Friday, May 31, 2013

Children's Day : Let's go outdoor ?

© Open Air Gallery

Tomorrow is International Children's Day in many countries!

The World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland, proclaimed June 1st to be International Children's Day in 1925. 

Many countries, including Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, hold Universal Children's Day events on November 20 to mark the anniversaries of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

However, other countries hold events on different dates, such as the fourth Wednesday in October (Australia) and November 14 (India). 

Universal Children's Day is not observed in the United States, although a similar observance, National Child's Day, is held on the first Sunday in June. However there is a petition to proclaim the second Sunday in June as Children's Day in the United States.

In Portugal and many other countries, June 1st is the International Children's Day. You can see the honoring children day in many places all around the world here.

Children's Day celebrates childhood and right of all children to be able to develop – naturally and happily – to their full potential.

The importance of giving children the freedom to let their imaginations run wild and their creativity flourish. Adults, need to recognise and value children’s creative instinct.

This year I would like to write a positive message on this special day! To celebrate imagination and creativity why not share your childhood memories of playing in nature!

Outdoor education and play activities are essential for children’s personal and academic growth.

Learning outside the classroom can help to build fulfilling childhood that prepare pupils for life beyond education

"Young people who acquire physical skills in a challenging situation are learning team-work, tolerance and co-operation, which raises confidence and self-esteem and can improve performance in the classroom."

And there are so many outdoor sites where we can go with students!

Some good ideas in different countries:


In Portugal there is an open air park called Portugal dos Pequenitos in Coimbra that is celebrating its 73th anniversary.

Portugal dos Pequenitos is the living image of the Portuguese way of thinking and of being all over the world and an historical and  pedagogical remark of many generations.

Beyond its  convergence of cultures and crossing of peoples, Portugal dos Pequenitos is a qualified exhibition of the sculptural and architectonic Portuguese art, whose miniatures and  details delighted the children, the young and the adults.

Portugal dos Pequeninos
Coimbra, Portugal

Portugal dos Pequenitos comemora o seu aniversário e nada melhor do que celebrar este dia em plena Festa da Criança no Parque. A festa decorre de 30 de Maio a 10 de Junho. 

Portugal dos Pequeninos
Coimbra, Portugal

Um programa diversificado, para todas as idades e gostos. Professores, pais, avós, e crianças terão a oportunidade de escolher entre várias actividades que vão desde as mais radicais como escalada, teias de cordas, Pipe Ball, jogo do labirinto, basquete, até aos jogos tradicionais ou visitas guiadas, horas do conto, pintura de murais e sessões de Yoga.  

For this special day, the park promotes outdoor activities to let children feel free and stimulate their imagination: cultural visits, reading, open air painting, yoga practice or radical activities: climbing, Pipe Ball, roap webs, basket.

Different activities in different countries:

A website including a list of fifty outdoor mini-adventures, it aims to get children active outside and spark an interest in nature. From making a mud pie to searching for creatures in a rock-pool, there a plenty of things to fire children’s imagination and creativity.

Rendez-vous aux Jardins pour célébrer le grand jardinier français André Le Nôtre: des activités, promenade composé de pupitres didactiques, une exposition végétale, des visites comentées du jardin,

Parque de Serralves (Porto, Portugal)

Convide seus alunos, vá com os seus filhos a participar Mãos no Parque. Várias actividades. 

Jardim Zoológico (Lisboa, Portugal)

O Jardim Zoológico vai estar em festa  para celebrar o Dia da Criança. Actividades que prometem estimular os mais jovens, e não só.~

Pedro e o Lobo
ilustração: Renato Moriconi

Mas seria impossível não incluir a Música neste Dia da Criança! Uma das actividades mais lúdicas na educação dos jovens! E nada melhor do que ir até à Casa da Música para ouvir Pedro e o Lobo e outras Fábulas 

And what about Music! John Adams said the arts were "critical to the success of society and the wellbeing of people". 

