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PLAY EASES TRANSITION; STUDENTS LEARN MAKING FRIENDS AT NEW SCHOOLS NOT TOO FRIGHTENING.



Byline: Cynthia Teed Daily News Staff Writer

Laser lights flashed at Zap City on Wednesday, leaving no doubt that youngsters there were going to have fun, fun, fun till their teachers took the laser toys away.

And these teachers, special education instructors all, threw a festive bash with the amusement center's help in hopes of making the social transition from sixth to seventh grade less stressful for their students.

``It's scary going into a whole new environment,'' said Allison Sheen, special ed teacher at Sierra Vista Junior High School, whose students were anxious to let the games begin.

Ranging in age from 11 to 14, these boys and girls boys and girls

mercurialisannua.
 do well academically for the most part but have a bit of trouble with socialization socialization /so·cial·iza·tion/ (so?shal-i-za´shun) the process by which society integrates the individual and the individual learns to behave in socially acceptable ways.

so·cial·i·za·tion
n.
, school officials said.

So to strengthen positive social ties between the sixth- and seventh-graders, William S William, crown prince of Germany
William or Frederick William, 1882–1951, crown prince of Germany, son of William II. In World War I he commanded (1914) an army on the Western Front and was nominal commander in the German attack
. Hart Union School District and the Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850.  County Office of Education co-hosted the ultra high-tech bash - just the thing to appeal to adolescents.

As soon as the teachers would permit, the kids suited up in laser togs, divided into teams, then grabbed their zap guns.

But these guns were like no other plastic, laserlike toys; they were capable of emitting colored rays easily seen in a room darker than any movie theater.

Gleeful glee·ful  
adj.
Full of jubilant delight; joyful.



gleeful·ly adv.

glee
 shouts of ``I got him,'' ``I want him on my team,'' and ``Look out behind you'' rang out over the din of the laughter amid the noise of more than 50 pairs of athletic shoes.

One of the dedicated gamers, Matt, 13, a seventh-grader at Sierra Vista, said he liked the cool effects of the lights and enjoyed meeting new friends, even if they were sixth-graders. After all, they'll be seventh-graders next year.

``This type of action atmosphere lets kids have fun together in a relaxed setting,'' Sheen said as she good-naturedly dodged a zap from a laser gun.

Sheen knows how traumatic going to a new school can be.

``It's scary for these kids to make the transition, we know that,'' she said. So the teachers decided to pick a place where the kids could play games together, meet new friends and learn to work together.

And it didn't hurt that Zap City's manager, Bret Lieberman, had a personal interest in the young game players. Both of his parents are special education professionals. His mom, Ricki Lieberman, is a special ed assistant at Old Orchard Elementary School elementary school: see school.  in Valencia; his dad, Marty Lieberman, is the administrator for special education for the Hart district.

Although the Hart district's special ed program can benefit these students throughout high school, many of them leave the program by earning progress credits, eventually returning to the main student body, school officials said.

In the meantime Adv. 1. in the meantime - during the intervening time; "meanwhile I will not think about the problem"; "meantime he was attentive to his other interests"; "in the meantime the police were notified"
meantime, meanwhile
, the teachers want to keep a warm, familial atmosphere for their special students, Ricki Lieberman said.

``This party is like a homecoming to us. We like to see how our former sixth-graders have succeeded and grown. Even their voices have changed while they've grown so tall,'' she said.

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos

PHOTO (1--Color) Verny, 11, performs tricks on the Top Skater Top Skater is a Sega arcade game released in 1997. It was built off the Sega Model 2 hardware.

The arcade game was one of the first of the era where arcade games were physically manipulated.
 game as Mike, 11, left, and Brian, 12, watch.

(2--Color) Two of the 10 members of the green team roam through the Laser Tag Laser tag is a team or individual sport where players attempt to score points by engaging targets, typically with a hand-held infrared-emitting targeting device. Infrared-sensitive targets are commonly worn by each player and are sometimes integrated within arena in which the game  maze as special education students socialize so·cial·ize  
v. so·cial·ized, so·cial·iz·ing, so·cial·iz·es

v.tr.
1. To place under government or group ownership or control.

2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.
 with each other at Zap City in Valencia.

John Lazar/Daily News
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 20, 1999
Words:559
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