Teacher Tools: Inside Miss Jessica’s Teaching Bag!

We’ve had a blast teaching Frozen themed dance classes to the preschoolers around the Denver metro area for the month of January! Our stuffed Olaf visited each and every preschool this month and received warm hugs all around. The children have loved this theme, and can connect so easily with the story and the characters. Sadly, as the month of January comes to a close, so must we also put Olaf and his friends away for now, until next year…or at least until our Princess Fairy Tale Dance Camps happening this summer! It’s been a joy watching our dancers build their very own snowmen, put Olaf together in silly ways, collect ice for the city, visit the trolls to save Anna and dance their way through frozen obstacle courses to share an act of true love to unthaw a frozen heart. We will definitely be missing January!

It takes a lot of creativity and PROPS to put on a successful class with a theme as popular and well known as Frozen. The props that we choose must be beneficial not only to the instructor, but also to the kids and should add to the overall class not deter or distract. It should also make sense! The props should be based on the theme of the class and also serve a purpose.

For the first time, we are diving into our Dance Educators’ bags to see exactly what they need to put on an incredible ‘Dance to Learn!’™ class. We will start with our Director, Miss Jessica!

IMG_6812[1]

1) Elsa Bag
I saw these at Target. I bought three of them. Miss Meg is now the proud owner of one, which she won at our last Staff meeting. I still have the other one saved for groceries, or lunches, or if my current teaching bag fills up!

2) Frozen Matching Game
I also found this at Target. We used the cards to find partners when dancing with a friend. We also played a fun game of pick a card. Whoever was on the card, the kids had to dance out that character.

3) Frozen Books
For our Terpsichore Literacy Program™ we read some short, but fun, Frozen stories. Then we danced and moved out the stories. This month we read “Summer Blast” and “Warm Hugs!”

4) Paper Hands
I have not yet used these. I bought them for an across the floor exercise and have yet to figure out how to incorporate them. I have some fun ideas  on how to incorporate these, it’s now just a matter of implementing a fun, creative and educational dance combo that also compliments our theme.

5) Stuffed Olaf
Our guest of honor this month! Olaf was given to me for Christmas by Miss Nancy. He’s now traveled with me to each and every preschool. He’s seen almost the entire city of Denver in one short month!

6) Princess Card Games
I’m using these for our February theme. They have princesses printed on them. We’re creating some fun movement games with these. They are also a great way to help us find partners when dancing with a friend.

7) Stickers
As a dance teacher, you can’t ever have too many stickers. I have Frozen, Olaf, Princess and Bugs Bunny themed stickers. A little something for everyone.

8) Masking Tape and Spot Stickers
This is great for spatial awareness. Kids, especially preschoolers, have a very small concept space, so asking them to stagger a line is pretty useless and just wastes valuable class time. So I tell them where to stand! I put the masking tape on the floor and the stickers on top, so the dancers always know where their spot is. This improves their overall learning  since they have more room to dance in space and it creates a safe environment  as spatial issues are resolved by assigning a “spot.”

8) Hearts
I can’t say too much about these, as they are part of our February theme. Can you guess what our theme is about???

9) Snowman Parts
We built snowmen blindfolded to see how he would come out. Just like Olaf, our Snowman often times didn’t turn out quite “right.”

That’s a lot to carry around in one bag! Check into future blogs for more of our fabulous dance teacher’s and their teaching bags!

Adventures with Olaf!

Dance Exploration’s January 2015 theme for our Preschool aged Creative Dance and Pre-Ballet Classes is ‘Winter!’

What better kid-friendly and, very popular, character to help us with this concept, than with Olaf! Everyone knows Olaf! He’s a silly snowman who likes ‘Warm Hugs!’ and dreams about living in summer.

Here are some fun Snowman games inspired by Olaf that you can play in your Preschool Aged Dance classes!

Build a Snowman!

This game was inspired by the following Dancing Olaf Video created by Disney Animation Studios:

What you will need:

Construction Paper
Scissors
Black Sharpie

Cut out the different parts of your snowman (ours had 9 pieces total):

2  Small Circles (Feet)
1 Large Circle (Bottom)
1 Medium Circle (Middle)
1 Small Circle (Head)
2 Arm Pieces
1 Carrot Nose
1 Head Piece (hat or hair)

Our Snowman looks like this:

Olaf game

Have the kids help you build the snowman piece by piece so they know how he’s supposed to go together.

Now it gets harder. They must build their snowman blindfolded!

First blindfold each child. Ask them how many spins they want to do (no more than 5) After they’ve done their spins have them put their snowman piece down.

After all the kids have had a turn, your snowman may end up looking more like this:

IMG_5789But it’s okay! It’s all fun and games…and the kids will LOVE it!

olaf game 2

Snow Man Prints in the Snow!

Fun for any preschool aged hip hop class!

Pretend that each dance move you do, is to make a print in the snow!

Round 1: Hand Prints
Take a few steps forward and jump down and touch the ground to get your hands in the snow!

Round 2: Snowman Foot Prints
Take a few steps forward, jump down and do a big spin on your bum. Jump up  and do it again!

Round 3: Skid Marks
Take a few steps forward. Bend down with your hand behind you, shoot both legs out and pull them back in. Miss Zoe demonstrates below:

IMG_4811

Round 4: Make a circle
After successfully making your ‘skid marks’ in the snow, next you must cover your tracks by making a big circle! Miss Stephanie’s student demonstrates in her preschool hip hop class:

Dance Exploration is a mobile after school dance and performing arts program for kids, traveling into preschools and elementary schools in the Denver Metro Area! Our ‘Dance to Learn!’™ Curriculum is enriching the lives of children through out Colorado! Book a free trial at your school! Olaf can’t wait to dance with you either!

IMG_5852