Saturday, March 6, 2010

Best Lesson of the Week

On Wednesday I had an *excellent* lesson with one of the reception classes. It was one of those things where it all just worked and I'm still excited about it, so here you go:

This class has an autistic boy (Q.) in it. He likes music and catches on quickly but frequently will respond in a way that, while showcasing that he is paying attention and enjoying himself, is disruptive to the rest of the class. Like humming the tune of a recording we're using over and over again for the whole lesson or rolling up the carpet in time to the music (the tykes are supposed to be sitting on the carpet...) So he's someone to keep an eye on and I always try, to the best of my ability, to incorporate whatever he's brought to the lesson while still getting the point across to the rest of the class- but he does end up sitting out fairly regularly.

So this Wednesday I had a small djembe with me and Q. started hollering out "That drum is Thai!" I tried to tell him and the rest of the class that it was an African drum but Q. kept insisting that it was Thai. Now, probably I could have just left this because is it important? No. But I didn't just leave it, I looked on the label and it turned out that the drum was actually made in the US, so I told the tykes that.

"Who else is from the US? Raise your hand!" there are two American tykes in the class so that left three of us with our hands raised.

Enter Q. "You're not from America, you're from Spain!" Oh, am I now? Cool. "No! Not Spain, space" Ah. Excellent! We can use that! So we made rocket ships with our arms and shot them up into space while vocalizing up a scale and then the rocket ship was shooting from side to side so we sang along with that as well and then the rocket ship crashed on to...wait, what planet is Miss Casey from? Can we have a vote? Right, the moon won so the rocket ship crashes on to the moon: BOOM!

But N. wasn't happy with that (which was just fine for my vocal warm up because it meant that we got to do it all again! ) and so the second time we blasted off from Earth, flew around space, and then N. caught our ship and placed us gently on the moon where we met some aliens. Cowboy aliens, actually, since Miss Casey is a Lunar American. Then we put on our cowboy boots, made some alien noises, and galloped around on space horses. Physical and vocal warm up? Done!

Then I taught the song about flowers that we're going to be working on for the next couple of weeks. The actions can get quite complicated and the song is very pretty as well so the class naturally broke down into two groups- the dancers and the singers. (They did this on their own, by the way.) They were doing such a good job at that point of offering their own suggestions for things that I decided to leave it up to them what colors the flowers were- which then led to another whole class vote between "very red and bright" and "purple and red." (very red won by a narrow margin.) They sang with such big voices and were so. in. to. it. I had the most fun I've had teaching ever and actually bounced down the stairs to find Linda immediately after the lesson to recount the whole thing to her.

The best part was that Q. was totally engaged and actively participating the whole time.

Go tykes!


nortonmiddaugh said...

Yay, Q!

(I *particularly* like that Miss Casey is a Lunar American!)

laine said...


I love that you have these little, little children vote on these things... so democratic. Maybe they could teach the US Senate a thing or two about majority rules?