Dance Classroom Management: Double Plan

Happy Monday, Dance Friends!

Today’s dance classroom management tip, which comes from the book Teach Like A Champion 2.0 (paid link) is called Double Plan. To Double Plan is to plan both what you–the teacher–and the students will be doing at each point in class when you are writing out your lessons.

The text goes into detail about using a graphic organizer packet to guide the lesson and check for understanding in a traditional classroom setting. As a dance educator coach, I want to focus most on the idea of a T-chart that is mentioned. Using a T-chart lesson plan (i.e., get out a blank piece of paper and draw a huge T, so that there is a line going down the middle, creating two columns, and so that the top of the capital letter T allows you to label each column) allows us to write side-by-side what the students will be doing while we are saying or doing what we plan to do.

“It’s natural for teachers to write lessons that focus on what they will be doing: which key points they will cover, questions they will ask, activities that will facilitate, work they will assign, and so forth. Still, the most effective teachers I know Double Plan, that is, they plan at least as carefully what their students will be doing each step of the way” (p. 143).

Though not written in a T-chart style, you can see simple examples of Double Planning in the Dance Daze® Lesson Plans for Dance With Me and Ballet and Tap over at DanceEdStartup.com.

According to the text, “Double Planning forces you to consider how you will at each step hold students accountable for the content and quality of their work” (p. 149). I believe that Double Planning forces educators to consider the desired behavior that they want or expect during each part of their lesson.

For example, in your dance class, should students be copying your movements while you explain or should they be standing respectfully and observing as you demonstrate? If students will have props, how should they hold their props and when will they pick up their props? What should the rest of the class do while you are giving corrections to one student?

During my teaching residency program and during my years of working as a classroom teacher, I was taught and came to deeply understand that we must teach our students everything we want them to do. We should never assume that our students already know how we want them to behave or what we want them to understand unless we have explicitly taught them in many different ways, reviewed our expectations, and practiced desired behavior many times over the course of a session of classes or a dance year.

The next time you plan your dance lesson, remember to Double Plan so that you can be better prepared for a successful lesson with students behaving the way you want them to behave!

Dance Classroom Management: Warm/Strict

Today’s Behavior Management Monday Technique from the book Teach Like A Champion 2.0 (paid link) is one of my favorites. It is an extremely simple technique that I use regularly in my work as an educator, both in the traditional classroom and in the dance classroom.

This technique is under the larger category of building character and trust in your classroom. Using the Warm/Strict technique allows us to “send a message of high expectations, caring, and respect” (p. 438).

This is a short section in the book, but I really love the way that the technique is described:

We’re socialized to believe that warmth and strictness are opposites: if you’re more of one, it means being less of the other. I don’t know where this false conception comes from, but if you choose to believe in it, it will undercut your teaching. The fact is that the degree to which you are warm has no bearing on the degree to which you are strict, and vice versa. You should be neither only warm nor only strict. In fact, as the Warm/Strict technique shows, you must be both. You should be caring, funny, warm, concerned, and nurturing–but also strict, by the book, relentless, and sometimes inflexible.

In fact, you should seek not only to be both warm and strict but often to be both at exactly the same time. When you are clear, consistent, and firm while being positive, enthusiastic, caring, and thoughtful, you send the message to students that having high expectations is part of caring for and respecting someone. (p. 438)

In reading the above paragraphs from the text, I am reminded that the idea of showing caring through high expectations is a core belief of mine. As a child training in dance, I remember complaining a few times to my mother that I was being “picked on” by my dance teachers. I remember my mother explaining to me that if the teachers didn’t care or think that I had potential, they wouldn’t correct me. She pointed out the some students never received corrections and got away with doing movements incorrectly, but the fact that teachers took the time to make sure I did things the right way shows that the believed in me and knew I was not giving my best effort. Those teachers wanted me to be my greatest self. Today, I realize from the way in which I communicate with my students and the lens through which I view parenting decisions is largely based in this belief: When you truly believe that someone can accomplish great things, as if it is an undeniable fact, you won’t have a problem with helping them see themselves in the same way and encouraging them to reveal the best part of themselves through their own work and effort. This is one of the qualities that I love most about the technique of Warm/Strict–it combines caring with high expectations and reminds us that high standards are good and should be sought and desired.

