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Do the Hokey Pokey in Many Languages

Music Lesson Plan

Return to Connect With Music: Lessons Any Teacher Can Teach!



Arts & Humanities
Foreign Language
Dance, Music
Life Sciences (Biology)
Our Bodies



  • Pre K
  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8


Brief Description

Use the popular song The Hokey Pokey to teach vocabulary for parts of the body in other languages.



Students will
  • replace the body part words in the tune The Hokey Pokey with the same body part words in other languages.
  • learn the vocabulary more readily because of the connection to music. (This is an especially valuable activity for students who possess a strong musical intelligence.)
  • have fun!


human body, Hokey Pokey, game, song, music, vocabulary, foreign language

Materials Needed

  • sound file with the tune for the song The Hokey Pokey (provided)
  • lyrics printed on chart paper
  • list of body parts vocabulary in the language you are studying (Spanish provided)

Lesson Plan

You all know how to do the Hokey Pokey. Now adapt this old favorite to learning vocabulary in Spanish, French, or any other language. Making the connection between music and language helps students remember the new vocabulary. This lesson is also nice for connecting science, music, and foreign language instruction; when studying the human body, you might take time out for a little fun and foreign language instruction.

Before the Lesson
Download the song The Hokey Pokey

Then print or copy the lyrics onto a chart, so all students can read the words as they sing along. In place of the standard Hokey Pokey lyrics, post the lyrics with Spanish -- or any other language -- vocabulary in place of English words. You can ignore the words right and left that are part of the standard lyric, if you like, and simply introduce the foreign-language words. For example, if are teaching Spanish words for body parts, the following lyrics might be posted on the chart. (Note: Pronunciation key appears below.)

You put your mano in,
You put your mano out,
You put your mano in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey,
and you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about!

You put your cabeza (head) in
You put your pie (foot) in
You put your codo (elbow) in
You put your hombro (shoulder) in
You put your rodilla (knee) in
You put your cadera (hip) in
You put your trasero (derriere) in
You put your cuerpo ([whole] body) in

mano (MAH-noh) -- hand
cabeza (cah-BAY-suh) -- head
pie (pee-AY) -- foot
codo (COH-doh) -- elbow
hombro (OHM-broh) -- shoulder
rodilla (roh-DEE-yah) -- knee
cadera (cah-DAY-rah) -- hip
trasero (trah-SAY-roh) -- derierre cuerpo (QUAYR-poh) -- body

To find body part words in other languages, use one of the online translation tools, such as


After the lesson,

  • provide an outline of the human body and the list of body parts in a foreign language. Students use the vocabulary list as they label the parts of the outline.
  • provide a matching activity for students. Ask students to draw a line from an English word in the first column to the Spanish (or other language) word in the second column with the same meaning.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins


Find more great music ideas in Education World's Music In Our Schools Month archive.

Click to return to this week's Lesson Planning article, Connect With Music: Lessons Any Teacher Can Teach.


Originally published 03/07/2003
Last updated 03/09/2015