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Sukie teaches high school students in a brightly lit dance studio at Xavier College Preparatory.

Lesson Design 101

Hey, new K-12 teacher! When you teach dance, there is a good chance that your administrators and even your instructional coaches will not understand your specialized language. They are likely to recognize markers of high-quality instruction, so keep this in mind when you’re trying to impress them. It’s likely these folks will be evaluating your…

When the Culture Wars Came for My Job, Part 1

This blog post picks up from “America’s Hidden Figures Deserve the Light of Day“ Hardly had the ink dried on many university presidents’ statements responding to the civil unrest of 2020 than the backlash began. I was one of the countless educators preparing the summer of 2020 to teach amid a global pandemic. I watched…

Children participating in lesson with GCU's Elementary Dance Tour cast

Teaching Kids Again: Refresher Course

(This entry was originally a social media post on my personal page.) One of my biggest joys this year has been teaching kids again. I’ve been teaching beginning contemporary for 10-12 year olds regularly, but yesterday I was asked to sub hip-hop for 6-8-year-olds with only about an hour to prepare. I said yes. I…

Three dancers of GCU's Ethington Dance Ensemble jumping in mid-air while performing choreography by Heather Beal

America’s Hidden Figures Deserve The Light of Day

While the vast majority of the nation’s educators are embracing culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy- and seeing excellent results- we are also living in an era in which a book like Hidden Figures can be labeled as “divisive content” and put under review by the local school board. When white parents say things like, “I…

Secondary Dance Challenges

Practice is the means of inviting the perfection desired. — Martha Graham In secondary dance programs, it can be difficult to create space for everything we want to address in our curriculum. Finding adequate time to develop critical dance competencies is challenge number one, especially when the typical class format is under an hour. Tasked…

A Primer on Dance Standards in Dance for New Teachers

You may be wondering… Now that I’ve landed this fabulous dance teaching position, what are the expectations regarding what I teach? Must I align each lesson plan with the dance education standards from my state? Will the standards benefit my students? Will they benefit me? Educational standards benefit the dance educator in at least three…

Addressing Behavior in the Classroom:  The ABCs

Welcome to the new school year! Your classroom is beautifully arranged. You have plans set for the entire first quarter. On the first day, everyone in your Beginning Dance class is well-behaved. Your first week with new students is quite calm, then things start to show signs of changing. If you give ’em an inch, they’ll take a mile. Turn your…

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