Tag Archives: support for schools

Everybody Moving – Easter

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It’s almost Easter weekend and there are a lot of things we would usually be doing, but can’t. Let’s find some new, active traditions to get us moving and learning throughout the day. 

As always, please adapt the ideas to suit you and the people you’re with. Many of our photos are of the children the TRS Teachers are with at home, but the ideas are great for adults, including care home residents, too. 

Hunts With a Difference

Hunts don’t have to be saved until Easter day and they don’t have to involve chocolate. You can hunt for other things and link it to learning too. 

 
Phonics Egg Hunt

The child writes the new words/sounds they’ve learnt on cardboard egg shapes, the adult hides them and the child finds them. You can adapt this for the child’s phonic stage, perhaps using common exception words (used to be known as tricky words), the spelling words for their year group or putting sections of words on different eggs and asking the child to make words when they find them. 

Number Hunt

Print some bunny rabbits and number them. Hide them in the garden. The child has to find them, count them and sequence them. They could re-hide them in order for you too. Maybe the bunnies have to line up in order so they can come back inside too.

You now have 10 or 20 little bunnies that can be used for all sorts of number learning. Older children could make number bonds to 10 (adding up to 10). You could extend that to make number bonds to 100 by using multiples of 10 on the bunnies. 

Inside Hunt

You can visibly hide things so that they can be found from a wheelchair or walker. Or you can make it a bit harder. Adapt to your group. You could hide printed things or cardboard eggs that have been decorated by residents. 

Dance Hunt

Every time you find an egg you make up a dance move and add it to the last, a bit like ‘what’s in the supermarket van’. By the end of the hunt you’ll have a whole motif (sequence of movement). You could combine the Dance Hunt with any of the ideas above.  

 

Chance Dance Egg

Draw a giant egg on an outside floor, divide it into segments and write dance moves in the segments. If you’re inside you could do this on a big piece or multiple pieces of paper too.

Throw a dice, ball, beanbag or other object and do the movement it lands on. You can put them together to make a motif (sequence of movement). 

 

Egg and Spoon

This idea was used by Active Armchairs Facilitator, Steph, to encourage partnerships and team work. Plastic eggs are essential unless you want to turn this into a very messy game! 

Whilst seated or standing still, pass the egg from spoon to spoon, person to person. See how many times you can make it around the circle or how many eggs you can have going around at once.

You could also try a traditional egg and spoon race or the not so traditional race of passing the eggs over the head and through the legs to get to the end of the line. You need a large household for that though! 

Make Egg Shakers

For anyone of course, but if you’re going to be holding one of our Remote Live Lessons over the coming weeks, these would be a great prop to have! You can get plastic egg shapes from Poundland, usually. There are places online too though. Try Baker Ross. Fill them with whatever dried things such as rice, lentils or beans you have available or include bells and other things that shake well. Tape them up with normal tape followed by pretty washie tape and, if needed at a bit of extra tape to cover the hole. An excellent prop to join your collection. Check out our Everybody Moving – Props Blog for ideas of props you probably already have at home. 

Dance Around The Kitchen 

Turn the music up loud whilst cooking something from the list…
Easter nests
Chocolate Eggs 
Slow cooker Easter fudge
Easter cupcakes with icing nests on top
Chocolate Bark

TRS Teacher Lou made some Chocolate eggs!

 

 

 

Bunny Feet

Make or buy some bunny footprints. Lay them in a pattern and jump or hop from foot to foot. This is a great way to teach young children how to jump. For older children you can set challenges such as do it on one foot or go backwards. You could also have a prize for the best bunny impression so think about those whiskered noses, paws and ears! 

 

 

Lots of Easter themed keep moving ideas there! If you would like to see more of our Everybody Moving Ideas you can read our other blogs. Perhaps you could adapt some of those ideas to make them Easter themed? Here are the links…

Everybody Moving

Mini Challenges

Dance The Tale

Magic Spells

Everybody Moving – In Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home

Everybody Moving – Props

Please keep in touch, we love to hear about what you’ve been up to. #EverybodyMoving 

 

 

 

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Everybody Moving – Families at Home

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With so many families stuck at home we thought we’d share ideas about how you can do movement activities throughout the day. Parents are doing a fantastic job home schooling and brain breaks are really important when learning. Also, young children learn really well whilst moving, just see our Educating Dance blogs to find out more.