Casa da Música (Porto, Portugal)

Pedro e o Lobo (Prokofiev) e outras Fábulas: A puppet whose nose grows every time it lies, a boy who makes friends with a grumpy dinosaur, a boy who doesn't obey his grandfather and gets himself into a lot of trouble with a wicked wolf, a conversation between raindrops and a magic road... To add even more to their attractiveness, all of these adventures are musically illustrated and narrated to music in a concert which celebrates World Children's Day.

Some thoughts:

Music and outdoor activities in education. Children and young people must have an equal opportunity to discover music and outdoor as essential elements of a rounded education, and a vital part of life. Not only technology is important and pleasant. Technology is a support. Every element has its place in a complete education in the 21th century.

There is a genuine need to assess whether the music education opportunities we provide create the right conditions for all young people, not just to learn the great works of the past but also to experiment and progress their musical skills across a wide range of styles and genres.

Schools need to consider how to provide outdoor learning and development that create happy, confident, fulfilled and rounded children. In other words, young people who are equipped to take on the pressures of life beyond compulsory education.

"Activity-based learning that involves, for example, community volunteering or enterprise projects, promotes initiative and learning to communicate effectively. They help to develop young people's strengths, while identifying their weaknesses, in a safe environment."

John White


update 01.06.2020

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Schools : Enjoy the Centenary of The Rite of Spring

When Art Dances with Music
exhibition National Gallery of Arts

"My music is better understood by children and animals."

Igor Stravinsky

Tomorrow, May 29 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the world premiere of the Rite of Spring - Le   Sacré du Printemps - by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky featuring a revolutionary musical score by the Russian composer lgor Stravinsky and equally innovative choreography by the young dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and performed by Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.

In 2009 Google celebrated Stravinsky' anniversary with a Doodle representing The Rite of Spring and Fire Bird.

The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes company; the original choreography was by Vaslav Nijinsky.

is one of the most revolutionary, provocative and influential music piece of the last 100 years.  The Rite of Spring uprooted comfortable tastes and embraced 20th Century Modernism.

Serge Diaghilev & Igor Stravinsky

"When first performed, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 29 May 1913, the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation and a near-riot in the audience."

The music is widely considered to be one of the most influential musical works of the 20th century and continues to inspire all the dance companies of the world.

"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music; they should be taught to love it instead." 

Igor Stravinsky
Mild protests against the music," wrote Stravinsky, "could be heard from the beginning." The composer was remembering the night of 29 May 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris.

There is still no more influential piece of music in the 20th century. The Rite of Spring is the work that invariably tops polls of the biggest and baddest of the last 100 years. 

Royston Maldoom & 6th graders (Public School 161, Manhattan)
 Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring"
credits: Chris Lee 

“We’re supposed to be showing the birth of the Earth. Isn’t that great?”
Rosa Rosario, 12-year-old student
Here I am again writing about Arts in school education. My usual readers know my thoughts about the importance of Arts in Education.  Music is essential to a complete and better education.
And seeing this photo of Royston Maldoom, the British choreographer, working with sixth graders from Public School 161 in Manhattan on a dance set to Stravinsky’s' Rite of Spring, I could understand I was right to propose this activity to you, teachers.

“Young people who are traditionally denied access to the ‘high arts’ have extraordinary potential and can act as a catalyst for meaningful development within the community at large,”  It's true.

Roger Waters & Coro Juvenil Cova da Moura
The Wall, Lisbon 2011

Remember Music as social inclusion for kids. Roger Moore asked for the presence of a project of social inclusion for kids to be with him and his musicians on stage in Lisbon on the premiere of his European Tour The Wall (2011). 
Music and Dance has the potencial to achieve social transformation of vulnerable kids.
Sixteen ethnic kids from "Associação Moinho da Juventude da Cova da Moura" (near Lisbon) were on stage in a special participation with Roger Waters and his fourteen musicians. 

