Well, it's been an exciting week bracketed by two incredible conversations that have me thinking a mile a minute.
The short version is I think I finally have a good starting concept for a new Math in Your Feet project, this time for teachers. I already provide teacher workshops but it's clearly time to expand my offerings.
Work has begun in earnest on this project. I'm going to start small(ish) with a book about everything I'm thinking as I teach my young learners, and everything I want to communicate during teacher workshops but never have enough time for. I already have an introduction drafted and a workable outline.
This new project will also include curriculum and DVD content, online courses for educators and an online learning and peer support community for people learning to teach the program.
The materials in this series are for anyone interested in learning and using the Math in Your Feet program with kids in grades K-8 whether during school hours, after-school, summer programs, enrichment, remedial, special education or home education. If you would like to be notified as these materials and courses become available, please let me know. And, if you know of anyone who might also be interested in this kind of work, please pass on this information.
When will it be ready? Great question! Hopefully sooner rather than later and, most likely, in stages. Sign up for infrequent but, in all likelihood, quite thrilling updates.
If you're interested in something new right this very instant go read my brand new article in the Teaching Artist Journal called Making Math and Making Dance: A Closer Look at Integration. It's probably the best writing and thinking I've done to date.
This is big, y'all. I can't wait to see where in the world we can get kids and adults making math and making dance together.
An excerpt from my newly published article for the Teaching Artist Journal:
"In the eight years since I first had the germ of an idea about the possibility of connecting percussive dance and math at the elementary level I have had more questions than answers about the nature of arts integration, specifically in relation to mathematics...
"After some years of sitting on this question, and a few more of actively searching for answers, I think I have finally come to an understanding about what is going on in Math in Your Feet. I am much clearer on how the math and the dance interact beyond specific math topics and vocabulary. These are answers about the really interesting, important connections between percussive choreography and mathematical thinking, moving well beyond memorization and procedure and into the real processes of doing math. They are also answers about the choices I made as I brought my art form and the strange, beautiful world of mathematics together for young learners."
Ostensibly, the audience for this piece includes arts educators and teaching artists but I humbly submit that anyone interested in interdisciplinary teaching or learning, especially in concert with mathematics, may be able to take something of value from this piece. And, the same goes for math educators interested in how to harness what Seymour Papert called 'body knowledge' (in his seminal book Mindstorms) in a way that maintains an authentic learning experience in both math and dance.
You can read the entire article here. This piece is the result of over two years of investigation, thinking, learning, exploring and question asking. I am curious to hear your thoughts, observations and, hopefully what new questions you might have. Any feedback you wish to share will be extremely helpful as I begin to conceptualize and outline a much bigger writing project that will considerably expand on the ideas in this new article.
Live television folks, anything can happen!
A couple weeks ago I hauled my dance board and my goofy self over to the WTIU studios on the Indiana University campus to tape a segment of the Friday Zone. We taped down some (purple! orange!) squares on a round set (now there's some mathematical problem solving for you) and got to work learning how to create our own percussive dance steps and make math, all at the same time.
Read more about it and watch the video!