On Monday, I had the privilege of attending the AMDSB Learning Together Symposium. I was part of a twelve person team including one teacher, one educational assistant and nine stellar GDCI students (we sorely missed one young man who could not attend). You can read about the day, watch a short video and get a feel for the incredible opportunity that we were afforded on the board website: http://yourschools.ca/2014/10/01/amdsb-is-choosin-inclusion/
This list reflects my learning, and my new wonderings, from the day. 😃 You might notice a theme to my musings!
1. Chair dancing is fun and would make a great body break during a lesson. I was really busting some moves and breaking a sweat!
2. Our students named school dances as one of the most inclusive events at GDCI. That really got me thinking…what is it about our dances? I have blogged about GDCI dances in the past. I always walk away happy. Even on my midnight drive home, when I am at my most tired, I find myself smiling and thinking of the happy faces I saw dancing. How do we replicate that feeling in the classroom?
3. Dance moves are unique to each individual. I loved learning from Luca Lazylegz about his journey into professional dance. Check him out on The Ellen Show: http://youtu.be/MfvtXQaEK5o Luca’s dance moves are stunning. They are unique. His handstand made me hoot with joy! How can we facilitate this kind of self expression, and self definition, as a prize to be valued when we demonstrate our learning?
4. There are #nolimits and #noexcuses when it comes to inclusion. Just think about that. Close your eyes and imagine what that might mean. The possibilities take my breath away.
5. Tess Trojan (http://www.specialolympicsontario.com/default.asp?contentID=305) shared with us her pathway through high school and post secondary education. Tess reminded us that we are capable of the extraordinary when we put our minds to it. Special Olympics helps many athletes find their voice, confidence and purpose. How can school become more like the Special Olympics? How can we draw out voice, confidence and purpose for ALL of our students every day?
6. We now have a vision. After I made all of our group spit-shake (just joshing 😉) that we would continue to meet and actively plan for an inclusive community I realized that these young people and staff would do so regardless of a set time to meet. I believe that their passion for inclusion spills out of them as they walk our halls, dance at our dances, work with a partner in a science lab, high-five a stranger on another team, or stop to talk with a peer who seems lonesome. Our future is secure – no limits, no excuses!