Level: All levels
Cross-curricular: Arts (Dance and Music); Literature.
Of course each teacher is free to prepare and adapt the activities to the level they are teaching. 

For Vocational education, I propose the video below as a motivation for discussing The Rite of Spring:

Credits; The Guardian

But not only Vocational schools can work on The Rite of Spring. Every public school can do it! Of course!
“I’m much more interested in education than art.”

Royston Maldoom, British Coreographer

For example, in 2007, the British choreographer Royston Maldoom brought the now canonical “Rite of Spring” to the United Palace Theater in Washington Heights as part of the Dance Project, in which 120 public school students, ages 7 to 17, danced to Stravinsky’s music as played by the Berlin Philharmonic
The Dance Project was a reprise of a 2003 program in which he led young Berliners through an original choreography to “The Rite of Spring.” 
The Lola Award-winning 2004 documentary Rhythm Is It! shows the transformation of a motley bunch of mostly disadvantaged immigrant Berlin teenagers into a disciplined troupe eager to join the world rather than be defeated by it. Please watch the trailer below:

"Birthdays are not only celebrations, they are milestones that offer a chance to look back and re-evaluate our past with the clarity of hindsight. Perhaps they can reveal where we may want to go next, or insights into why we are here, or maybe just help us ask better questions."

Christine Jowers

Hoping you will celebrate The Rite of Spring with your students!  And of course feel free to share your wonderful projects with me and my readers.

I know! This will take time! But you are free to develop this activity for a week, a month or two as long as you include it into your Music or Dance class. And don't forget to cross it with Literature curriculum. 

Working different projects with students takes some time but it feels so good! 

"Remember, you can change your life in a dance class."

Royston Maldoom


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The Guardian | Culture |Music
The New York TYimes | Arts

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Education: SOS Suicide Ados !

"Qui a dit que les jeux vidéo faisaient forcément du mal aux ados ? "

Xavier Pommerau

Bon, je parle souvent de jeux dans la classe! Les dernières pubications sur mon blog à propos de jeux: Let's talk about Nutrition Education at school: iPad game et Conférence Le Jeu Sérieux 2013.

Mais tout au long des années, vous trouverez pas mal de publications éducatives sur des jeux (faire une recherche sur le blog).

Le jeu vidéo n'est pas seulement un divertissement pour les ados, Il se révèle aussi un excellent support de remédiation cognitive. 

On l’utilise pour soigner des troubles de l’attention, pour remédier à l’acquisition de certaines aptitudes cognitives.

Jeux vidéo en classe
crédits: Ottawa high school

Par ailleurs, le jeu vidéo est un excellent support d’apprentissage et d’acquisition des notions scolaires. Il faut prendre acte du fait que l’école devient numérique. 

Elle l’est déjà parfois, mais elle le sera dans son ensemble, sans aucun doute. Le matériel existe déjà, il faut maintenant que les enseignants apprennent à s’en servir... plus souvent ! 

Dans le laboratoire Game Lab, les professeurs et les élèves essayent de mettre au point le jeu sérieux du futur. 

“Avec l’arrivée des médias interactifs, certaines formes d‘éducation à l’ancienne, comme les manuels scolaires, deviennent obsolètes” explique Zachary Sherin, l’un des étudiant au MIT

Voilà! Il faut apprendre  de façon ludique, grâce aux nouvelles technologies. Alors les jeux sont de plus en plus en vogue dans les salles de classe.


Cette fois-ci, je voudrais bien vous parler du jeu sérieux préventif en éducation. Un jeu sérieux qui aide à soigner des ados. 

A soigner quoi? La dépression, dans le cas. Les enseignants savent bien que pas mal d'élèves souffrent de dépression. On les voit tous les jours dans nos cours. Et souvent nous sommes ceux qui alèrtent les parents en observant des 'signes avant-coureurs' .  

