Posts Tagged ‘Emotions’
The first thing that occurs to me when I think of what I have learned from the lit review is that this assignment has given me a great opportunity to hone my skills in reading and understanding (and in having confidence in my reading and understanding of) scholarly articles. I read many more articles than made it into the summaries section, and while I had previously been dubious as to my ability to think and on a level with researchers, I have discovered to my delight that I have very much enjoyed and understood what I have read. Also, the process of discovery when seeking and finding articles online feels like Christmas Morning to me; the very idea that we can type in a subject on the library webpage and instantly be treated not only to the titles of helpful books amazes me! And in the case of the articles, many times one more click brings the entire text to my computer screen! As a woman who grew up in the 70’s (this assumes I am a grown up now, of course) and experienced years of seemingly endless searches through microfilms and the physical pages of actual reality journals, the ease with which one can now access information feels for me very close to magic.
But to the subject at hand: My research brought many new perspectives as well as strong emotions to the forefront of my awareness as a teacher. I think perhaps the strongest change in my understanding has to do with the way I now understand better the complications of communication disorders and the social disconnects that occur in the various populations of impaired children.
The Auction Lesson Plan
Students will be able to:
- Recall the definition of MEMORY.
- Use tableau, thought tracking and soundscapes to representwht they remember from the book: The Auction .
- Employ cause and effect in order to discuss how emotions stem from memories.
- Work together in small and large groups to improvise settings.
- Complete memory tasks and games to build recollection skills.
- One teacher will enter the classroom and tell the students that she has just been visiting a farm out in the country, has brought a friend to visit with them and now seems to have lost track of her. But there is a song that her friend really likes, and maybe if the children join in singing the song, her friend will find them.
- Teacher sings the sing, asking the children to do the motions with her.
- Scarecrow, scarecrow touch your toes.
Scarecrow, scarecrow tap your nose.
Swing your arms so very slow,
Now real fast to scare the crows!
Tough your head, jump up and down.
Now sit down without a sound.
- Sing the song again, this time asking the children to join in. The teacher compliments the children on their effort, and asks them to try again, just a little bit louder, and then making sure to sit quickly and carefully at the end of the song.
- The children sing the song louder and this time, and when they are all sitting the teacher in role as scarecrow enters the classroom. She is carrying a basket with corn, a stuffed crow, a model toy tractor a model toy cow and the book: The Auction. She greets the children, thanking them for singing her song because she was lost in the school and couldn’t find them.
- The scarecrow tells the teacher she has some things to show them. She one by one pulls out the items and asks the children to identify them. When she pulls out the book, she tells the children that the book is about the family where she was once the scarecrow. That the family had to leave the farm, which was sad for them, but that the family had many memories of wonderful times together.
- One of the teachers (Scarecrow? Perhaps one of the other teachers could take this part) prepares to read the book. She tells the children to pay special attention to what the little boy and the grandfather remember from living happily on the farm. While he asks the children to think about what the word MEMORY means as she is reading the book.
- One of the teachers reads the book.
- After the story, the children are asked to think about their favorite scene from the book. Each child will be asked to tell which of the MEMORIES described by the characters in the book was their favorite one. A teacher will write the memories down on a slip of paper, and put them in the basket.
- Using the time honored popsicle stick method the children will be grouped in groups of 4 ( this grouping could be beforehand as well, if we can get a class list) The scarecrow pulls a memory on a piece of paper out for each group.
- The groups will be told that they will be given two minutes to find a way to show with their bodies and their faces a picture (introduce: Tableau) of what their group’s memory is. Teachers assist with the process. After two minutes of work each group’s memory will be presented in turn, and the other children will be asked to guess which part of the book it is from. (Also introduce thought tracking here?)
And finally, to get them back to their seats…
- The Teachers will then introduce the following chant in order to get the children back to their seats. We will ask the children to pretend they are the crows. Introduce slow motion and have them practice flying away as the crows without leaving their places first. (This way no one will be hurt and the children will not be in an excited state at the end of the lesson.) Ask the children what sounds crow make, and ask them to practice making this sound as if we were hearing from very far away (it will be much quieter that way!) Then the teachers can do the chant, and the children can fly in slow motion using the long distance crowing to head back to their seats, a group at a time.
The floppy, floppy scarecrow
Guards his field all day.
He waves his floppy, floppy hands
To scare the crows away.