Dance Classroom Management: Plan for Error

Hi there! I’m back with another awesome behavior management technique to help you have better student behavior and more engaging lessons in your dance classroom!

It is my hope that these weekly tips will act as a quick refresher for experienced dance educators and provide new insight for early career dance educators who are teaching in schools or at dance studios. When I was becoming a classroom teacher–in addition to lesson planning, backward mapping, passing our state-required teacher credentialing exams, using a constructvist approach to teaching, modeling appropriate behavior, etc.-behavior management was the skill we focused on the most. Managing student behavior is typically the most difficult skill for a new dance teacher to master. I hope these weekly tips will be useful!

Today’s behavior management technique is called Plan for Error. This is Technique #7 in Doug Lemov’s book, Teach Like A Champion 2.0. Essentially, Plan for Error works to “increase the likelihood that you’ll recognize and respond to errors by planning for common mistakes in advance” (p. 60).

In a dance classroom, planning for errors might include thinking about both procedural errors and movement errors, for example:

  • Entering/exiting routines (e.g., Should students sit quietly at the side of the room or stretch when they enter?)
  • Restroom/break procedures
  • Talking during class
  • Common technique errors such as attempting to “turn out” from the knee or ankle, not using the floor to brush into a tendu, “sucking in” the stomach instead of pushing down the ribs
  • “Hamburger hands” in ballet class

There are a couple of different ways that we can plan for error. First, we can plan for specific errors. The text says, “In fact, just writing out the two or three things you think students are likely to struggle with is beneficial to your teaching, whether or not the students actually make the expected errors” (p. 63). We can jot down important questions to ask, possible incorrect responses, and how we will respond to the incorrect answers. Another way to plan for error is to incorporate reteaching time (or differentiation time) into your lesson plan. This means that you may sometimes need to allow time to go back and correct errors and sometimes you will need to allow time to give students a challenge or an enrichment activity if they’re having a really focused day and are catching on to new concepts very quickly.

As I like to say, you should always have a large variety of tools in your “bag of tricks” as an educator, whether you’re teaching at a school, at a summer camp, or at a dance studio!

Free Creative Movement Playlists for Dance Teachers and Studio Owners

Dance Daze® Creative Movement has been one of my favorite classes to teach for a long time. (I also absolutely love teaching Dance Daze® Combo Class, classical ballet, and tap classes.)

When I was first growing Dance Daze® classes, the Creative Movement classes were the first ones to fill up. Today, I still have students enrolled for Dance Daze® Creative Movement and paid-in-full for an entire session (10 weeks of class) and sometimes even an entire year (30 classes and 6 performance opportunities spread out in seasonal sessions over 10 months) for months in advance!

Because Dance Daze® Creative Movement classes filled so quickly, and because it was an absolute blast for me to invest right back into this program, I dove into creating playlists, purchasing props, and writing detailed lesson plans for Dance Daze® Creative Movement classes right away.

If you are also starting to purchase props for your growing dance business, you may be interested in my video that went out last week for people who are subscribed to my email list: Two Tips: Episode #10. In this video, in just 2 minutes, I tell you exactly how I decided which props to purchase and how many props I purchased when I was just starting out. I also give you approximate numbers for how many props I have now and why. Also, for all of you with mobile dance businesses, in Two Tips: Episode #5, I tell you some of my favorite bags that I use to transport my dance props and how I use this to market my classes on the go!

