How to Plan Your Virtual Dance Classes
by Erin Pride
This global crisis of COVID-19 can make us feel like we are living in the strangest of times...
Who knew that only a couple weeks ago we were going to be out of our schools, studios and dance classes?
Who knew 1000s and more would be affected by this highly contagious virus, and the whole world would be flipped upside down? Who knew we would be teaching our dance classes and running studios + dance schools virtually?
The reality is...We didn't...No one did...
This came quickly and we had to think and plan fast.
I am fortunate enough to have been teaching online for 3 years, as well as being a total tech-geek!
With that said, I understand that isn't the case for all dance educators and my heart goes out to them…
This is why I started connecting with those who need help in the form of 1:1 calls, group masterclasses, as well as podcast episodes. And of course… blog posts (like this one)
Just the other day I had an amazing call with a fellow dance educator to help her iron out how to start lesson planning for successful virtual dance classes.
She wanted more than just showing up and teaching technique class, she wanted to ensure her students were progressing and most importantly staying engaged.
Today I am going to share with you how we created a 4-week unit plan to support her virtual dance classes.
Step 1 - Unit Planning
Unit Plans are individual lesson plans grouped together over a period of time. Unit plans usually have a theme and help maximize students’ growth, because they are scaffolded.
Since we are all virtual now, I suggest that my clients think about unit planning in 4-week increments. We do not know how long this virtual journey is going to last, and planning in 4-week increments allows for flexibility.
Step 2 - Plan Classes Based on Student Transformation
We focused on her Tap classes, ages 10-16. We first mapped out the transformation she wanted her students to reach by the end of her unit (which is 4 classes long)
To help her reach what that transformation would be I asked her - “What do you want your students to be able to do by the end of the 4th class?” Easy question right, but many dance educators do not take the time to ask themselves this question and end up just teaching a class with no map for students’ success.
Now, the transformation each dance educator will want for their students will vary depending on teaching style, students, and values, but here is what she came up with - Creating a tap solo using concepts and skills covered in recital dance.
Step 3 - Work Backwards
When you know where you want your students to end up, you can then work backward to create classes that will aid your students in reaching that final transformation.
I then asked my client how each class in her unit was going to help her students reach that end transformation.
Here is what she came up with:
Week 3: Share with students expectations and the “how” of creating their solo.
Week 2: Refine specific skills selected from week 1, and introduce students to various music and tap improvisations.
Week 1: Select specific elements from recital dance to focus on for students created work.
Week 4 (last class of the Unit): Students perform a short solo using selected skills from recital dance, using inspiration from the tap improvisations viewed, with music that supports their piece.
And that is it! You have planned your unit that takes your students on a learning journey that is engaging, students growth-driven, and most importantly strategically planned for your students to experience a transformation.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and feel more confident in planning your virtual classes!
Want to hear the full recording of my coaching session discussing more lesson planning tips? Click Here To listen to the Dance Boss Podcast episode: On Air COVID 19 Coaching Session with Jorie Goins
Erin is your personal dance coach. Helping you the fired up dance educator build an impactful classroom. A Jersey girl all the way, she graduated from Montclair State University with a B.F.A. in Dance and received her Masters in Dance Education from New York University. Erin is a dance classroom expert and specializes in lesson planning, unit plan design, and curriculum creation, as well as classroom management strategies. She has over a decade of experience teaching, writing curriculum, and developing programming. Erin is the Director of a High School Dance Program in New Jersey, and the Host of the Dance Boss Podcast. To learn more about Erin visit erindpride.com, and you can hang out with Erin on Instagram and Facebook.