A picture card will be placed at each group of desks. Students will be instructed to come up with one thing that they notice about the picture. Students will be called to the carpet by the number on their picture. Each student will be asked what it was that they noticed in the picture. Once everyone has presented, students will try to place the pictures in the order that they think the story will go.
The story will be read to the class and questions asked to assess the child’s understanding of the story and the objectives. Questions include:
- What does it mean to remember something?
- What can you remember from the farm in the story?
Students will be asked to form a tableau of the farm in the story, and the teachers will begin thought tracking of the characters (animals and machinery can have thoughts, too!). Next, students will be asked to make a sound that they think they would hear on the farm and also to begin acting like whatever would make that sound. Students will head back to their desks while still in character from the soundscape.
When back at the desks, students will be asked to close their eyes and quietly think of a memory that makes them very happy. After a few moments, they will be asked to open their eyes and focus their attention on the classroom teacher.
Students will be asked to recall what their sound and movement from the first lesson was and to imitate it while walking up to the carpet. Students will move around the carpet while in character before being asked to take a seat on the carpet.
A coffee can with a toy cow, farmhouse, letter from an elder, etc. (items subject to change) will be brought in by one of the teachers. Can will be passed around the circle and each student will be asked what they think might be inside the can. After students give suggestions, can is opened and the letter read/object shown.
Students will be asked questions about the memories in the story and how they might relate to the emotions expressed by the story’s characters. Examples include:
- What was your favorite memory from the story? How did it make you feel?
- What emotions is the grandfather feeling about selling the farm? Why do you think he feels this way?
- What about the grandson, how do you think he feels about his grandfather’s farm being sold? How do you think his memories make him feel?
This week our silent movie project metamorphosed into something completely different. I have learned much this year at school, and could stand to learn a great deal more. But think I have finally learned that there should be almost no sitting around and lots and lots of getting going and doing. That yes, a bit of time focused o high pt low pt is good, but then get up and go. We have changed our project into a series of photos depicting the various scenes in Alice in Wonderland. Against them we will put the music we decide best describes the mood and emotions in the scene, and then this will all be put together into a montage.
I was trying to work through all the details involved in making a movie as I know them (and truth be told I don’t much know them) and it suddenly came clear to me that there was no way these guys were going to make it through. That what I ultimately hope to accomplish with them has little to do with the discussions and the planning that what I was trying to do with them and can just as easily and much more happily be learned through…doing. So we are now up and running. It is still disorganized, and I am sure it will still seem out of control at times, but we will all be happier. And more productive.
This week at Glenforest I stationed myself behind a desk in order to give the message: Please do not crash into me! lol – it was a fun and low key week as we watched a modern silent film and had some great discussions on what is going on in the student’s lives, at home as well as at school and talked about the conventions of the movie includkng slapstick, comic timing and the use of the music to portray emotions.
The last thing I said to the students before we parted ways on Friday afternoon was that God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise we will begin production Monday! Keep your fingers crossed…we hae spent a great deal of time preparing for this project. Now to discover: Um…can we do it?
I think the answer to that question is a resounding YES! but only with this quote firmly ensconced in our psyches: You must carry a chaos inside you to give birth to a dancing star.
Ready for the preparatory chaos!
Some of my favorite experiences have when I have had the opportunity to work in the theatre with kids who have non-verbal learning differences. I find it fascinating to observe these young folks as they try to decipher their way through an acting task, or even the first rehearsal. I have also noticed that the other children in the groups I have worked with – the so-called typically abled – have been, on the whole, incredibly patient and supportive of their affected cast mates.
I found a great post on one family’s blog here: http://blueskyplans.blogspot.com/2004/07/asbergers-and-theater.html The Dad posts very clearly the way that child with Asperger’s Syndrome can be encouraged and nurtured in his or her development of the subtle ways we understand each other and our emotions in everyday conversation through the use of rehearsal and performance experiences. He compares it to the way that special educators use social stories with kids to teach proper human responses, but points out that this kind of activity goes many steps further.
I have noticed that sometimes a child with learning differences will be introduced to me that way by his parent, but often I am the one to go the the parent after the first meeting and say, “Can you tell me a little about your child?” I always try to approach the parent with care;
it is often clear that the mom or dad had been fostering hopes that this was one place that their child might be thought of as “just a kid” with no labels, no accommodations, no special attention focused on them. But sometimes it is not enough, and though there have been tears at the thought that their young person is again having to struggle, almost all parent are subsequently eager to help me understand their child and how to best help them to be successful. For that is what we strive for – success for every child, no matter the learning style or the communication style.