When it comes to teaching dance, teachers often find themselves wishing they had 10 more minutes to fit in that final grand jeté sequence across the floor or the last 16 counts of the hip-hop combination they prepared. In a K–12 environment, a time crunch is even more likely. Between increasingly limited slots for arts electives and the challenges of navigating a block schedule, time is a precious commodity. Here, three seasoned K–12 educators share their strategies for making every minute count.
Andrea Provvisiero PS 253, The Magnet School of Multicultural Humanities, Brooklyn, New York
"Establishing a routine for class
procedures gives students confidence," says Andrea Provvisiero. Photo courtesy of Provvisiero
Class: Dance for K–5 students
Duration: 45 minutes once a week
Pro Tip #5: Establish a routine. With extremely limited class time, establishing a routine for class procedures is essential, especially when it comes to transitional moments. "When they walk in, they enter into a circle," says Provvisiero. "Once everybody is in the room, they sit down and wait for attendance. If I say we're going to warm up at the barre, I expect them to quietly go put their left hand on the barre. These are all expectations of my class." In addition to saving time on giving instructions, consistency with in-class procedures gives students confidence. "It's like safety for them," she says. "They think 'Oh, OK, we know what to do!'"
Pro Tip #6: Use peer assessment. Provvisiero has upwards of 30 kids in each of her 45-minute classes, so she rarely has time to give each student individual attention. Her solution: peer assessment. "They can work with a partner or two or three," she says. "Maybe their partner will fix something before I can get to them."
If she had more time? "I would definitely do more choreography with them," says Provvisiero. "When I do a jazz unit, I have in my lesson plan every year that I'm going to teach them an excerpt from NY Export: Opus Jazz or West Side Story, but we never get to that, because by the time I teach them a grapevine or what a pivot is, it's time to start a new unit."