Inquiry Question: Do group and individual self-reflection and the use of technology (iPad portfolios) improve students’ achievement/learning in comparing/contrasting dance genres and group collaboration and in supporting students to think and work like artists? How and why?
Results from the Fall 2013 ARTS ACHIEVE Performance Assessment pointed to gaps in students' ability to:
- Analyze dance and use discipline-specific vocabulary when speaking and/or writing about dance
- Compare/contrast dance styles
- Collaborate and perform dance in a group
- Structure choreography for expression
To address this, students were divided into groups and assigned a contemporary choreographer whose style they later described, analyzed, and emulated. The choreographers were chosen for their artistry and demographic range (male, female, racially diverse): L'il Buck, Nora Chipaumire, Twyla Tharp, Sergio Trujillo, and Kyle Abraham.
Throughout the unit, students participated in formative assessments and revisions (with feedback protocols, rubrics, and ‘secret feedback’), self-assessments, (via worksheets, checklists, and interviews), video analyses, written reflections, and teacher feedback. These supports led students to focus increasingly on the work of their collaborative groups, practice compromise by blending ideas, step beyond their comfort zones to take artistic risks, and sharpen their communication by way of assimilating and using essential dance terminology.
Students in 5th period Advanced Dance had class five days a week. On Thursdays, they worked on choreography with the dance specialist and facilitator. This unit transpired over the course of eight weeks.
Use of Technology
The iPads were integral tools for research, reflection, and choreography. In addition to recording, reviewing, and writing about their own work for revision and development, students also used the iPads to investigate the signature movements, or ‘trademarks’ and also key influences in the artistry of specific choreographers.