Many children, and adults, are doing morning PE (us included!). This blog isn’t really designed for that, we will share some excellent PE session links soon though. This blog is about little moments of activity throughout the day for fun and for bonding.

A Little Boogie

Some of the TRS Teachers have been filming themselves dancing our participant’s favourites. Georgie has filmed I Love Rock and Roll to start with and there will be others soon. Participants from some of her dance clubs will recognise them so maybe they could teach the people they live with!

You can find the videos on our Youtube channel, therightstepdc and we have created a playlist called Everybody Moving or click on this link… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=381I6FzN7N8&list=PLVZOGYX_NfRnJ7BIb7zLlu6AkxihRbulB

Have a flick through to see what you can find. 

Paint a Dance

get a piece of paper, any size, and drop some random blobs of paint on it in lots of different colours. Play some inspirational music and let your body dance to move the blobs. This could be done with fingers and hands, feet or a paint brush! Maybe you could do a huge table sized family one?

Follow The Leader

Play some music and follow the leader. Everyone in the household has to copy the leader exactly. This could be a great way to sneakily get some chores done. You could use props too. We’ll be getting a list of props we have at home out soon!

Disco Dress Up

Find sparkly clothes, accessories and wigs. Use whatever you can find. Put the disco music on, turn it up and have a family disco!

Trigger Word

This one gives the adults some power! Think of a trigger word and choose a movement such as an octopus wiggle or freeze shape such as a star (arms and legs out). Whenever the trigger word is shouted throughout the day, the children have to do the movement or freeze shape. You could also do a run to the nearest wall when the trigger word is shouted.

Air Guitar

Put on some classic rock and air guitar your hearts out.

Make a Shape

Choose a shape announcer or take turns. Say a shape and see how you can make that shape with your body. Try using your whole body, not just your hands. We’d love to see them so please share your ideas.

Material Fun

You need a quite a large piece of material that you can hold onto such as a single bed sheet or large towel and a small ball, or a few balls. Each hold a bit of the material, put the balls on and see if you can keep them there. Balfour Infants School demonstrate in the photo.

Adapt an Action Song

Choose a fun action song like the Cha cha slide or YMCA. The challenge is to change some of the movements to make your family’s own actions!

Dance Game

Not strictly all about moving, but a really fun idea. Older children could design a dance board game for the family to do. Forfeits must be dance related. Our mini challenges blog might be inspiring. 

Just a few ideas. We will add more so keep an eye out. You can also read more on our other blog posts.

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

 

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Magic Spells

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This is definitely ideal for those who love Harry Potter, but it can be for anyone interested in magic or who just wants to feel like a witch or wizard! 

This is an idea for people at any age, for any ability. Just adapt it to suit you and the people with you. 

Please make sure you have a safe space to do this in, warm yourself up appropriately and adapt everything to suit your needs.

You can begin by talking about Harry Potter or generally about books that include magic in them. This is a great idea for care homes due to the reminiscence and learning elements. It would also be fantastic for families who could have their own Harry Potter duel afterwards. There are also so many home schooling ideas that could be undertaken with Harry Potter as the theme. 

Cast Your Spells!

Each person needs a magic wand. This could be a stick from the garden, a lolly stick, spoon held backwards or, if your lucky enough to have them rhythm sticks. Some people may also have some really Harry Potter character wands at home if they’re big fans!

Next, learn some magic spells from Harry Potter. Think about the type of movements you would do for the result of each spell. Some people might know the real movements for the spells to. Swish and Flick!

Wingardium Leviosa – this spell levitates objects (or trolls) so swish and flick then hold your wand as you levitate the object.

Accio – the spell to bring things to you, you’ll have to hold onto this spell until the object arrives of course.

Alohamora – A little tap that unlocks doors.

Augmenta – Create water. Shake your wand as if water is coming out of the end.

Expecto Patronum – The Patronus charm to ward off Dementors. A big sweeping arm movement.

 

You can take this further by making up movements for how you might react to someone casting a spell.

Engorgio – make things larger

Reducio – make things smaller

Ridiculous – used for defeating a Bogart. This spell makes you look hilarious.

Expelliarmous – Disarming spell

Lumos – Turns the lights on, they might be quite bright!

 

If home schooling you could also think about your Patronus might be and why. You could draw it or make a model.

Reading is so important for all of us at the moment. Why not have a Harry Potter marathon and read them all!

