7 Easy Steps To Create
A Progressive Series Of Classes
From Beginner To Advanced
In Less Than 1 Hour
Creating a series of progressive classes that build off of each other AND keep your students excited, wanting more, can feel like an overwhelming task that will take hours, or even days.
How do you start? What should come first? How do you keep it interesting? How do you make sure to offer variety? How do you keep students coming back for more?
This 7 step plan will answer all these questions and make the process easy for you.
The Benefits of the Plan
Note: [expand title=”You can view additional info and examples below by clicking any text with arrows like this:” trigclass=”arrowright”]Click the text again & this info will disappear.[/expand]
1. [expand title=”If you want to see results, you must implement the plan!” trigclass=”arrowright”]
Don’t worry, we have made it super easy! Skim this whole article & then go thru the the 7 steps one at a time. In less than 1 hour, you will have a basic progressive class series ready to go.
2. [expand title=”After you read the plan, set aside 40 – 85 Minutes to implement it.” trigclass=”arrowright”]
We have given you a minimum and maximum time that you should spend on each topic so you can power thru this and have a solid basic outline within 40 minutes, or delve deeper into your knowledge spending as much as 85+ minutes.
3. [expand title=”Manage your time carefully. It is your most valuable resource.” trigclass=”arrowright”]
WATCH OUT! The more time you spend on Step 1, the more time the rest of the steps will take.
We recommend setting a timer for 10 minutes and forcing yourself to stop at the 10 minute mark. After you have done steps 1-6 (setting timers along the way), you will have a plan that you can implement and it will have taken you less than an hour!
Step 7 is about refining the process, so you can always go back and spend more time perfecting it after you have a working version.
4. [expand title=”Use an Early Warning Alarm & an End Now Alarm” trigclass=”arrowright”]
If you have problems keeping to time limits (like me), set an “Early Warning Alarm” 1-2 minutes before the official end time for each step AND an official “End Now Alarm”. Try it! You might be amazed at how awesome your creation is even when you stick to your time limits (especially if you give yourself the early warning).
Plus, this is great training for learning to end on time (which is often a skill dance teachers could improve).
Step 1: (10 – 20 min) [expand title=”Brainstorm all the topics that you love to teach.” trigclass=”arrowright”]
A few examples from my list:
Bonus Benefit: Brainstorming your topics is also great for getting more students and getting hired for workshops more often! The more clear you are about what you offer, the better.
Step 2: (5 – 15 min) [expand title=”Group your topics into categories.” trigclass=”arrowright”]
I have three categories that make sense based on my topics listed above.
Step 3: (5 – 10 min) [expand title=”Rearrange each category of topics from beginner to advanced.” trigclass=”arrowright”]
Musicality Topic Order
Connection Topic Order
Miscellaneous Topic Order
Step 4: (5 – 10 min) [expand title=”Create your progressive class order by rotating topics.” trigclass=”arrowright”]
Step 5: (5 – 10 min) [expand title=”Label the natural energy level/feel of each topic.” trigclass=”arrowright”]
Although each topic might have various energy levels throughout the topic, they usually have an overall energy level as well. I label them based on this overall energy level and also label any clear changes.
Step 6: (10 – 20 min) [expand title=”Adjust your topics to have the energy flow that you want.” trigclass=”arrowright”]
I like to start and end with high energy but my last class in the example above currently ends with medium energy. I can either adjust the way I teach that class so it ends with high energy, or I can switch class 7 with class 9 so I end on a high note (or both).
I also like my topics to flow smoothly, usually avoiding having more than 2 topics of the same energy level back to back and usually NOT jumping from Very High to Very Low (or vice versa). The transition from topic 2 to 3 above currently goes from low to very high, so I might want to make sure that the transition doesn’t feel too abrupt. I can do this by adding a medium to high energy game or exercise at the end of topic 2 so it ends on a higher energy and smoothly transitions the energy for topic 3.
Exceptions: Sometimes, I want to emphasize a high (or low). I love ending a series with a high energy but sometimes the last topic is medium energy and it really is the best topic to end on. I can make the medium topic feel higher by making the topic before it very low energy. This makes the change of energy seem more drastic so the medium energy ends up feeling higher.
After playing around with it, here is my adjusted order:
Step 7: (A lifetime) [expand title=”Grow & refine your topics.” trigclass=”arrowright”]
If you want people to continue taking classes with you for a long time, you need to keep growing your knowledge base and adding more content to your arsenal. For example, instead of only having 5 musicality topics, I now have 17.
My Current Musicality Topic Order
[expand title=”Topics can be full classes but they don’t have to be.” trigclass=”arrowright”]
Some of your topics might go well in the same class. Sometimes you might find that a topic only takes half of class (or takes 1.5 classes) to cover. The great thing about planning your classes with such a clear outline is that you can be more flexible with how things flow at a moment’s notice, confidently knowing that you can easily adjust your next class because it is so well prepared.
[expand title=”Details about choosing the topic order.” trigclass=”arrowright”]
It is generally set up from things that are more clear and obvious (emotional changes & volume changes) to things that are less obvious (subtle phrase changes) or harder to do (texturing & single rhythms vs double rhythms). I also might want to challenge them with one topic and then give them something easier in the next topic. Plus, I might come back to some of the topics several times rather than try to get them perfect on the topic before moving on. All of these additional factors can make your basic plan even better!
[expand title=”How to keep students coming back for more?” trigclass=”arrowright”]
By creating this plan you can always know what you are teaching next. At the very end of class, make sure your students know too. Students don’t always show up every week, even when it is a series of classes they already purchased. Improve the odds that they will show each week by quickly showing them what you will be working on so they can look forward to it all week long. Make sure it looks or sounds exciting! This one minute demo is more important than you might realize.
1. [expand title=”Set aside 40 – 85 minutes to implement this plan. Put it in your calendar or set an alarm right now.” trigclass=”arrowright” expanded=”true”]
It is super easy to read something, bookmark the webpage, and forget about it forever. Don’t let this happen to you! Don’t miss out on all the benefits just because you didn’t set an alarm. [expandsub1 title=”Remember the Benefits” trigclass=”arrowright”]
2. [expand title=”After you create your plan, tell us about it in the comments below.” trigclass=”arrowright” expanded=”true”]
If you want, share a link to your plan and start a discussion about what you like/dislike about it. Maybe someone else will be nice enough to give you some feedback on your plan! If nothing else, you will be giving inspiration for others to create plans too (which is awesome)!