Thursday, October 11, 2007

Get them moving!

Have you ever been in a big room with 500 high schoolers and your job was to make them move/dance? OK. Now add to that the fact that those students are from MINNESOTA!
Today I had the honor and pleasure to work with the University of Minnesota and do exactly that! They received about 500 students from high schools in the suburbs and provided them with a mini "university experience". In this case I opened the event doing some dances from the workshop "Bailemos Juntos". I am glad that I just presented that at IWLA conference so I had all the dances very fresh in my mind. Of course there was a big difference in sharing the presentation with 3 other people (Kika, Alicia and Luz, the other members of "Bailemos Juntos" team) to a group of Spanish teachers to doing it all by myself with 500 teenagers! But it was quite a success. Most of them were quite engaged and they all seem to be having fun. A bonus was that I did part of the presentation in Spanish so they got to hear a native speaker using his mother tongue. Most of these students are taught by American teachers, and there is nothing wrong with that at all, but they are not native speakers of Spanish. So it was a great opportunity for them AND for me. It was very good for me to break out of my 1st to 8th grade mode (which I love) and be a dance/rock start among teenagers! I even had some of them on the stage leading some steps with me. I had my own "dance with the stars" moment. The organizer (and the teachers) were very impressed and satisfied with my work. They already requested that I come back in April for another presentation similar to this one. My presentation was followed by a university teacher who had the hard task to have these kids thinking about the issue of immigration and undocumented immigrants for a moment. A Cuban salsa band was the perfect closing part of this experience. Students were up again dancing and moving. It was great to see such a large group of students from Minnesota shaking their bodies and having fun!

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