Sensory Friendly Performance
Parsons Dance Company will provide a sensory friendly performance for Gretchen Everhart School students. Building on its mission of delivering life-affirming, inspiring dance experiences worldwide, Parsons Dance has created targeted performances that ensure that all audiences, regardless of ability, have the opportunity to connect with the universal language of dance. These autism friendly performances give audiences the freedom to express themselves and react openly while watching the dancers and hearing the music.
Teachers Learn Dance Moves for Math Lessons
Opening Nights and Leon County Schools teamed up to offer about 40 elementary and middle school teachers a creative new tool to teach math, in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education program.
Stacy Weaver, a performing arts teacher who leads the dance program at Raa Middle School in Tallahassee, said she learned that dance can help teach geometry, algebra, ratios and more.
“I honestly thought geometry was about the only way you could mesh the two together, but I learned I can teach my students about fractions, ratios and all kinds of areas,” Weaver said. “I want my dance students to be whole students, excelling in math and other subjects.”
The free “Math Dance” workshops on June 11 and 12 were led by Karl Schaffer. Schaffer, a member of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Teaching Artists, co-created “Math Dance” with Erik Stern to teach dance via math as well as math through dance.
“We want teachers to come away with a sense that there is a wealth of mathematics embedded in dance,” Schaffer said. “The two are very closely connected, and hopefully the participants will see those connections and understand how to use them for their work with students.”
The workshops offered practical tools on how to teach this innovative approach to math education. Participants learned techniques to teach concepts, such as patterns and symmetry, through creative movement.
Teachers from Cobb Middle School, Raa Middle School, Maclay School, The School of Arts and Sciences at The Centre, Tallahassee School of Math and Sciences, W.T. Moore Elementary School and Apalachee Tapestry Magnet School of the Arts participated in the “Math Dance” workshops.
Mimi Herman, a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist and the 2017 North Carolina Piedmont Laureate, spent a week in 4th and 5th grade classrooms at Apalachee Tapestry Magnet School of the Arts in the Fall of 2017 to teach students and teachers to fall in love with writing, especially their own.
Fourth grade students in Ms. Laing’s class work on completing their “Found Sound Concrete Poems” exercises. The students explore the differences between high, low and medium frequencies to help them understand all the different ways poems can be structured. Ms. Herman is able to fuse the students’ current Poetry and English Languages Arts lesson with their Science classes.
“My stars thoroughly enjoyed the Mimi Herman’s lesson. They were actively engaged with both science and language arts standards. What a positive experience!” – Mrs. Laing
Mrs. Penny’s 5th grade students tackle the concept of metaphors by comparing the different stages of a “water cycle” with the characteristics of a household washing machine. Ms. Herman customizes these activities to incorporate what the students are currently studying in their Science class, bridging the gap between science and poetry.
“Mrs. Mimi Herman has a great way with creativity and creating an atmosphere of eager learners on all levels. My students were excited about her arts integration lessons on similes, metaphors and the water cycle. There was never a dull moment!” – Mrs. Penny