    Did you walk to school today?
    Do you like chocolate?
    Do you like singing?
    Would you like extra homework?

  • Now get the children to practise walking curved pathways, heel-to-toe, using outstretched arms to maintain balance, while tracing circles, spirals or curved letter shapes eg. C, S, G, O and Q.

  • Next try this foot-tapper warm-up: invite the children to stand on one leg and tap their other foot to this 8-beat pattern:

    [1] tap right foot in front
    [2] tap back beside left foot
    [3] tap right foot out to the side
    [4] tap back beside left foot
    [5] tap right foot behind
    [6] tap back by left foot
    [7] tap right foot out to the side
    [8] tap beside left foot
    …then try with the other foot!

  • Now move on to the Main Activity: Jump Jim Joe.

  • Sing and play Jump Jim Joe using the performance track to support the singing.

  • Ask everyone to stand in pairs to sing and ‘walk through’ the dance and rehearse the moves, before embarking on the doubling version.

  • Make your dancers aware that they have a really short phrase: ‘then you choose another partner and you jump, Jim, Joe’, in which to release their current partner, find another and bring them back into the centre, ready for the next verse.

  • Arrange the children in a circle and select two to be the ‘starter’ couple. Try out the Jump Jim Joe doubling dance. This works best unaccompanied, so be courageous and sing the song using only your children’s voices. This will allow you to decide on the correct number of verses to complete your own class dance.

  • When everyone has participated in the dance, create an ‘ending’ verse, eg.:

    Jump, jump, jump, Jim, Joe,
    Nod your head, shake your head,
    Tap your toe.
    Round, round and round you go,
    But there are no other partners,
    ‘Cos you’ve jumped, Jim, Joe!

Independent activity 

  • Use the backing track to Jump Jim Joe to choreograph dances. Start by asking groups of four children to invent a dance that uses four different moves, actions or dance steps to ‘fill’ one verse of Jump Jim Joe. They could:

    o link or clap hands, click fingers, bang fists and wave arms...
    o tap shoulders, knees, thighs and heads...
    o step, skip, hop and make galloping movements... 
    o use only head actions eg. nodding, shaking, turning, rolling...
  • Allow sufficient practice time to ensure a really slick and polished performance.

  • Encourage interaction between dancers, so that some actions and movements are shared between performers rather than relying solely on individual movements.



  • Organise children into pairs of mixed ability so that more able children can support their partners.

  • Use extra adults to work with the children to ‘model’ dance steps and support those who need help in deciding on action ideas. 


  • Ask the dance groups that produce strong and imaginative ideas to teach their routine to the class. You might even suggest that the groups create lyrics to fit the tune of Jump Jim Joe, eg.

    Clap, clap, clap again,
    Gallop here, gallop there, hold that rein!
    Walk back with pointing feet,
    Hold your hands and make a circle,
    Skipping on the beat!


  • Ask groups to perform their dances and invite positive feedback from the rest of the class.

  • If possible, video performances so that children can observe and critique their own work.

  • To cool down at the end, ask the children to make each of the following actions slowly:

    o Anchor each foot firmly on the floor, placing them slightly apart, and turn the upper body gently round to face the other way. Repeat on the other side.

    o Stretch up each arm in turn, letting it fall back gently back to the side.

    o Shake out legs and arms gently in turn, making each one as loose and floppy as a rag doll!

Assessment for learning

Can the children:

  • produce actions in response to stimuli?

  • explore ideas, moods and feelings by improvising and experimenting with actions, dynamics, directions, levels and a growing range of possible movements?

  • choose and link actions to make short dance phrases, and reflect rhythmic qualities?

Next steps

  • Learn some new North American folk dances, eg. hoedowns, square dances and other dances that reflect some of the diversity of dance styles across the continent.

Differentiated success criteria

All children will:

  • Link actions to make dance phrases, working with a partner and in a small group. 

Some children will:

  • Perform short dances with expression, showing an awareness of others when moving.

A few children will:

  • Show an imaginative response to different stimuli through their use of language and choice of movement.

  • Be able to describe what makes a good dance phrase.

  • Use a range of expressive language to describe dance. 

Downloadable Resources

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