We’re almost there, teachers! I find the last couple of weeks of the season to be some of the most challenging. Between the stress of recital coming quickly to the boredom of the same ol’ routine, our classes can become repetitious and stale as we fight to get to the finish line.
Today, I’m sharing three ways to add novelty to your classes so they can continue to be upbeat, fresh, and exciting for you and your students. Who is ready to end on a high note!?!
- Vary Class Activities
With the many tasks that come along this time of year, it’s hard to find time to plan anything more for your lessons. After all, we’ve been doing this for many months now, so it’s easy to just fall into repeat mode. Rather than go through the motions of your lesson plans, I encourage you to find ways to add variety to the class activities you are already doing. Let’s take the freeze dance, for example. Instead of just using the same props you always use, pull out several solo prop options. This could include streamers, ribbon rings, bean bags, egg shakers, noodle sticks, etc. Have the dancers choose the prop they would like for the freeze dance. Or, instead of solo props, do the freeze dance with a group prop such as a parachute or giant stretchy band. When it comes to other class activities, perhaps add a prop that doesn’t normally call for a prop. Or, try performing an activity on a different level. For example, instead of sitting and performing Body Shape Jam by Kate Kuper, do it standing. You can even change the space of an activity. If you usually perform a rhythm stick activity in self-space, do it with noodle sticks through general space.
- Perform Recital Dances
When it’s time to practice your recital dance, try to get an audience to watch. You can bring in a different class to perform for each other, invite the caregivers in, split the class and perform in groups, or simply ask your front desk staff to step in. No audience is too small! This gives dancers a great opportunity to work on their performance skills as well as their audience etiquette (if they watch another group/class perform). You can use the room lights as stage lights by turning them off and on as well as practice how the dancers will enter and exit the stage. The more practice they have performing for others, the more prepared they will be on show day!
- Class Favorites
As the end of the year approaches, have the dancers share their favorite class activities from the season. Include all their favorites into one lesson for an epic dance celebration. In addition to them choosing the activities, have them lead and set up as much as possible. For example, when it’s time for the obstacle course, have them work together to set up the stations as well as clean up when it’s time to move on.
Enjoy these last few weeks of classes. Let these little moments of excitement lead you to the big stage. Once in the “done club”, be sure to kick up your feet, pat yourself on the back, and think about all the accomplishments your dancers achieved this year…all thanks to you. Well done!
Andrea Trench is dedicated to helping dance teachers create and deliver content that is research-based and developmentally appropriate for children under the age of 6. Her primary focus is classroom management, conceptual teaching, and foundational movement skill development in early childhood dance education. In addition, Andrea uses her 12 years of experience as a partner in a dance studio to inspire, equip, and empower educators.