Raise Your Hands for GOAL!
Spring 2017 Update
Student and Teacher Success Story – this one comes from our returning teacher Ms. Giannini who teaches both Technology and Fitness at PS/MS 108, with a focus on Adult Role Models and Resourcefulness from the Ten Developmental Assets.
“I teach a fifth-grade student named Moussa during the day, and I also have him in my GOAL Technology group on Wednesdays. He has had difficulties in the past expressing himself when he gets upset and it can be hard to get through to him when he shuts down in class. I am also not given the time during the day when I am teaching to sit down and get through to him either. During these times, Ms. Fowler has been a supportive role on many occasions whereby if she is on her break, will allow him to stop by and help him feel safe to open up and express his concerns in a quiet environment so he can get back on track and continue with his day.
Over the course of our Wednesdays in GOAL together, I have gotten to know him better and see a different side of him. Through the use of positive encouragement and watching him open up and thrive using technology, he has been able to open up more in general with me.
I had a breakthrough with him when he was unresponsive after picking him up from gym. He seemed very upset, and did not respond when I asked him what was wrong. I then told him that he seemed like needed a minute to quietly calm down, and that I know he'd tell me when he was ready. He nodded, so I left him alone. Approximately ten minutes later, he was very verbal and calm when I saw him standing outside my door in the hallway. He didn't want to get in trouble for being there, so he made sure to tell me that he was only out there so he could speak to my co-teacher privately to tell her why he was upset, and that he knew he could catch me later in GOAL to chat and fill me in!
I followed up with him in GOAL, he told me everything, and I told him I was proud of him for calming himself down instead of needed someone to help him, especially since he could wait until our time in GOAL to simply fill me in!
It was a nice feeling to see him take care of his emotions on his own and re-route himself back on track! I also like that he sees GOAL as a place that he can open up and feel safe at.”
Acting & Improv with Ms. Smitha at 171 – A recent highlight was the kids’ introduction to Shakespeare's “A Midsummer Night's Dream”. Ms. Smitha was able to find a slightly edited version for kids, and as a class, they will be performing a few scenes from the play for the year-end assembly. The kids were quite eager to work on a "real play" and not just do improv. The language is challenging, but as they are reading through, they are discussing the difficult passages and translating them into layman's terms. The students are surprised at how funny it actually is! This experience directly connects them to the key asset of Arts Appreciation. Ms. Smitha is proud to expose these students to an avenue of literature and performing arts that they have never encountered.
It has also been a pleasure to see many of the students who started out in class as painfully shy slowly open up, and even step up into more leadership positions. One of the students’ favorite improv activities involves one person being the director and everyone else being the cast. The director has to give the cast specific things to do onstage using only technical stage direction terms. Ms. Smitha is surprised and pleased to see that every student is eager to engage in both roles, both as director and actor. This demonstrates that they are both confident enough to lead their peers respectfully as well as open and non-self-conscious enough to potentially respond to some silly stage directions without fear of judgement from their classmates. All in all, it’s been a solid few months of progress!
Step Skip and Dance with Ms. Sinclair at 108 - Students are building Self Confidence and developing an Appreciation for the Arts as part of their dance program. On a weekly basis, they are taking on leadership roles and are completely engaged in the process. Ms. Sinclair enjoys watching the kids choreograph their own dance steps and work collaboratively to reach their goals. And for Black History Month in February, the class worked on a dance to pay tribute to Michael Jackson.
GOAL Chorus with Mr. Durant at 171 – The group has an ever-growing Breadth of Experience, especially in the Spring, as they gear up for their performance season. Performing numerous times with this group helps students connect to the songs they sing and to the audiences they perform for. And for the first time, the Youth Music class and Junior GOAL Chorus was included in a recent concert and had the chance to share their Appreciation of the Arts with the older kids and the entire school.