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Physical Activities

Part of the Virtual Crew Collection

In planning and facilitating virtual crew, the goal is to nurture the sense of belonging, purpose, and agency that students need during this time by making space for them to:

  • process their emotions
  • connect with, care for, and find moments of joy and fun with each other
  • learn, talk, and think critically about the times that we’re in
  • advocate and develop skills for themselves and others as virtual learners
  • take actions, however big or small, to better themselves, families, and community.

Movement can serve any of these purposes, but is often especially good for processing emotions and finding moments of joy and fun.

A whole lesson or series of lessons can be built around movement; here is a dance-based series example for secondary students from Karmela Herrera Billones, our colleague at NYC Outward Bound Schools (click here for google doc version):

Let’s Dance

Learning Target: I can learn a new dance that I will perform with my Crew.

Overview of the activity: Dance provides people of all ages and from all corners of the world an opportunity to express themselves. Dance can evoke the whole range of human emotions, tell stories, and capture the spirit of a people in a moment. Students can submit ideas (or choose from below). Then, as a Crew, generate criteria to choose, vote on which dance, establish a practice schedule, decide on a date to perform together, and how to stay accountable to the practice schedule.


Suggested Questions:

  • Generate Ideas: What criteria should we use to choose a dance?
  • Reflect: What is going well? What is challenging? Do we need to change/adapt our schedule or accountability structure?
  • Debrief: What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them? What was enjoyable about learning this dance? What did you learn about yourself/others through this process?


  • Multi-day activity
  • Ensure accessibility for all physical abilities
  • Decide if/what behind-the-scenes roles are needed for the final performance (eg. video editing, lyrics, create props, etc.)
  • Record group practice and final performance!

Considerations for:

  • Older students: Record progress in a journal (digital or physical) with photos or drawings
  • Younger students: Assign parts of the dance
  • Staff Crew: Assign parts of the dance, encourage family/pet participation, opt to record instead of perform, share on social media


Movement can also be incorporated into whole-school virtual Community Circle or Community Crew. Rosemary Elementary in San Jose, CA has three-minute movement-based initiative in each of their weekly Community Crew videos; so far they’ve included dance, push-ups, and yoga.




Movement in Virtual Meetings

Movement can also be included in small moments in a virtual meeting. Here are two ideas from the Institute for Social Emotional Learning, from their “Tips for Distance Learning.” 

Move, Dance, Stretch

Say: “Reach and stretch your hands up to the ceiling and imagine touching the roof, even the sky. Take in a big breath. Sweep your arms out to the side like you are pushing the air down or making a large arc like a rainbow.  Breathe all the air out and as you do, feel yourself get taller. Repeat a few times. 

Then, feel your feet firmly planted on the ground and stand for a few breaths. Imagine breathing in through your feet and pulling the breath up to your head and breathing out, back through your feet. 

Notice how you feel. When you are ready, sit back in your chair. Sit up tall and place both feet on the ground. Pull your shoulders up to your ears and then away from your ears.” 

Tree in Wind

Say: “Stand as if you are a tree. Deep roots. Many branches outward. At first, sway with a gentle breeze. Now, as the wind picks up, twist and bend, yet stay rooted.”

Have an example to share? We are learning alongside you about what virtual crew can look like, and welcome your contributions. Use this form or email Sarah Norris at snorris@eleducation.org

And for treasure hunters out there, we are maintaining this public folder with everything we find. 


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EL Education

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