Monday, November 29, 2010

Collaborative Song writing

Our second week at the Lavelle School for the Blind was full of creativity and innovation! The students worked so well together, learning how to colloborate and communicate with each other through music. We've opened each group up with the song "Lean on Me," following a discussion of what it means to lean on other people, and what it feels like to have people lean on you. This week, we introduced songwriting. The chorus started with the words:

"Let's team up with some teamwork,
Let's team up with some teamwork!
Work on the collaboration,
Work on the combination of
You + me + you + me,
Me + you + me + you..."

And with that came more and more ideas! Group 19 came up with the following lyrics to add to the chorus:

"I am helpful, I am grateful
to have a lot of friends.
I am grateful for my family
For my culture.
I feel happy when people help me
I feel joyful when we help each other."

Great job, all of you! Sharon, even though you didn't snap your fingers you sure did contribute to the flow of the group, it was great that you enjoyed this experience!
During this experience, the students learned how to take turns, respect each other's opinions, and even think of some "combinations", as we discussed the meaning of that word! Group 22 came up with many different food combinations, giving the word a concrete meaning. Their collaboration of lyrics is as follows:

"We have to communicate,
We have to participate,
We have to appreciate,
We have to listen..."
Great job, everyone from Group 22! You all sure did a great job collaborating - especially when during the me + you part!
Ms. Marie suggested that when we sing that part of the song, that we point to ourselves when we say "me" and then tap the person that is sitting next to us when we say "you". This not only gave a concrete feel to the song, but it was also a lot of fun to do (I think Cassandra, Rosa, Joelle, Raquel, and Ashley will agree with me!).

During the last group, we were able to observe Juan and Mustafa beat box and free style with the beat-rockers, Taylor and Adam. They were both able to communicate the "dirt" they had on their shoulders, and this music and improvisation allowed them the opportunity to do so. These two are both very talented musicians and we can't wait to see them unfold as we continue to collaborate together.

This year is off to a great start!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Art of Working Together by Angelica

On a mild day in the middle of November, students at NYISE have allot to say about what it takes to "work as a team". From basketball to friendship, students shared how we can work together for the success of the entire group.

We began by warming up to the idea of working together by getting on our feet and "doing something" together - we built a human machine with each individual student stepping into the center of the circle with a sound and movement. Each student took turns adding onto the one before with a complimentary sound and movement until we were all participating as individual mechanisms of the larger machine. By beginning to work together in this playful way, the ideas of what it takes to collaborate began to form in our minds.

We separated into smaller groups for discussion, and "listening" and "participating" topped the lists of what it takes to work together. These two things are not as easy as saying them, but require diligent care and attention to when working as a team.

"A successful team requires a team effort!" and all students recognized that taking responsibilities for our actions, bother the positive and the negative ones, are essential to true collaboration. Our individual behavior in a team can come in different shapes and sizes, sometimes we are helpful, respectful, supportive and friendly. Other times we might be frustrated, annoyed, and overwhelmed. The reality is that we are all human, and the only way to get through both the good and the tougher collaborations is to keep listening with an open mind, put in your part with your best effort, and see where the combined efforts of all members involved will take all of the participants as a group.

The honesty which was present in all students regarding how hard it actually is to work together was humbling and illuminating. We all agreed that "practice" is what it takes to make sure we are ALL as successful as we can be TOGETHER.

Angelica Pinna-Perez, RDT, LMSW

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Joan tells the stories behind Lower East Side landmarks

November 9 -- Another New York Beyond Sight public program in conjunction with the Heiskell Library for the Blind featuring LES's Trinity Church, Castle Clinton, Tenement Museum and the Battery Park Promenade.