I am a special education mathematics public middle school teacher in a self-contained classroom. The school is in a poor inner city in New Jersey.
My students (10-15 yrs old) are classified as either having a Mild Cognitive impairment or Specific Learning disability. Student come from financially and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds and all are well below their standard grade levels in each academic subject. Almost all are also very good dancers!
My students tend to grasp concepts much better when I incorporate kinesthetics into my lessons. I want to use break dance and Tai Chi instructional DVDs to discuss concepts in geometry and practice basic math skills.
In addition to observing creative movements, students will create their own math-based dances and build problem solving skills while learning to appreciate different cultures through dance. This is especially valuable because there is very little opportunity for cultural education. There are an infinite number of ways to use math and dance, and I have already had success using creative movement. It would be so nice to have a camcorder to record these activities because students' retain so much than any written test can prove.
Our activities will incude: counting dance steps and repetitions to reinforce skills such as multiplication and addition, learning about the x-y axis and four quadrant system by analyzing breakdance moves, and gaining an appreciation for integers by learning tai chi movement to understand negative and positive space and numbers.
You will make it possible for my students to show off their math knowledge whereas regularly administered state and district written tests only seem to undermine their abilities and discredit what they have learned. The fact that all of my students have difficulties in reading prevents them from showing what they have learned in math as benchmark exams always involve written questions. You will allow my students to show off their math skills and dance moves!
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