Inquiry Question: Does frequent use of peer feedback, written reflection, and probing questioning techniques improve students’ ability to use dance concepts to express their interpretations of story through choreography?
The teaching team at this Brooklyn middle school developed this unit to address gaps in students' written and verbal analytical skills, which were revealed by data from the 2013 Fall ARTS ACHIEVE. Performance Assessment. After learning about Martha Graham and the profound influence that mythology had on her choreography, students analyzed and interpreted an Egyptian myth, The Journey of Ré, and then choreographed each of that story’s twelve hours.
Students were asked to:
- Create and develop choreography based on their analyses of their assigned hour of the myth.
- Apply peer-assessments and teacher feedback (digital, oral, and written) to revise and strengthen choreography.
- Perform original compositions for peers, families and school community.
- Self-assess and set goals after viewing video of choreography.
Throughout the unit, students participated in formative assessments (peer and self-assessments, written reflection, goal setting, exit slips, and teacher feedback). These support structures within the scaffolded lessons led students to a strong sense of ownership and success with their burgeoning mastery of academic and dance-specific vocabulary as well as their dance compositions.
Use of Technology
Each student was assigned to one of seven numbered iPads and their own St@sh file, which housed his/her digital portfolio with pictures, videos, peer and self-assessments, checklists, calendars, and personalized teacher feedback. The Promethean Board (smart board) was used to present lessons, brainstorm, co-create rubics, and play (and edit) music and video.
For storage and charging, the iPads were organized in a technology station the specialist painted with gold dancers (#1). Each iPad was numbered and housed in a slot with its corresponding number (#2). Keeping the iPads organized allowed the class to share 6 iPads among 30 students.