Teach the Best Baton Class on Zoom!

            Even though Zoom was designed for corporate conference calls, twirling coaches can use this platform effectively to teach baton classes! There are many tutorials available online to help you get started. It’s easy to download the app, learn how to host and schedule classes, and use the tools built into Zoom for engagement. Unfortunately, it is scientifically impossible to be on time with the music on Zoom. Since sound travels slower than light, it takes longer for sound to reach you than the visual information. This means that your Zoom class will not have perfect audio/visual syncopation. This is not a deal breaker! There are many positive things about teaching on Zoom. Classes can be huge! You can address every student by name, (even if you have never met them.) And, no matter how big your class is, everyone is in the front row!

            Here are some tips to make every baton class on Zoom a success!

Look professional on camera:

  • Your picture will be really small, so wear form-fitted clothing in solid colors. Choose colors that make you stand out from your background, and contrast with your skin tone for maximum visibility.
  • Clean and declutter your space.
  • Bright lighting is best for your Zoom class!
  • Find a solid and level surface for your computer.
  • Make sure your students can see your entire body.
  • Be close to an outlet, or have an extension cord readily available.
  • Tape batons so they will show up on video.

Use the Zoom video features to help make your class successful:

  • Arrive early and make sure you can start the meeting.
  • Make sure all students are muted when you begin class.
  • Use the gallery view to see everyone at once.
  • Speaker mode allows the class to see the person speaking in a large frame.
  • You can use the “pin video” function to watch someone up close on your screen without everybody else knowing.
  • To feature someone for everyone to watch, click “spot light.”

Sound:

  • Set your microphone volume to 90%.
  • Use audio settings to share computer audio.

For the best connection, and to avoid additional delay:

  • Close all unnecessary apps. Zoom can operate with your browser closed.
  • Close other devices that will compete for wifi with Zoom, including your phone.

Create your own hand sign language for Zoom:

  • Thumbs up means “I’m doing good”
  • Thumbs down means “I need that again”
  • Crossed arms means “stop”
  • Cupping the ear means “I can’t hear you”
  • Make up your own signals with your students!

Use groups during class:

  • Group students by the first letter of their name, (A-K, L-Z)
  • Group students by the location they are twirling in, (drive-way, park, backyard, garage, living room, etc.)
  • Group students by birth month, (Jan.-June, July-December)
  • Older kids can be separated into groups by having one group demonstrate the material, and the other group turns off their camera. Zoom will group the on-camera students together for easy viewing.

The chatbox can be distracting:

  • To avoid interrupting the flow of the class, have students raise their hand to ask questions.

Be the leader:

  • Bring energy to the class.
  • Decide what material will be covered, and what the focus of the class will be.
  • Make a video of the material covered in class, post it to YouTube, or send out via email or text.
  • The video will show musicality.
  • Students will be able to re-visit, relearn, and practice with the tutorial.

Corey Kinyon-Cruz

Corey started her twirling career with the Concord Blue Devils, and developed a passion for teaching both baton and colorguard before the age of 16. She holds the 1980 USTA Grand National Strut Champion title, and was a member of the US World team in 1982, 1983, and 1984, bringing home the gold in both 1983 and 1984 for Team USA! She now has a bachelor's degree in dance, teaches baton for the Syndication Baton Club, and Wheaton Dance and Twirl Teams, and is caption head for the Laguna Creek High School Colorguard.

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