A special person with a special message
Today's blog post is dedicated to Luca Patuelli, a hip hop dancer and motivational speaker, from Montreal, Canada. Luca's campaign, 'No Excuses, No Limits' has touched the lives of many people across the world. He was born with Arthrogryposis, a muscular disorder which affects his legs.
I first came across Luca this summer as I found a YouTube video of him appearing on the Ellen Show in America. Although Luca must use crutches to support himself, he has never used them as an excuse in life for not pursuing his passion of hip hop dancing.
I must admit that I was totally inspired by Luca, not just by his amazing talent as a dancer, but the vision he has and positive attitude that he possesses. He has devoted his life to making a difference to others by opening up a dance studio and sharing his talents with the world. In particular, he has made a profound difference to those with disabilities as he has shown them that they can accomplish anything by setting their mind to it. He has helped them to understand that their disabilities should not hold them back from being able to express themselves through dance.
The Planning Stages
Our grade 2 classes at Nanjing International School have just opened up a unit of inquiry focused on the importance of following our passions. The students will be exposed to dance, music, art, drama, and design throughout the unit. As a summative task, they will narrow down their focus and choose a particular area that inspires them and work toward a final product. However, it's not the final product that counts, it's the process of working toward it. Technology will be introduced to them and used as a means to enhance the process. It really is all about our ability as humans to express ourselves in a variety of meaningful ways.
Physical education is fully integrated into this unit of inquiry as we will be focusing on movement composition. I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with the grade 2 teaching team from the very start of the unit and I threw my idea out there in the early planning stages to bring Luca Patuelli in as a special guest to help open up the unit and to talk about how his passion for dance has made a tremendous difference in his life.
When I contacted Luca to share my idea, he was more than willing to Skype call with all the grade 2 teachers and students. I was very thankful that he would take time out of his busy schedule to do so. To give the students a glimpse into who Luca is, I showed his Ellen Show video a couple of days ago. If you have not seen it, check it out below.
The grade 2 students were amazed at Luca's dance skills and had lots of questions. What they didn't know was that we were planning to bring Luca in on Skype today. The classroom teachers asked their students 'If you were to be able to speak with Luca in person, what would you ask him?'. Each class came up with a question then they all gathered together in a common room. At that point, I entered the room with Luca already on Skype.
Luca proceeded to give the students a very special experience by sharing his 'No Excuse, No Limits' vision and how we can achieve anything in our lives if we set our minds to it. It's not common to have 60 grade 2 students completely silent, but they were totally tuned in and listening to Luca's important message.
Luca also stressed the need for goal-setting in our lives and that these goals should be hard to reach, they should require a lot of work and determination. He spoke of his own goal this summer which was to walk 2.5km without his crutches. He told the kids that he fell down numerous times but knew that he had to push forward and keep fighting to reach his goal, which he ended up doing. Watch Luca's inspirational walk in the YouTube video below. It's a keeper and a must share with your students, regardless of age.
If we can teach our young learners the importance of finding inspiration and following their passions, our world can and will be a better place. And it's amazing individuals such as Luca Patuelli who continue to be difference makers in a time when the world needs it the most. Thank you Luca!