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!


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!


Teacher Tip of the Week: Using Placement Markers for Classroom Management

Miss Jessica uses scarves during story time and warm ups so children have a spot to sit.

Miss Jessica uses scarves during story time and warm ups so children have a spot to sit.

We’ve all had those classes: Walk in, ready to teach and the kids are running around the room like crazy people! As a new teacher, we ask politely to listen and stop running. One, two…TEN times. Finally our pleading may result to screaming, frustration and unnecessary discipline. Here’s a simple, and easy trick to help children know their spots and where they need to be at all times during dance class.

In classes, especially preschool aged, it’s helpful to use “markers” or “spots” in class to help children know where to stand, sit, or be while waiting for instructions. For warm ups, this is as simple as a mat the kids can stand on. Across the floor, it can be differentiated between two points. “Today we are going to skip from the cat to the unicorn!” (we like using stuffed animals but you can also use cones, markers, hoola hoops, etc). When it’s time for choreography, using Masking Tape (which can easily be removed) with a sticker on it, will help kids stand in their correct places! Try this teacher Tip of the Week! Let us know how you liked it!

Dancers in our City of Edgewater classes, are spread out equally in a circle when they have a spot to stand on.  Photo: Deanna Trevizo

Dancers in our City of Edgewater classes, are spread out equally in a circle when they have a spot to stand on.
Photo: Deanna Trevizo

Creating Fairy Tale Dance Camps- Magic Mirror Dance Activity

Magic Mirror Activity
Dance Exploration is in full swing planning our Fairy Tale Dance Camps for Summer 2014! One of our favorite and classic princesses to explore is Snow White! We’ve wanted to create a fun craft and activity involving the Magic Mirror that the Evil Queen uses daily to indulge her ego. When one day the Magic Mirror responds that Snow White is the fairest one of all, the Evil Queen decides to get rid of Snow White forever!

Our Magic Mirror Game and Craft is fun for campers as well as teachers.

Materials Needed:

1 Image of Snow White
1 Image of Evil Queen
Paint Brush
Double Sided Mirror

Step 1: Locate an item the size of your mirror to use as a trace.
Step 1

Step 2: Trace your Mirror Shape over your Chosen Image.
Step 2: Magic Mirror

Step 3: Cut your image out.
Step 3: Magic Mirror

Step 4: Apply Glue to the Mirror and adhere your picture to the mirror.
Step 4: Magic Mirror

Step 5: Repeat with your second image!
Step 5: Magic Mirror

Great! Now you have your beautiful Mirror! It’s time to play the Magic Mirror Game!

‘Magic Mirror on the Wall Who is the Fairest of them all?’

Magic Mirror Game

Play this game in the style of Freeze dance.

The teacher or assistant should hold your Magic Mirror behind their back. A child will come up and say ‘Magic Mirror on the Wall Who is the Fairest of them All?” The teacher will pull the mirror up whichever image appears is the most fairest!

If Snow White is the Fairest of All, the Children will dance around the room happy to the music. If it is the Evil Queen, they fall down in despair. Use a fun upbeat song from Snow White to play as the music.

Creating Super Hero Camps

This year Dance Exploration is very excited to be creating our very first Super Hero Dance Camps as a part of our wonderful Summer Dance Camp experiences. This camp will be for boys (and girls) ages 3-7. We’ve been having a blast brainstorming our ideas on how to make children become Bat Man, Spider Man and Super Man in the dance studio!


Super Hero Dance Camps

During the brainstorming process we asked questions like:

What qualities do Super Heroes have that humans don’t?

What are common types of Super Hero situations?

A reoccurring theme kept appearing! Super Heroes are most often saving civilians that are trapped in a building! That’s when we came up with the idea to have the kids punch out windows to a burning building to help the fireman put out the fire! Now where were we going to get a burning building?

We have to make one!

We wanted to share with you how we made our building from a box! Feel free to try this idea at your next Super Hero Themed Party! Hope you like it 😀

Make your Own Super Hero Building


What you will need for this project:

  1. Cut Down Box
  2. Box Cutter
  3. Scissors
  4. Silver Wrapping Paper
  5. Tape
  6. Yellow Tissue Paper
  7. Rectangular Stencil
  8. Sharpie


In the picture there are a few additional items that we thought we would need but didn’t! 😀


Part 1: Making the Windows

Step 1: Drawing the Windows

Using your Rectangular Stencil and sharpie. Trace the pattern with the stencil and evenly place your windows down your box. We ended up tracing 16 windows total for our building.

Drawing Your Windows

Step 2: Cut Out Your Windows

Cut out Windows

With your box cutter, begin cutting out the windows along the lines you traced in the previous step. (We stayed a few centimeters within our trace mark.) We cleaned up the edges with scissors.

Clean Edges


Part 2: No Longer a Box- The Transformation

Step 1: Measuring the Paper

Wrap your building in wrapping paper. We chose silver, as we thought it’s the most like a building. First we measured our box to determine the amount of wrapping paper. We were lucky enough that we only needed one sheet of wrapping paper.


Step 2: The Flip

Once measured, we flipped the box and paper so the outside of the box was now lying face down.


Step 3: Making Cuts

We cut the paper to match the folds of the box to prevent tearing when reassembling.


Step 4: Wrapping

We then folded and taped the wrapping paper along all the edges of our box.



Part 3: Open the Windows!

We then were ready to cut out our windows!

Step 1: Poke a Hole

We poked a hole in the middle of each window with our box cutter.


Step 2: Cut Out

We then cut out the middle portion of wrapping paper keeping about 1″ of the paper still exposed.

Step 4: Corner to Corner

We cut the remaining paper to the corners of the window.

Corner 2 Corner

Step 5: Folding the Edges

We then taped the edges of all our windows creating a nice, clean line.


Taped Windows



Part 4: Breakable Window Panes

Now that our windows were made, we needed to make our breakable window panes.

Step 1: Measuring the Tissue Paper

Lay a piece of Yellow Tissue paper across your exposed windows.


Step 2: Cutting the Panes

Cut the tissue vertically and horizontally along the window ledges.



Step 3: Tape Down

Tape each window edge separately.

tape edges

Part 5: Erecting the Building

Finally our building came to life when we taped it from the inside. We left the top of the building open so we could replace tissue as needed.


We are now going to test our building at our upcoming Dance Teacher Training! If all goes well, we will be adding some additional components before our Super Hero Campers get to play with it!

For more on our upcoming Super Hero Camps, or to enroll, visit: http://www.dancexploration.co/Super_Hero_Dance_Camps.html

Did you try this project? How did the building work at your event?