 

For more ideas about how to keep moving at this time please read our other blogs designed to help people have fun and move throughout the day.

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home

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Mini Challenges

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The first of our big ideas for passing the time in an active way during Social Distancing… Mini Challenges! 

The big ideas are designed for people at any age, for any ability, but they will need adapting for the people you’re with. So make your space safe, decide what you want to do and enjoy yourself!

Mini Challenges 

Have a competition between residents or family members or do a challenge just for fun! If you want to compete, choose a few of the following, make a points table, carry out the tasks and find your winner!

Wheel Barrows

Who can do the most arm lifts in the wheel barrow? One arm at a time. See our Facebook post for examples and don’t forget to add your own photos, we love to see them.
Wheel Barrows on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therightstepdc
 
 

Describe your day

Think of a word to describe your day and make a gesture (arm movement) to go with it. One person chooses the winner or vote for the winner or placements.
 

Balance Dance

Have one person in the group choreograph a simple motif (short sequence of movement) or use one from on of our videos. Find something for each person to balance on their heads. You could try teaspoons, light books, washing up sponges etc. Everyone repeats the motif whilst attempting to balance the item on their head. The last person with their item balances wins.
 

Animal Races

You need a bit of space for this. Set a start and finish line and race with a different! Do some animal movements instead of running! Here are some ideas from Halling Primary’s Fun Fitness Club and TRS Teacher, Lou. Usually used as part of her warm up they’d be great for this challenge.
 
 
 

Limbo

How low can you go? Can you dance your way under? If you have some lei (flower necklaces) you could put them on too. 
 

Emoji Dance

A partner challenge. One person secretly picks an emoji either randomly or by choice. Do a dance to represent the emoji, but you can’t face your partner. You have to be looking the other way so they can’t see your facial expressions! The other person has to guess which emoji it is and if they’re right, each team member gets a point.

Plank

Who can hold their plank for the longest? The last to fall, wins!
 

Guess the movie 

A partner challenge, so both members will get points if you’re playing in that way. Dance the key moments or themes from a film so that your partner can guess the movie. A bit like Dance The Tale, but for films.
 

Name and Shape

Take it in turns to say your name and strike a pose. Vote for the best or top three and they get the points. We love doing name and shape in dance lessons. It’s totally adaptable to any person and any theme.
 
 
There are a few to get you going. We will add some more so please keep checking back! If you would like some more ideas for how to keep moving whilst your indoors, try our other blogs…
 

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home
 
 
 

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Everybody Moving

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The TRS Teachers are stuck inside and our participants are too. We miss dancing with everyone so we’ve decided to share some ideas for how to keep dancing through the day.

This is a series of blog posts and there will be more content to follow. You can also keep an eye out for other things we’ve shared before, such as the ‘Props Spring Clean’, ideas that will be useful for cleaning lots of different things. This is the first post and it will be followed by ideas for older adults in care homes and another for families at home

Why is this important?

The Government guidance is that everyone should exercise everyday. 0-5 year olds should be active for at least 3 hours a day, 60 minutes for 5 – 18 year olds and 75 – 150 minutes a week for adults and older adults. This is much harder when we’re all stuck inside together!

It’s not just the higher intensity activity that’s the problem though. We also need to avoid sedentary behaviour, or at least break it up with movement. This is where our blogs will help most. 

As most people are stuck inside our mental health is suffering and we need to do all we can to help ourselves. Exercise is an excellent way to do this and dance has other elements that make it even more beneficial such as music and socialising.

By releasing endorphins throughout the day you can keep yourself happier.

How Can We Do That?

Here are a couple of general ideas to get you going. We will share more as we think of them and will also have some blogs that are a bit more specific like our blog for people in care homes and for families at home. 

Big Ideas

We have written some separate posts about these three exciting ideas. Just click on the link and it will open in a new tab. 

Mini Challenges

Pick one or have a tournament. These adaptable ideas will mostly work at any age, for any ability. 
CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE

Dance a Tale

Something inspired by our love of books! Also at any age, for any ability, this one just requires a favourite story. We’ve given some examples to get your started.
CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE

Magic Spells

A fan or Harry Potter or other magical adventures? This one is for you! 
CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE

Use Social Media

Some of our dance teachers have been filming themselves doing your favourite dances and exercises from TRS lessons. Find them on our YouTube Channel and copy them.

