Tag Archives: music

Lida Laughs

IMG_1891If you’ve never looked at the Lida pages here, you should.

There is such joy in English learning, if you know how to do it right.

Tomorrow, we are getting ready to dance making links. It’s a lot more complicated than it sounds…

The vocabulary goes on and on:

  • URL = address for a website
  • Underline/Circle
  • plus/add
  • delete
  • click/tap/select

In choosing vocab, I realized I forgot “highlight.” And “circle” isn’t really a computer-y word.

But we’re gonna dance. Tomorrow.

I can’t wait!



Shrek! And Hearts. And Stars.

My joy cup ranneth over on Thursday night! It was a FIELD TRIP!

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Amy Mellencamp graciously let me have money to take 13 of my students (and former students… some of them have found their way out of ExcELL!) to Shrek! It was put on by the BHS Drama department.

I was even able to take a 14th student because my own daughter got sick. That opened up a spot.

Suzy mentioned this week that she had been helping a senior get letters for college ready. She saw that he was really into drama in Nepal. He didn’t know that we had a drama department.

How do these things happen?

Announcements are made.

People assume.

And yet, the chasm between the participators and those left out is huge.

It’s not easy. It’s never easy.

I showed up at the first student’s house. I asked it he was ready. “No,” he said with a smile, I’m sure not quite understanding the rush I was in…

I had one student who forgot, then called me back to ask me to come pick her up. She had been sent to the grocery store.

I had another who was still in his track clothes. He had to rush to change clothes.

But it was so worth it. You should have seen the smiles. Students were whispering back and forth to figure out what the heck was going on.

But this experience also made me realize how important teacher involvement is. The boys were taking pictures during intermission with Kevin Cross, the other teacher who helped me chaperone. That male bonding is so important. It was cool.

Francesca Villella, another teacher who is part of the Partner Teacher group, mentioned at a meeting earlier this year that she was scrounging for teachers to chaperone a dance. People just are not volunteering. Is it because we don’t feel part of this community either?

How sad!

My husband asked me, while we were waiting to go see the play on Saturday–and I saw tons of my colleagues there as well–whether I had ever been to a football game.

I haven’t.

Nor any other sport or extracurricular activity. And this is year 3 at the high school.

It is so very easy to say that that space over there is work, and this space over here is home. And ne’er the twain shall meet.

But when I saw my students dancing and heard them laughing, I realized that we really are the lifeline. We are the ones who are the gate for involvement. And we need to be there for our students to be able to fully participate.

So hearts and stars to people who helped make it all possible: Amy Mellencamp, Kevin Cross for helping me chaperone, and Suzy King, for showing up after yoga to help us give rides home.

And to Frau, who got us space for us all to sit together.

Thanks to all.

Getting in the mindset

Today, we had a visit from Denise and Lindsay from the Center for Mindful Learning. We are going to experiment how to bring mindfulness to students for whom English is still quite new.

Mind the Music is a mindfulness training program for teens that uses popular music as the object of concentration. It provides clear and simple techniques for cultivating concentration, clarity and equanimity.

(You can find out more about the approach at the link above. And there are some videos here of students from the King Street Center who did this work a few years ago.)

But before Lindsay led us in a relaxation exercise, we had to do some work. We had to learn the parts of the body in English and also talk a little about things we feel: Happy, sad, hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, angry, sick… There are more. And these aren’t all moods. But we are talking about beginners. This is enough to get by…

We tensed and relaxed muscles. We moved different parts of our body in isolation to the beat of Pharrel William’s song Happy.

Lindsay wanted students to volunteer songs they knew. But that will be for a different day. We need to prepare them for that. This is not the group that you look for spontaneous output. We have to prepare.

In the end, we don’t know if our students really understood what we were doing or why. But it’s a start.  Everybody participated. But we didn’t introduce the vocabulary that goes with the meditative aspect of the work. Which we might. It’s all that preparing stuff.

The grant allows for us to have Lindsay come by throughout the year and for us to take a class so we can teach others. We think it will be well worth the time.