developmental needs of children in my classroom are very diverse
and challenging. We serve 390 students in grades K-6. We are temporarily housed in a newly renovated school located
one mile from our old site due to mold.
Most of all of the students are bussed in from their
Our population consists mostly of these ethnic backgrounds:
Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and African-American. These
groups make up about 85% of our school.
About 85% of these students speak a language other than
English at home. Students
here are predominately non-native speakers of English.
The language barrier often is a challenge when I need to
talk with a parent on the phone or at conferences.
Not only are these students ESL (English as a second
language), but 90% receive free and reduced meals.
Most students live in low-income housing and are at the
poverty level. White Center is known to be an area with low-income
housing for many poverty families. Because of some of the
economical and language differences, often our scores on statewide
tests are lower than surrounding schools and districts.
However, for what I know and see of my students’
accomplishments despite circumstances, we do very well.
Because of the cultural identification my students’
experience of wanting to be American yet wanting to hold on to
their culture, my students struggle as to who they are.
I would like to include in my curriculum more of an
awareness or a connection to their culture.
I would like to develop a way to do this by creating a unit
that involves the study of their country and culture by using all
various modalities of the arts including artwork itself, movement
through native dance, drama, technology, storytelling, and
I am also involved next year with a challenge course in
which I am going to be receiving training on.
The challenge course is a yearlong commitment involving my
class and me. Basically,
this yearlong course focuses on teamwork, trust, empathy,
participation, multiple intelligences, risk-taking, and
cooperation experienced through movement and physical activities.
I know it will be challenging for some of my students but
the excitement that the students displayed through the other
teacher involved was amazing.
I am looking forward to this inclusion and my curriculum
will definitely revolve around this yearlong process.
My learners are very typical of any classroom.
There are at least 5-10 students labeled ESL.
Among the ESL challenges, I have special education students
as well. My students
have a wide range of learning styles.
To generalize, most ESL students do well with kinesthetic
and visual lessons. They need more than just the verbal explanations.
Seeing and doing things make learning more concrete for
them. Because of this
great diversity and other factors that make up the developmental
needs of my classroom, I truly believe that movement can reach my
students on a higher level.
One area that has been a constant struggle is to get my
students to broaden their vocabulary and language.
Multi-syllabic words and abstract words are difficult for
them to pronounce. They
also have difficulty remembering concepts.
I want my students to have a different modality to study
and explore vocabulary. Looking words up that they don’t know
and writing definitions on a piece of paper isn’t working,
especially for my students. Instead,
being able to act out vocabulary, perhaps through pantomiming, is
way more meaningful, tangible, and fun!
With the kinesthetic intelligence, students will develop
more concrete ways to learn abstract concepts in vocabulary in all
Learning Objectives: The learning objectives will
occur in each of the following areas: cognitive, affective,
social, and artistic elements.
relationships among and between ideas and objects.
Posing questions, finding problems, testing and evaluating.
For the cognitive area, I want students to be motivated to
use a cognitive process that works for them.
Helping students develop their own thinking strategies is
something I hope to develop for my students.
think, more than what
they think about is something I would like to foster in my
classroom. I want
students to question the meaning of words and how the words are
being used in context. I want them to explore these words through their bodies and
Affective: Having confidence in oneself is also important to me for my
students. I want them
to feel good about themselves and appreciate the various learning
styles that they are discovering within themselves.
I hope to inspire an attitudinal shift that they all have
strengths, but need to explore the possibilities of what strength
comes more naturally to them.
Social: My students will need to improvise and be spontaneous
within working with a small group, or with a partner.
Students will learn to work together by participating,
encouraging each other, and coming to reasonable consensuses.
Artistic: Students will learn to use their bodies to express various
concepts and thoughts. Pantomiming
asks for students to express themselves using their bodies, facial
expressions, and each other without using words.
They will need to use their imaginations for verbal or
Activities for moving to vocabulary can take place anytime
in the classroom. Students
can have as much space as they need. When introducing a new story or novel, vocabulary study needs
to take place before reading the novel.
This way, when they come across the word, they will
remember the pantomime that was done. Students are placed in small
groups and get time to think of creative pantomime to teach the
word to the class. The
audience then tries to guess the vocabulary word that was
introduced previously. These are some questions I would ask:
What did you like about this groups movement to express
their concept? What
was confusing? What
could they have done to make it clearer?
Can you think of any other ways that this term could have
been pantomimed? Would
anyone else like to demonstrate another movement to express this
I think an effective way to receive feedback is through
journaling. I may
pose a few questions like “How did you feel about this activity
we just did?” “What
did you like about it?” “What
did you not like about it?”
“How could I improve this lesson if we were to do it
again?” “On a 1-5
scale, one being the lowest, and five being the highest, what
score would you give this activity?”
See Student Based Assessment sheet
I think that the more I’m willing to try new things to
see what works and what didn’t work, I think that progress is
inevitable. In my
opinion, I never wanted to be one of those traditional teachers
whose teaching lied directly on state standards and assessments.
I wanted to be different, the artistic-teacher so to speak.
Through the last year and half, I’ve experienced so many
positive thoughts, visions, and ideas by integrating the arts
(especially drama and movement) into my curriculum.
By using movement to teach vocabulary and concepts, my ESL
students have found something they can grasp easily.
It attracts students to explore the world, their humanity,
their emotions, their realities, and their dreams.