If you know the dance from one of our lessons why not help someone you’re with learn it too?

There are also a huge number of other people who have classes on YouTube. Have a good search through. The team and their families have been enjoying Andy’s Wild Workouts, PE with Joe Wicks and play dough gym.

Lots of the TRS Teachers also work for other dance companies or have their own dance schools. They have been working hard to move their lessons online and you can now join in with them! Keep an eye on on Facebook for Bridge Academy (Clare’s ballet lessons), Make It Groovy (Jenny’s craft, story and dance lessons for young children), AMG Dance (a selection of dance for children and Dancercise for adults with Alix and her team) and Dance Vibes (Clubbercise and other exercise lessons for adults with Shanice).

Turn the Music up

An idea from Andrea Barker, Confidence Coach, who did some training with us a while ago. Turn up the music and have a dance, wiggle, silly time! Choose some music you can’t help, but move to. It really works and is so uplifting! You could try ABBA, Phil Collins, Disney Singalong, Queen, 70s Disco songs, Happy by Pharell, Can’t Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake or Sing a longs like Daisy Daisy and Lambeth Walk. TRS Director, Rebecca and her daughter, Gaia demonstrate in the TRS Office.

When the TV says…

The basics of this game might be familiar to some!

Allocate different movements to words. For example ‘Hello’ is a star jump, ‘Yes’ is air punch etc. When someone on the television says ‘hello’, everyone has to do a star jump.

You could also put a hat on the corner of the screen and do a move everytime someone wears it!

Bubble wrap pop

If you happen to have some bubble wrap, lay it on the floor or table, turn the music up and pop, pop, pop in as many different ways as you can.

For adults in care homes this is great for fine motor skills. For families, this will probably lead to some larger movements such as rolling and stamping.

 

 

Skiffle Band

Skiffle is a music genre from the US in the 1920s. Musicians used cobbled together instruments, some manufactured and some home made, to perform jazz, blues and folk music. It also involved a lot of dance.

For this, everyone needs some sort of made up instrument. They used to use wash boards! Use your imagination, this can be fun in itself. Then you just have a jam and enjoy the noise!

For young children, as Harleigh demonstrates in the photo, this is just sensory play. For older children, young people and adults this could lead to a performance of a piece if you’re clever!

Shadow Puppets

This can be done with hands only, actual puppets or anything else! You need a shadow wall which is reasonably plain and flat. You could do this in the evening when the natural light goes away. Turn the lights off and hold a torch behind the person being or holding the puppet. Admire the movements they create and the story they tell!

 

Now that you have some initial ideas, choose your favourites and give them a go.

If you’re home schooling, schedule the ideas in for brain breaks, as part of PE time or as just for fun things to do as a family. 

Next, try our other Everybody Moving blog posts for more ides and keep an eye out on our social media for more ideas, challenges and videos. 

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home

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Welly Walk, Welly Dance

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Children love a welly walk. They love to be outside and they love to explore. Why not bring the welly walk into the dance class and extend the fun! Some things to try for schools, pre-schools, nurseries and when at home.

What is a Welly Walk?

A welly walk is basically that, a walk in wellies. Along the walk the children are encouraged to collect things they see. At this time of year that could be leaves, acorns, chestnut cases and other things that have fallen from trees. It often involves some puddle jumping and could include some leaf kicking.

 

Into Dance…

There are lots of opportunities for movement play whilst on the welly walk, but I’ve put together some ideas for in a dance class, continuing the fun and extending the learning. These things can be done with parents at home or with teachers at school.

Collections

Collect things from the welly walk and bring them into the dance class as inspiration or props. A leaf is great for a cool down. Ask children to sit or lay down comfortably, leaf in hand. With calming music on, they can copy you or interpret your direction in their way. You could begin with stroking the arms, don’t forget the elbows. You could do a tickley arm pit or chin. You can twirl the leaf between the fingers. It can be balanced on different body parts. There are lots of things that can be done during cool down.

Link to English

Use the welly walk to encourage the use of different types of descriptive words (float, swish, splash, slide) then choreograph a dance using the words. This is an easy way to help children be more creative with the types of movements they do. For example, if you ask a child to pretend to be a falling leaf it’s likely that they will reach up and then wiggle down to the ground. If you ask them whilst also reminding them of some of the words they’ve thought of, their movements will be very different. They might begin high up, swaying, twitchy, swoop and then get lower as they float, twist, fly and land softly. If you don’t have real leaves, conkers and twigs etc. for this you can get craft leaves that work well throughout the year!

