Zoom Fun, not Frustrating!

The fun really starts when you get familiar with the Zoom medium! Try to immerse yourself in all the free tutorials that Zoom has to offer, once you are comfortable with the features on Zoom, your classes will become more comfortable, and as a result, more enjoyable. Practice teaching on Zoom, learn from your mistakes, become a master of this new way of teaching!

  1. Notify families of Zoom link, ID and password through email and text. Provide clear written instructions on dates and times of classes. Here are some additional items you can include in your communication to prepare your athletes and parents for class time:
    • Give detailed information about the dress code.
    • Remind them of items they will need for class; baton, water bottle, any props you will be using.
    • Talk about safety, and being aware of their surroundings, removing distractions like pets, television, etc. Class is much more fun in a good setting!
    • Remind athletes about wearing the appropriate footwear for their space, tennis shoes outside, or on any smooth surfaces like tile or hardwood, socks work well on carpet.
    • Have students put their correct “display name” in when logging in to Zoom.
  2. Keep contact list with parent phone numbers and email addresses handy in case of technical problems during class. Even the most prepared coach can lose connection.
  3. Arrive early to let athletes in from the waiting room, and say hello to kids and parents. Be prepared to stay at least 5 minutes after class time to answer questions and say your goodbyes.
  4. Utilize normal good teaching technique. Vary your distance from the camera during class. Use the student’s names much more often on the Zoom platform. Face the front as much as possible, mirroring the athletes. Call out right and left throughout class to clarify what hand, foot, and direction is being taught. Make it very clear that you want them to “follow behind you” when you turn to the back, (younger athletes still might try to turn to face the back as well.)
  5. Have your lesson plan ready, and easily accessible. The stress of manipulating technical issues that arise throughout class, the glitches, loss of connection, you or the athlete getting frozen, remembering to admit students back in to the session when they get kicked out, late arrivals, etc. give new meaning to the word “multi-tasking” and can distract you from your teaching plan.
  6. Divide the class into distinct segments:
    1. Welcome/hello, review rules of engagement;
      • safety
      • mute and hand signals
      • remind them to re-login if they lose connection
    2. Warm up and main material from your lesson plan (this will be your longest segment.)
    3. Something that contrasts from the main material of class, get creative in this segment;
      • tricks using alternate apparatus like stuffed animals, hats, scarves
      • guided improv
      • games like “simon says” or a scavenger hunt
      • show and tell, split them up so they can watch each other!
    4. Ending announcements/reminders of upcoming events, and goodbyes.
  7. If you have the flexibility of more than one coach, use breakout rooms, you can rotate the coaches after a determined amount of time.
  8. And, speaking of flexibility, it’s a great time for athletes to work on their flexibility! Create a poster to acknowledge the students who have achieved a complete split, right, center, or left. Have athletes send a picture of themselves in their split, then post the chart where all students can see! Since the process of stretching toward your complete split takes consistent, dedicated effort, make sure to provide athletes with the proper exercises to guide them in this endeavor.
  9. Give the class an assignment to record and send back later in the week to keep them engaged in their lessons. This could be their favorite trick, or the newest section of the routine you are working on.
  10. Record sessions and send out for athletes and parents to use as reference for practice. The week before the last class of the session, record any tricks, routines or sections you have worked on for your ending “show.”

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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