This Day Inspired Us To Invent The DNA Dance

We had our first cooperative sessions scheduled today. To prepare for these exciting sessions with our families and teachers, yesterday, we passed by a toy store to pick up some supplies. We bought some puzzles, Playdough, crayons, a fishing game, cars, a ball, and my favorite, bubbles! We woke up early at 7 am to head to the center and started preparing those toys for our first group of families.

In our first morning group we had Amjed and Rajeh; our youngest kids in the training. Both of them are adorable 2 year olds. The messier the room got, the more fun they had. Amjed loved the Legos and was roaming around the room while holding them and laughing. Rajeh was happy playing with the ball some of the time with his mother, and playing with the cars with his father. They transitioned easily to working with the teachers in their groups while their parents took a turn watching them and taking ABC data to track what happened immediately before and after their behaviors.The second group we met today included Ali and Reema with their families and three teachers. Ali drew some amazing drawings and Reema loved playing with Legos and puzzles.

Before we had our third group, we had a lunch break where our Syrian volunteer, Naji, brought us a delicious Syrian dish called “Finger burner”. It was the first time Sarah and Melissa tried it, and they absolutely loved it! After lunch, we evaluated our presentation style as a team and brainstormed new ideas to grab more attention from our audiences during our lectures. One of the main ideas we are taking into consideration is adding more demonstrations and modeling for examples to our lectures. While we were thinking about how we can demonstrate some information in our slides, I was wondering how can we demonstrate the word “gene” in our slides! So, I invented the gene/DNA dance! (Sarah and I had a quick practice few minutes ago before I start writing this blog. By coincidence, Melissa’s Skype was ringing, so our background music was Skype’s ringtone!)

Hassan, Ayman, Samer and Aseel were in our third group for today. It was a loud room where we had a lot of fun. Hassan loved creating English and Arabic letters to form words using Playdoh. Ayman enjoyed playing with the fishing stick to catch the colored fish. Samer came a bit late to the session, but had fun playing with Legos with his mother and spent some time playing with Hana with the Playdoh, although he tried to go out of the room few times. Aseel had so much fun drawing her hand on the paper with her mother, and played few times with the puzzles and the Playdoh. Our last group included Naji, Haya and their families as well as some teachers. Naji enjoyed playing with the puzzles, but got bored quickly so his mother gave him some snacks. Haya was happily playing with Playdoh and enjoyed playing with the puzzles too.

The structure for all our cooperative sessions was the same. We had the parents play with their children in the first 20 minutes of the session, and had the teachers observe them and fill their ABC data sheets. The second slot was for switching between teachers and mothers. Teachers played with the children, and the mothers collected the data. At the beginning of each session, to practice filling the ABC data sheet, Sarah and Hana demonstrated different behaviors for the teachers, and Melissa and I guided them through the demonstrations to practice writing the antecedents and the consequences. At the end of each session, we gave an ABC data sheet to every parent and teacher to practice filling it during the next week before our upcoming session. It was an exhausting but inspiring day.

-Amal

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