Roots Game

Whilst on a welly walk, roots are great for inspiring movement, especially big gnarly ones that stick up out of the ground. When back inside you can play the roots game and remember what you did. Set up some bases around the space and at each base the task is different. Tasks could be root jumping (like a ski jump over something), root balancing (find something to balance on in a certain position or balance whilst walking along it), root hopping (a row of roots that need to be hopped or hurdled over) etc. This is circuits for dance and with a theme!

Gumboot Dance

Quite a specialist area, we have dance teachers who are trained to deliver authentic classes, but you could take some aspects of this African dance style into the dance class. Put wellies on and dance in them. Use the wellies to inspire stamping, clapping and welly slapping rhythms!

Acorn, leaf, muddy puddle game.

Get some pictures of these things and/or use your voice to announce each thing. Start slowly. Ask the children to improvise around each item, use descriptive words. See my blog about improvisation for more about this. Once they have some movement material for each one, speed up your announcements. A slow breeze to start with then speeding up so they are moving between each one quickly, switching movements fast and getting excited as they go. This idea could be used as a warm up or for a game anytime in the lesson.

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Dance Ideas for PSHE

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As a subject, the content, aims and reasons for PSHE change often. It has changed names multiple times since I was at school and most schools have different approaches to it. However, at it’s core, PSHE in primary schools, generally always covers similar values and subjects.  

PSHE stands for Personal, Social and Health Education. Sometimes it is taught to a whole class in a normal setting or in circle time, sometimes it is taught it small groups. It is also taught all of the time in terms of personal development, values and general knowledge. This means it is an excellent subject for a cross-curricular dance class. Dance also teaches many of the life skills found in PSHE without the teacher having to focus on a particular aspect. For example, team work and friendships are seen in all dance classes.

In this blog I’m going to share a few dance ideas for just a few of the subjects covered by PSHE. These could be put towards a dance class or used as stand alone fun.

Friendship

Dance About You – Put children into partners. Start with someone they know well, you can repeat the task with someone they don’t know at another time. Put a short piece of music on (about 2 minutes, Come on Everybody or Blue Suede Shoes are good) and let the children ask each other questions until they find out a new thing (3 things if able) about each other. Now they work alone for a few minutes to make up a movement or sequence about the new fact(s) they’ve learnt. Share the moves with partners and then the whole class. All the movements or sequences could be strung together and performed by the whole class as a team and this would be nice at the start of the year with a new class or if more togetherness or team building is needed within a class.

Teamwork

The Spider Web – Everyone holds onto the giant elastic in a circle. Teacher says a name and that person moves across the circle. This repeats with dancers going over and under the elastic in different ways until it is a big web. Now they have to undo the web! This is a dance class though so everything needs to be done with an interesting way of moving.

The Mexican Wave – you don’t just have to do this the traditional way, other movements can be performed in a similar way and in dance we call this is cannon.

Country Dancing – As a whole dance style, country dancing is great for teamwork. A do-si-do (moving back to back around your partner) is a well known example. A Grand Chain (Holding hands) or Weave The Ring (Not holding hands) are excellent whole class team work based country dance elements that could be used in a dance or as an exercise. All stand in a circle face your partner next to you, holding right hand. Move past your partner and towards the next person and hold left hands. Keep passing holding right then left hands as you go.

Trust

There are a lot of dance and drama trust exercises such as trust falls and trust walks and they are well documented. The following idea is just for dance though and it is also great for teamwork.

Trust Motif Development – teach a simple motif or allow the dancers to choreograph one. It must all be standing up. Once they’ve learnt the motif they have to partner up and choose a prop. Things that work well are solid, about half a metre in length and are not heavy. For example, scarves or giant pipe cleaners. To simplify, the teacher can give everyone the same prop. The partners hold the prop between them and have to perform the motif again, but with the prop connecting them. The motif might develop in various ways, it might be slowed down or one person might use the opposite side of the body, for example. To make things more exciting, the partners could unknowingly choose how to hold the prop. They choose from the options hand or foot, face front or face back and right or left. Then, once the teacher has explained, they hold the prop between them. For example, hand, facing each other, left hands.

