Monday, 31 May 2010

Dance with Words by Lynda Waterhouse

I have been feeling heartsnipped lately. Heartsnipped is a sand sprite word for when you feel as if a bit of your heart is missing and you can never feel completely settled or content. This feeling comes over me when I have to go into to school meetings and talk about ‘Impact and percentages of progress towards meeting targets’ rather than about children.
The pain eases when Chantal Joseph our dancer teacher comes in each week and I watch the children dance. Everyone is included and the children work hard and literally stretch themselves. Children who have additional needs and struggle with language or dyslexia suddenly become fluent and expressive. Experiencing the joy and delight that dancing brings inspires me too and has a big influence on my Sand Dancers series. It got me thinking about how I could turn dance into words. The results so far are exciting and I am developing a blog called danceintowords to share the ideas. During the last literacy session I ran with a year three class there were only two instructions; write or dance your idea if you are stuck for words. The boys in particular loved this and one boy produced four pages of lyrical writing expressing his feelings about being caught in a sandstorm.
Last Friday Chantal and I were invited to run a ‘Dance into words’ workshop at the fabulous WriteAway Annual conference which was called, ‘Read, play, think, create: generating delight in learning. I was nervous at first. What if the group refused to dance or no-one came? As is says in the sand sprites guide book, The Sands of Time,
‘A Sand Dancer is never afraid
Of facing the music and dancing’
The session went well and afterwards I realised that my heart was feeling much less snipped. The second book in the Sand Dancers series is called Blue Moon Ballet and is available now.


karen ball said...

Heartsnipped is a lovely word.

Nikki said...

It was a superb workshop, Lynda. I'll be sending you some photographs soon. Just waiting for the proofs.
Nikki xx

Sue Purkiss said...

This sounds a fascinating idea, Lynda. Would love to hear more!

Miriam Halahmy said...

I taught kids with special needs for 30 years and I can really relate to this post. I had a boy with a terrible stammer who was completely fluent when he sang. Keep on dancing Lynda!