Now that I’m working to help early career dance educators and new studio owners start, streamline, and grow their dance education businesses through my platform at DanceEdStartup.com, I am giving away some of the earliest playlists I created for Dance Daze® Creative Movement classes for FREE. You can grab each of them when you go to DanceEdStartup.com/Freebies.

I know that most new dance studios grow the fastest with their youngest students, in the same way that my dance education programs have grown. Because I want to support you in the best way possible, in next week’s blog, I’ll be providing a freebie that will tell you my absolute favorite props that me and my teachers use for Dance Daze® Creative Movement classes. I have a few of my favorites listed in the Dance Daze, Inc. Amazon Shop, but I’m going to provide the individual product links and personal descriptions telling you exactly how I use the props in class in the freebie that I’ll create for next week’s blog!

In the meantime, I wanted to let you know that you’ll now get an offer for 25% to 50% off all PAID products at DanceEdStartup.com whenever you download a FREEBIE! So if you wanted to grab some Dance Daze® Creative Movement and Dance Daze® Combo Class music playlists, they’re all 50% off when you download all of the free music playlists!

And yes, of course I’m entirely aware that you can get dozens of free playlists online almost anywhere. So why would you pay anything at all for a playlist?

I’ll be honest: I’m pretty crazy about my dance classes. I’m also pretty crazy about the music that’s used for Dance Daze® classes. (Really. Ask ANYONE who has taught classes for Dance Daze, Inc. or Dance Daze in Schools. They will tell you that THE MUSIC MATTERS.)

Dance Daze® music playlists aren’t just thrown together on Spotify and posted in random Facebook groups. These playlists aren’t swiped from my less experienced dance teachers and marked as my own. No way.

I have personally curated each playlist. I listen to every single song on the playlist, word-for-word (even if that means reading the lyrics as I listen so I know what is being said). Each playlist that is posted on DanceEdStartup.com has been tried, tested, and parent/dance teacher/child approved. And, if there are songs that I personally think won’t work well with the playlist, I’ll delete those songs before I make the playlist available for purchase because I don’t want you to have to do any major editing after you get a Dance Daze® music playlist!

Additionally, over the next 8 weeks, I’ll be posting Dance Daze® Lesson Plans and new playlists that match the lesson plans over at DanceEdStartup.com! I’m still working on developing the layout I’ll use, but I essentially want dance teachers to be able to know exactly what movements or activities we would do in a Dance Daze® class for each song.

I guess you could say I’ll be dripping out content for Dance Daze® over the next several weeks and months. But, honestly, I see it as more than that.

I know there are lots of programs out there where you can purchase curriculum. I know there are tons of places where you can get free song recommendations or grab entire, already-created playlists. I know you can even learn how to create your own curriculum for your dance studio and mobile dance business by participating in some other programs out there. That’s not what I want to give you.

At DanceEdStartup.com, I want to help you START, STREAMLINE, and GROW a dance business. I also want to provide tools that help you get to teaching as quickly as possible. I have no intentions of dragging things out and creating lesson plans that are complicated to look at or take time “understand” before implementation. It is my hope that DanceEdStartup.com products will be simple for the newest dance teacher and the most experienced dance teacher to use. Our products are GRAB-AND-GO.

Why? Because if you’re half as busy as me, I know you do not have the time to read 50 pages explaining how to teach a tendu to a 3 year old. I know that if you find an early career dance teacher who has the heart, energy, and genuine desire to teach in your dance program, you likely don’t have the time to train them for months just to teach a 45-minute class once a week. You want to support your staff and grow your program and keep things SIMPLE.

So thats’ what I’m all about and that’s what I hope you’ll get with all the freebies and paid products you’ll find at DanceEdStartup.com.

So what now? Well, you can start by heading over to DanceEdStartup.com/freebies and downloading the free playlists if you haven’t already! Then, grab some paid playlists for 50% off so that you can have even more tools to run your program successfully.

And, again, over the next 8 weeks, be on the lookout for lesson plans and new playlists from me that you can download and use in your dance program the same day.