Confidence and Honesty

Telling the truth is often about having self confidence and that’s why I’ve put these two together. It’s also about how truth and lies feel to other people. It is quite a concept to grasp and from around Year 2 as it becomes more complicated than just, telling the truth is the right thing to do. You could use a story to support learning around telling the truth and use a cross-curricular approach in the dance class. The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig or, of course, the very famous, Pinnochio might be helpful

Peer feedback is good way to encourage positive, helpful, constructive truth telling. Ask for Nice and Helpful feedback, You did this and now you could try…

To encourage confidence in dance class I try to find an opportunity for every young dance to do a movement or shape on their own near the start of class. This could be during the register or part of name and shape. It’s important thay there is a ‘way out’ if they don’t know what to do. This could be by copying someone else’s idea or the teacher using whatever position they’re standing in as their shape or a move such as a shoulder shrug or head shake if they have indicated they don’t know what to do in this way. Either way, they have taken part and got through it.

Respect and Anti Bullying

Your Daily Dance has lists of music by theme, including one for songs about bullying. Appropriate versions would need to be sought for many of the song, but the list is a very useful starting point.  https://www.yourdailydance.com/songs-about-bullying/

Greetings Warm Up with a difference – Everyone walks around the space and, when teacher calls a number or colour, or holds up a sign or makes an instrument noise (there are lots of options!), they perform an action. Here are some examples.

– High five the nearest person
– Hand shake with the nearest person
– Fold arms and stop in front of the nearest person then turn away
– Stand in front of the nearest person with your arms and legs out stretched (open and vulnerable)
– Loop arms, link together

Afterwards, talk about how the actions made you feel. Progress this further in other lessons by asking the dancers for their own ideas, perhaps focusing on things that make them happy or things they think will make others happy.

 

I’ve just scratched the surface of how dance and pshe go hand in hand. Other aspects such as Golden Rules, worry and internet safety could all be explored using a cross-curricular approach and the things I have covered could be part of a lesson or scheme of work. As always with our work in Educating Dance, the options are endless!

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Inspiration April

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This months our social media focus is Inspiration. We’re going along the lines of April, new and inspiring things! With this in mind, we thought we’d share what inspiration we use to plan some of our dance classes and Georgie has written a blog about it. It’s just a little introduction to the many things the TRS Teachers get up to, but it might be helpful when planning a dance lesson. Enjoy!

Written by Georgie, Manager of TRS South Kent

There are so many things you can use for your inspiration for dance classes, from the style of dance to the class topic of the term. Here at TRS we follow guidelines to help us both in our Educating Dance classes as well as our usual dance clubs.

 

You can start with the learning styles to develop your inspiration for your class. These include auditory, visual, kinesthetic (practical/learn by doing) and read write. This will help the dance teacher appeal to all pupils and their various learning styles. We also explore social inspiration and tactile inspiration alongside this. 

Visual is a popular one to use in our classes by our TRS facilitators. Using images throughout the lessons allows those who are visual learners to really grasp the idea. You can use images such as the stages of growth for a plant, the water cycle as well as lots more. Also using videos from online can be very useful and participants respond well to them.

 

For auditory inspiration you can use music, perhaps a particular song that you like or think that the participants will respond well too. Sounds like rain forest, the sea etc. would also work or you can even use some of the participants to create the sounds for the dance, using instruments, instruments they’ve made themselves or body parts like in Gumboot Dancing (photo on the right).

Tactile can be very exciting to use as inspiration, especially for younger ones. You can use different materials and express how they feel through movement, furry, shiny, slimy, rugged, squishy and so on. You can also bring in objects for the participants to explore and study like historical artefacts. Props are also used in many TRS classes and can come in all shapes and sizes, whether you buy pompoms or make your own jingle sticks, these are a great to get everyone involved. A TRS favourite is our tactile scarf. It is made from lots of different materials all tied together to make one giant scarf.

There are also a lot of practical ways to find inspiration for your dance class. These are experienced things so they are often things that are experienced elsewhere and brought into class in other ways such as current events. Fireworks (the bonfire flames in the photo on the left) is a fun theme. You may want to use certain holidays like Easter or even what’s happening around us now. For example, when The Greatest Showman came out everyone was so inspired and excited to use the ideas and music.

Styles of dance can be used as inspiration, you maybe looking at a world theme and you could explore different types of dance from around the world such as Latin, line dancing or Bollywood. Practical inspiration can be as closed or open as you want it to be when using it in your lessons or for your inspiration and it can be shown through other sorts of inspiration that is auditory, visual or tactile. 

