When he finally began interacting with other students, it was by being disruptive– getting in their space and generally bugging them.
In addition to his behavior issues, his participation grade in Music was always teetering on the border of D and F.
Then, one day, after the keyboards were brought out in December, he started helping Mrs. Taylor set them up for music class and then put them away after class. His behavior began improving. His participation and engagement in lessons greatly increased.
The keyboards were purchased through an Education Foundation grant for Webb Elementary School. Mrs. Taylor, who also teaches music at Union Elementary, found a way to divide up the keyboards so she can use them at both schools.
Soon after, Charlie used the music program on the laptop to create a song and then took it to the keyboard and played his song. He discovered he could make music!
His behavior changed dramatically because he found something he was good at and that made him feel good. Charlie earned a Rambler Award that day!
His current participation grade is a B+. On certain days, he still struggles to engage, depending on his “mood” when he first enters the classroom. However, normally within 10 minutes, he softens up, and joins centers.
Even when not wanting to participate, he has turned a corner. He will sit next to Mrs. Taylor (rather than at the door), and at least listen to whatever small/whole group lesson she’s sharing. If it is center time and he is able to start at one of his “favorite” centers, the active participation is almost instantaneous, specifically, when it his turn on the keyboards or on laptops. He LOVES to compose his own music and experiment on the keyboard and feels most comfortable there.
Mrs. Taylor says, “I strategically will start his group at one of those centers, with the intention of pulling him out of his shell/mood, building confidence, and engaging him. The keyboards have been so therapeutic for him. Even on his toughest and most stubborn days, they work their magic. It truly is such a gift to have these available for him to use.”