I'm Doing It Wrong Again or Reality is Unforgiving

Okay so in my last post I wrote about new warm-up:

I have all the kids get into a line.  Then I teach them a short simple pattern - step heel, step heel, step heel, stamp.  All the kids do it together first, then the first kid in line does it solo.  Then all the kids do it together again, after which the second kid in line does it solo.  And we continue to alternate from group to solo until we get through the entire line.  If I think the kids still need more work on the pattern we go through the line again

This simply doesn't work long term for warm-up. Why? Because we cover at most 4 patterns (at most). There are simply too many steps to cover that we will never get to. Also this usually takes a while so it becomes a mix of warm-up and technique. The net result is that the number of steps the kids actually do in a class is greatly reduced. Yes they are getting to really hear their own feet and yes that's helping to make their steps sound better, but too many steps simply don't get done at all this way.

So what to do?

Currently I have returned to my old style warm-up where I put on music and have the kids following along with whatever steps and/or patterns I do. This allows them to do a wide selection of steps, improves their ability to quickly learn new patterns, and strengthens basic steps.

However we are still left with unresolved issue of the kids not being able to hear their own feet and/or not properly executing the steps. I don't have a good solution for this, but I have an idea that may help (I'll try it tonight in class):

During warm-up I'm going to have the kids face to the right when they have done a step/pattern correct twice in a row. If they mess up after facing the right they have to face front again. (Having them face directions is just so I can easily tell who thinks they are doing it right.)

The point of this is just to get them to focus on their feet more. In order to face right they have to do it correctly (in their estimation) twice in a row. Ideally they'll pay close attention to their feet to assess if they're doing it right or not - so even if they aren't always right, just them paying closer attention to what their feet are doing will be a big win in my opinion.

After warm-up we do an across the floor combination and then we do the "All/Solo" pattern I had tried as a new warm-up (see above) to focus in on a few steps/patterns. My kids came up with name ALSO so now I just call it "ALSO".

So that's where I'm at right now. As always it's ever-changing:)


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