Book Week is a great opportunity for us to use read/write inspiration. Books are always a useful tool.

Other ways to find inspiration can include things like focusing on a particular area you want to develop with your participants, for example motor skills, balance or extension. 

So as you can see there are so many ways to find inspiration for your dance class. You can also use a combination of these ideas, especially the learning styles as that way you can ensure that all your participants are gaining from the lesson. TRS teachers will always use a combination in their lessons. Start off with a focus and then you can extend and explore further.

We also love hearing your ideas at TRS, they inspire and challenge us as teachers and that always makes our classes interesting and enjoyable.

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Is My Dance Teacher Qualified?

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How do you know if a dance teacher is qualified and experienced enough to teach what you’ve asked them for? Unfortunately,  the answer is complicated. There are many routes into dance teaching, just as there are many dance styles. In this blog post I will help you decide whether your dance teacher, or prospective dance teacher is suitable. This will also help trainee teachers work out what route they want to take for their career.
 
A combination off all of the following will make for a well-rounded dance teacher. A qualification alone doesn’t necessarily mean a good teacher and, as with all teaching, personality and passion are also a big factors!
 

Qualifications

In most professions these are the key to discovering someone’s suitability. In dance they go a long way to doing so, but you need to points 2 to 4 in mind as well.
 
If you want a class to lead to dance exams  you will need someone who has qualified with the relevant governing body. For community dance and creative dance you are much better off with someone who has a dance degree or, better yet, a DTALL. For dance with specialist groups such as older adults or people with disabilities a dance teacher should have further training in addition to their degree. This is normally part of their Continued Professional Development (CPD), but it could have been a specific part of their degree or as a qualification such as Green Candle Dance Company’s Diploma. For cross-curricular dance look for a degree as well as experience or training related to the curriculum because this is a very creative discipline that involves thinking outside the box as well as dance talent.
 
Examples of qualifications held by TRS Teachers are – BA (Hons) Degrees and Masters Degrees in dance, various dance teaching qualifications from ISTD, RAD etc.
 

Experience

Once a dance artist gains their initial qualification, they will need to start to gain experience.
 
This could be from a structured course such as Loop Dance Company’s DASP (Dance Artist Support Programme) or by going to another teachers’ lessons for observations and team teaching. At The Right Step we have teachers who have taken both routes. Neither is better than the other because both are so varied and everybody learns differently. Many teachers do a combination of both. It is at this stage that the dance artists discover their passions and focus their teaching. The more classes a teacher experiences, the better.
 
Excellent dance teachers will always be learning from and inspired by their peers and we have a mentoring programme to help teachers progress.
 

Legislation

Unfortunately there are surprisingly few things that a dance teacher must legally have and, unless they belong to a governing body or are teaching for a larger company such as TRS, there is probably no one to check up on them. That doesn’t mean dance teachers working alone don’t have what’s needed though. It just means the place they’re working in needs to check for it. If the class is outside of an organisation such as a school or care home, parents and participants should ask the dance teacher for the relevant things.
 
Every dance teacher must have a DBS check to work with children, even whilst gaining experience and not yet teaching themselves. Public Liability Insurance is just as important. If the dance teacher is working for you via a larger company, that company must hold sufficient Employer’s Liability Insurance. It is not sufficient for only one of these insurances to be in place.
 
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is relatively new, but all dance teachers must be compliant. In addition to the TRS compliance documents, the TRS Teachers also have their own. 
 
Though there aren’t many legal requirements, there are lots of things that are good practice, and looking for these things is more likely to lead you to someone meeting higher teaching standards within class as well.
 
A good dance teacher will have First Aid training and Child Safeguarding Training. Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults (SOVA) training is also available. These training sessions are good for the safety of their participants and the teachers themselves. They also provide teachers with the knowledge of procedures they should have in place.
 
An excellent dance teacher might also be a member of a governing body such as People Dancing and will have Policy and Procedure documents (inc. Risk assessments). Many of the TRS Teachers are members of organisations. The TRS Teachers don’t need their own policy and procedure documents for the work they do for The Right Step because they use ours.
 

Continued Professional Development (CPD)

Dance Teachers should always be learning and experiencing new things. The dance world is every changing and to be an excellent teacher they must stay current and inspired. To do this an excellent dance teacher will go to workshops, take short courses and do dance class for themselves. This is all at a cost to them and is one of the things that means an excellent dance teacher should be paid more.
 
