Dangling Toes and Jumping In...How One Teacher Applied and Modified These Games

I am delighted to share the authorship of this posting with Laurie Burghardt-Noia, a teacher at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts.  A bit of context for this writing: I coached a three-hour workshop at SRCSA a couple of weeks ago--to seven committed teachers (and a fabulous classroom volunteer) on a Saturday morning.  Yesterday, I was a guest teacher, providing one-on-one professional development coaching for Sierra Bradley, a fifth-grade teacher at the same school.  What follows is an email from Laurie to Sierra.  I am consistently impressed with the creativity and professionalism shown by teachers who have the freedom and chutzpah to dangle their toes in uncharted territory...and then jump on in by experimenting with their own modifications to meet the needs of their classes.  Huzzah, Laurie!  Thank you for sharing your process with us.

"Today I played *BALL* with half my class while the other half was at dance. They did really well and loved playing.  We were able to count together up to 30, we did the names in order game, and the animal names game, and also two balls at once. Two balls at once was quite challenging but the kids were able to do it. It was a great focus and team building activity. Everyone was working together to make it successful. My 3rd graders are such a great group of kids, you're going to really love this group next year.

The first time I tried playing *ball* with my class, I had a couple kids sabotaging the game (throwing wild, or dropping the ball on purpose) We were playing *whole class* at the time. Then I split them into two separate groups and made it a bit of a competition to see which group could keep the ball going the longest. They did much better with smaller groups and making it competitive.

Last week we played the story spine game. I had 7 kids at a time model the process for the rest of the class and then I had them work in pairs and take turns adding to their story spine partner created stories. The kids were having so much fun while also creating some pretty good stories. (translation: the stories made sense AND were creative and funny) There was a whole lot of laughing going on and EVERYONE was fully participating, it was a wonderful moment/activity.

I really enjoyed Carrie's workshop because she gave me activities that I could use with my kids immediately. Would you please pass along my request, I'm serious, I would really REALLY like to purchase some time from her. Perhaps several of us could offer to pay for an hour each and make it worth it (to her) to come to our school for a day?

The theater games are so perfect for our story theme.  I really like the idea of keeping theater as our arts focus for another year."

An update: Thankfully, Laurie and her colleagues have to neither beg nor pay for individualized coaching out-of-pocket.  Their wonderful principal has scheduled a full day of professional development with me in early December.  I can't wait to come back!

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