Sunday, October 14, 2012

Teachers in Motion! (Video)

I was in Kansas last week working with 38 physical education teachers (both elementary and middle school).  Yes, I know it was massive, but it was a lot of fun!  The mostly hands-on, active morning was full of the core Math in Your Feet lessons: creating patterns and rhythm in our feet using my Jump Patterns tool and then combining and transforming those patterns. 

PE teachers are used to organizing moving bodies (their own and those of their students) but they are not as familiar with math curriculum, especially in relation to movement work.  It was gratifying to see them open up to the experience of both a new movement/art form and the idea of math outside the context of a textbook or a checkbook.  This program is truly mathematical 'activity'!

Here is a quick video clip of some of the the teachers' creative work.  Just like the kids do, they paired up to work through the Jump Patterns movement variables until they had created a four-beat pattern they could repeat, dance in unison (congruently) with their partner and, most importantly, be happy about.

It's a little hard to hear but the teacher in orange is saying "We combined and we reflected...alternating the reflection... [I think that's what she said -- I didn't hear her at the time either, and I guess I was expecting that the two folks on the inside would be the original pattern, and the two on the outside would reflect that pattern.  That's why I was sort of confused on tape!]  Here's what they did -- remember it's two individual four beat patterns that have been combined to make eight beats:

What was also surprising and interesting about this pattern is that the second four beats could not be reflected because it already was a reflection and congruent at the same time.  Regardless, the team wanted to make it different somehow, so that's why when the original pattern jumps forward, the 'reflection' jumps back.  After I turned off the camera we had a good laugh about how they had used the math to inform their creative work but, ultimately, it's a choreographic process and you absolutely have to stay true to the dance aesthetic as well.

That, and sometimes ignoring your students (as long as they're working on something) produces the most wonderful results!

p.s. And, if you want more  footage, it might be a while, but I have finally (!) accessed footage of students in Math in Your Feet that I've been collecting for the last couple years.  A short video summary of the program and a longer curriculum guide with an accompanying video is in the works.  It's a massive project, but I am super excited about finally being able to share the program this way.  In the meantime you can read about the program in detail by going here.

p.p.s.  We've been have a whole bunch of fun over at the Math in Your Feet Facebook page.  Why not join us?

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