Quelques collèges ou lycées ont malheureusement assisté incapables à des suicides d'étudiants, entre leurs murs. Plusieurs suicides d'adolescents ont été médiatisés ces dernières semaines. Ce n'est pas nouveau le suicide au collège ou lycée, ou même en fac. 

La dépression chez les jeunes
crédits: Michaël Monnier/Le Devoir

"Il n’existe pas de véritable augmentation du nombre de suicides chez les enfants. En revanche, nous en parlons beaucoup plus à l’occasion des faits divers dramatiques car les médias font leur travail. Désormais, le sujet est moins tabou. Il faut sans doute s’en réjouir. On ose de plus en plus parler de ces drames, se poser des questions et c’est tant mieux. "

Xavier Pommereau

Xavier Pommereau, chef de service du Pôle aquitain de l’adolescent au CHU de Bordeaux, est un expert et il a ouvert il y a vingt ans la première unité hospitalière dédiée aux ados suicidaires. 

Il travaille sur un projet innovant : un "serious game" (un jeu vidéo éducatif) pour soigner la dépression chez les ados.  

Un 'serious game' interactif 3D appelé "Clash Back" à sortir en juin 2013, destiné à être un simulateur de moments de crise à l’adolescence.  L’idée,  c’est d’ouvrir le dialogue et de faciliter l’expression verbale de la souffrance à travers un avatar et des situations que les ados vont (re)vivre et comprendre certaines de ses difficultés relationnelles. A lire l'interview ici

Veuillez aussi bien faire attention à cette présentation de Xavier Pommereau:

Crédits: Xavier Pommereau
Je vous invite aussi à la lecture de son livre "Nos en images" (2011).

en Images
Dr Xavier Pommerau
Odile Jacob

"Je les appelle les '', parce que ce sont les enfants de la 'com’. Ils savent se mettre en valeur. Ils sont très à l’aise en apparence, branchés en permanence via leur portable ou sur Facebook. 

Le problème avec eux, c’est qu’ils ne nous parlent pas de leurs états d’âme, ils les donnent à voir. Filles et garçons fument, boivent, s’affichent de plus en plus tôt, quitte à s’exposer à tous les dangers… Si nous voulons réellement communiquer avec eux et les aider à grandir, nous devons absolument en tenir compte." À lire ici

Quelques pensées:

Tout comme Xavier Pommereau, je crois que nous devons être attentifs à ce que les jeunes nous montrent à l'école, collège ou lycée, et essayer de dialoguer avec eux, même s'ils nous résistent à la première approche. En équipe avec le psychologue (département Psychologie Éducative) on peut déveloper tout une action de prévention.

La relation enseignant / élève se fait aussi par le partage des problèmes qui portent préjudice sur le bon développement des adolescents. Le partage de leurs secrets et craintes fait partie de la réalité scolaire!

Et les jeunes nous montrent beaucoup de signes avant-coureurs! Ils les montrent davantage à l'école qu'en famille. A nous d' être vigilants.

Avec mes élèves, j'ai partagé un projet en 2005: SOS Bullying au collège dans les cours de TIC & Langues. Et on a mis en volontariat des 'élèves-aide'. 

On les appelait la 'brigade anti-bullying'. Des jeunes élèves (à partir de 13-14) qui aidaient leurs collègues, dans la cours, en groupe, ou quand ils sortaient du collège tout seuls, à faire face à des conduites d'ecart. 

Souvent on valorisait même des élèves qu'on savait agressifs. Et je peux vous dire qu'ils correspondaient vraiment à notre confiance.

"Les ados sont saisissants au niveau des compétences et des ressources, alors qu’on n’arrête pas de les traiter d’ignares ! Il faut pourtant miser sur leurs talents et les valoriser, ils en sont très fiers ! En agissant ainsi, on les rend acteurs de leur sortie de l’impasse."

Xavier Pommmereau


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