The first time I ever heard about Horse Boy was two years ago, in 2015, from Jeanne Springer. She watched a demo by Rupert Isaacson, and reported back to me.
I found the idea behind his teachings highly interesting, but didn't know how to learn more... So the idea disappeared on a ‘back burner’, until Jeanne forwarded me a training opportunity flyer and recommended I sign up in September 2017.
I took advantage of the opportunity and signed up for a two day training in the Springs for HBM1. I quickly realized how valuable all this information could be for my classroom working with students with so many different needs.
The course finished Sunday, and on Monday I included lessons learned in my class right away.
We did a math warm up playing “Duck Duck, Goose” skip counting and reviewing multiplication - a warm up we usually did standing in the classroom. Now we were outside, running, playing, inclusive - who would have thought, kids were having fun doing math. It took just as long as the usual math warm up, but the mood it set for the following lesson was hugely different. Kids made comments like ‘I love math’, “math was so much fun today” etc. even though the actual lesson still complied with what I usually had to do. Immediate impact!
One of my autistic students was hugely interested in sea animals. Playing with the idea of Isaacson’s self advocacy, I provoked a response.
I looked at one of Giovanni’s drawings, naming a beautifully designed octopus a starfish. My little kiddo absolutely lost it! He could not get over it for the entire day - I felt like a failure; a horrible person for causing such heartbreak. I could not apologize enough and thought to myself- well, this did not go well at all.
However, the next day the student started to talk to me which he never did before. He even raised his hand to ask for help - that never happened in his 5 years of formal schooling. Since that day, our relationship has been absolutely amazing, and he is growing socially and academically. Failure in self-advocacy? I think not.
After that experience, I was hooked and tried to read and learn more about Movement Method and Horse Boy Method wherever I could.
Rupert Isaacson invited me for an intense “Train the Trainer” at his place in Texas. It was mind blowing, and I could just see more and more uses of the philosophy behind it in any classroom.
My ultimate goal is to educate teachers, get them excited about teaching with Movement Method and have our students benefit from it, not just our students with special needs, but really in these days- every student can use this method!
My classroom is a pilot classroom for Movement Method in our building. Our principal denied me the chance to train our paraprofessionals because of time and money restrains. I was not satisfied with the answer, and I am now in conversation with our superintendent. I presented MM to him, invited him for a MM demo lesson. I am a Professional Development presenter for our district and the International Baccalaureate, and think this would be a great way to change the system from the bottom up.
I strongly believe it will have an impact on all student learning and school climate, but in particular for our students that just need that extra support and a different approach to learning.