The longer I facilitate interdisciplinary, arts-based learning experiences for children, the more sure I am that success in my temporal, moving classroom is best documented with the observation of small moments that might go unnoticed by standard assessment tools or a final performance. Here are a couple small moment of success from last week.
First Small Moment of Success
Dancers find their center and work from there. In Math in Your Feet, students start their steps with feet together in center. It's a place of control and potential. I am often heard saying, "Find your center..."
In our dance spaces center is also likened to the intersection of x- and y- axes. So -- zero, or origin. Where you start, where you move from. I don't spend a lot of time on it because it fades into just part of what we do. It's something we know and use.
There are a lot of other concepts and vocabulary I bring with me into the classroom and I'm always thrilled when kids start to use new words in the context of their own work. Thursday, while observing a boy's dance pattern in progress a question came up -- I thought he had five beats instead of four. One too many. He split his feet, one foot on the right side of his square, the other on the left and said, "But this is my zero." It all made sense then - zero is the place you start, 1 is the place you move to. And he knew this.
I was so proud!
Second Small Moment of Success
In my summer programming and in my family math night I bring out the math craft making supplies. A couple days ago is was straws and pipe cleaners, a few instructions and away you go. A certain group of sixth grade boys were really into it. I overheard one say, at the end of class,
"This is better than Xbox!" Total win.