The list of CPD is endless and ever-changing so it is difficult to know what is good to see on a CV. You can ask for certificates, check the course background (such as course provider and whether it is accredited) and ask the dance teacher what they learnt from it.
 
CPD helps dance teachers specialise. A dance teacher is best if they are able to teach where their passion lies.
 
CPD is essential in the dance world for learning more about specialist subjects such dance with specific mental health conditions, dance with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s or dance in education such as cross-curricular dance. This is because their aren’t enough specialist accredited courses and, if there are, they are often very costly. A dance teacher has to balance their earning and their learning. If they are not paid enough, they are unable to continue to learn.
 
CPD doesn’t always have to be dance specific, it can inform practice, such as Chair Based Exercise Training or the Exercise to Music course. The Active Armchairs facilitators are Dementia Friends and this helps them support the people they work with in the right way. 
 
 
 
At The Right Step we strive for high quality dance for everyone. This means we keep our prices reasonable, paying the dance teachers fairly, and we support them in their careers. We work with trainee dance teachers at Level One right through to highly experienced practitioners at Level Three. We have progression routes for their careers and support them with our mentorship programme, annual reviews and celebrations of success. We are always welcoming new members to the team and if someone would like to get in touch they can find their local branch by clicking HERE
 

Moon Zoom!

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In celebration of Science Week (this week) and Book Week (last week) I’m going to share the ideas behind one of my schemes of work, Moon Zoom! Something helpful and useful for school teachers and dance teachers looking to plan a cross-curricular dance class.

Moon Zoom was designed for Year 1 at Miers Court Primary School. They had been reading ‘Man on the Moon’ by Simon Bartram so this was the inspiration for the dance class. I added jumping as a dance focus and we talked about stamina and various health benefits throughout the term as well. You can read the original blog post here: http://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/2016/12/15/moon-zoom/ 

When planning a cross-curricular dance class, we (the Educating Dance teachers) use a process that’s very similar to that of a school teacher. We do start with a topic brainstorm and some research though. The schools give us such a varied selection of sometimes challenging subjects that we need to make sure we’re on the right track! 

My learning aims and objectives were broken down and differentiated before I continued my plan. It was important to me that I taught the class some facts about travelling to the moon, but I didn’t want to destroy the magic of the story either! I also wanted pupils to learn about choreography, experiment with how their body moves (the different ways to jump!) and to use their imagination. Other outcomes included a class dance that would be performed to friends and family at the end of term. 

Once I had the learning aims and objectives I could get on with piecing together the ideas I’d had in my earlier brain storm. I talk about these in the original blog post so I won’t go into detail, but this is the fun bit for us dance artists and we do often get carried away. To help me I had the TRS cross-curricular flow chart (this helps us structure the plan as a whole), I knew from training years ago how to structure a dance class and I also included starters and plenaries, important elements for lessons in schools. 

The first few lessons were mostly for exploring the theme, but we used almost all of the dance moves learnt and created in these lessons for the final dance as well. One of the things we did was a journey dance. I love improvisation journeys and my blog, Improvisation, says more about them. This improvisation was for our warm up from the second lesson and it was about how Bob (the astronaut) went from his house to the moon. Along the way the dancers had to show how Bob could cycle, click the engine on and move as though it were rumbling beneath them and look out at the stars in all the space. 

As the lessons progressed we included short rehearsal times so that the class could remember what they had done before. As they were year 1 I included a lot of improvisation so rehearsal was mostly to remember sequences rather than movements. 

I also introduced Year 1 to choreography. Although I do choreography from Year R, this group hadn’t done any before. We did alien movements, something deliberately very abstract, and I gave them lots of pictures from the book for inspiration. They only had to choreograph one movement each and I structured the main task (choreograph a motif) into lots of short tasks to make it easier for them. I was very pleased with the result and Year 1 were very proud of themselves. 

The final few sessions were for structuring the dance. This involved putting together all the elements learnt and rehearsed in previous weeks. Each group performed separately, but also as a whole class within the dance. There was even a gigantic rocket shape and a bow to finish! 

As well as teaching cross-curricular dance, we provide CPD for school teachers to give them the confidence and tools to teach really good cross-curricular dance classes themselves. Find out more here: CPD for School Staff

 

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