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make your day dance

Turning corners

May 18th, 2010 · 4 Comments · Tags: ····

It’s the end of the year.  Although I’m too busy to be blogging about it, we’re turning a lot of corners!

“Can we practice our part of the dance during recess?”  Corner turned: kids are taking ownership in their upcoming performance.

“What are we going to wear?” Corner turned: they’re starting to think like an ensemble.*

“I know my part!”  Corner turned: they know their parts!

Full rehearsals started yesterday.  That’s 50 kids onstage at a time,** with the stage open.  We’re working on spacing, timing, order, sequence, details… fixing parts and running the whole.  Meanwhile, our whole schedule is in an upheaval, to accommodate this week’s standardized testing schedule and next week’s need to give every group a chance on the full stage.

I was especially worried about the schedule change for the autism classes.  They’re none too flexible. But what a surprise!

I have the youngest, most difficult group this week, and they’ve been fabulous!  Their instructional assistants & I have been amazed — so pleased. They’ve been participating more than ever, each one joining in here and there throughout the class — and occasionally all together!  Is it because morning’s a better time?  Is it because I’ve finally found the rhythm they need [structure/free dance/structure/free dance/structure/free dance/goodbye song)? Or is it because we’ve come a long way since the beginning of the year, and they’re making [HUGE] progress?

Probably all of the above.  But what a major corner to have turned!

*We don’t do costumes, except for agreeing within each class on what general colors to wear — always a range of colors, so they can wear something they already have.

**Two classes of kids (e.g., both 1st grade classes) perform together, so that we still have a solid showing in the evening, when many kids/families can’t attend because of families at home, religious restrictions, second jobs…

4 Comments so far ↓

  • Deborah Robson

    A friend here suggests that the various autism societies and the Parent-to-Parent listserve (for parents of special needs kids) would be really interested in an article on your experiences with your classes of non-typical dancers. . . .

  • megrm

    I sure don’t feel like an expert! I only report things here cause I couldn’t find much myself… and because it’s a good way to keep up with 3-4 other folks I connected with who are doing their own work in autistic classrooms…

  • Pat Parker

    I would echo that feeling! I think the work we are doing with these children is important but I find that with the other work load – ten other pe classes
    I have no time to organize the kind of structures to that would really constitute some serious research and confidently present results. Right now it’s anecdotal observation and intuition! And the EA’s continue to assure me that it is all making a difference. There is a thesis out there for someone to do!!

  • megrm

    Yes & I’m sure there are also ways for us to gain new information & strategies, if we could only access them easily, in the moments between other classes & commitments — online courses? completed research? NDEO database? need time! If anyone comes across great resources, do pass them along!