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Workshop Energizes Fort Hunt Elementary

Sean Layne works magic with sixth-grade students and teachers.

Form a group that’s a multiple of two. Form a group with at least one boy.

These were some of the instructions given by Sean Layne to groups of sixth graders during a special team building workshop given last week at Fort Hunt Elementary School.

These instructions were given only after the group passed the initial part of the workshop, which was holding their “jewels of concentration.” In a series of exercises, Layne had the students learn to keep their focus even while distracted. To prove that point, he selected various students to invade the participants’ space, make funny faces and make funny noises. During each exercise he ratcheted up the level of distraction. The students — and teachers — passed with flying colors.

Layne is currently a National Workshop presenter for the Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education Program and has been conducting classes for students and educators at Fort Hunt for the past five years as part of their partnership with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

“They’re learning how to concentrate on their studies and support each other as a team,” said Carol Coose, principal, Fort Hunt Elementary School.

During these exercises, the students learned that they had to be quick, needed to concentrate and needed to listen to instructions.

“We’re testing your cooperation muscles,” Layne said.

Margaret Rukenbacker, instructional assistant, Fort Hunt Elementary School, said, ”We want them [sixth graders] to have a positive influence on the rest of the school.”