Bulb Archived: A/R Partners 2017-2018: Luna & Kato

1. How did you and your teaching partner decide to do this project? (Please describe the context of your project, this can include influence from previous projects, the context of your school, community, etc.): 

Creative Process: The journey from leaning dance history to completing their own poem dance

Classroom teacher Isela Luna approached dance instructor Ayako Kato to collaborate together to create dance production based on their own poems. The background of students is mostly from Latin America at the Henry Elementary. Isela thought that it is important for students to be aware of their cultural heritage and proud of it as individuals, and arts can help them to achieve.

The Colors of Us: “I Am From” Poem

2. Big Idea:  Recognizing “I” as a part of “Us” who create things together with cultural heritage

“I am from” Poem by Mayte Pioquinto 
“I am from” Poem by Malia Garcia
Photo by Michelle Green

3. Inquiry: How can we use dance and poetry or any performance/art to change society to explore social justice issues and to create change in our communities?

“I am from” Poem by Angeles Martinez
I am from” Poem by Elan Amaro

4. Grade Level: 3

I am from” Poem by Jonathan Perales
I am from” Poem by Briseida Garcia

5. Academic Subject(s): Literacy + Social Studies


6. Artistic Discipline(s): Dance


7. How many years have you worked together as partners?: 

1 (This is our first year)

8. Please describe what you did and what you made for this project: 


Students learned a poetry study, where students read, listen to, and write their own poems. Students also researched social movements throughout history past and present that have impacted the world around us and analyze the role art and literacy play in social movements.

Students learned how to write poems to be aware of their cultural heritage and also who they are as individuals. Dance artist Ayako Kato shared how to express their ideas in the poems they wrote through movement/dance. Students learned how to deepen and develop literal, abstract and emotional expression and worked as a group to create dance.

In the end, each student recited a line of their poem and presented a performance on stage in the auditorium in front of teachers, friends and parents.

9. What were you hoping the students would learn during this project?: 

Final Showing at the Auditorium in front of Friends, Parents and Teachers
Group Photo with 102 (and 104) 

– Notice their creativity inside and develop it to share with others. 

– Recognize who they are by creating poem and dance.

– Experience and learn collaboration by leading and being lead by their friends.

10. What surprised you during this project?: 

Usually, students are very excited to dance, yet it is always unknown how much students are ready to perform in front of others. This time, some students were so shy and very resistant to dance and even crying. Yet, once they started to focus on working as groups, usually for the next session, surprisingly s/he was joining and dancing. In the end, all the students got on the stage and danced with the smile. Even one student was asked to recite louder on the day of the show in the rehearsal (since others overcame by the day of the show, they harshly requested her to speak louder, putting aside themselves in the past!), and she cried. However, for the performance, she recited her line clearly in front of 200 people!! Students mostly overcame the nervousness and hesitancy by themselves, and it was the most amazing thing ever.

11. What worked in this project and why? What didn’t work and why?: 

Choosing music to dance worked well and shyness was decreased very much since students got motivated and energized by the music. Preparing students to create dance by teaching unison, cannon, formation, and variations worked well. Repetition and going back and forth between small in class showing, peer feedback, giving the advice to develop the movement from the classroom teacher and the dance instructor, and rehearsals by groups worked well. 

Although the students’ movement itself was original, they ended up using very similar formations. One reason why this happened is that there is limited time, and students steal from one another. However, their very original formations were also made. So figuring out how to increase more of their originality and how to teach developing the materials in all the aspects such as formations, polishing the movement quality, rhythmic sense etc., will be the assignment for the next time.

Also, we should have imagined how not only the dance performance but also the reciting could be another challenge for students. So for the next time, based on what we are imagining for the performance, we should introduce and work on practicing the elements of the performance in advance.

12. How did you assess student learning?: (ex. Was it formative or summative? Was it a written, verbal or performative based assessment? Were students provided with teacher or peer feedback? Did you use a rubric or portfolio system? Etc.) 

Ayako assessed students through their in-class presentation and the development of their materials. Their improvement was clear based on how much they were listening to feedback and applied for the revisions. It was fascinating especially to see how the movement started to be expressed bigger and clearer with more focus and attention.

13. How did you share your student’s learning process with others? Who did you share it with?:

We presented a performance by five groups with reciting their poem and dancing the piece they created by themselves. 

14. Standards Addressed: (Common Core, Next Generation Science, National Core Arts): 


Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.


Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

Core Arts Standards: Dance

Grade 3


a. Experiment with a variety of self-identified stimuli (for example, music/sound, text, objects, images, notation, observed dance, experiences) for movement.

b. Explore a given movement problem. Select and demonstrate a solution.



Process Component: Plan

Anchor Standard: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.

Grade 3


a.Identify and experiment with choreographic devices to create simple movement patterns and dance structures (for example, AB, ABA, theme and development).

b.Develop a dance phrase that expresses and communicates an idea or feeling. Discuss the effect of the movement choices.



Process Component: Revise

Anchor Standard: Refine and complete artistic work.

Grade 3


a.Revise movement choices in response to feedback to improve a short dance study. Describe the differences the changes made in the movements.

b. Depict directions or spatial pathways in a dance phrase by drawing a picture map or using a symbol.



Process Component: Express

Anchor Standard: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.

Grade 3


a.Judge spaces as distance traveled and use space three-dimensionally. Demonstrate shapes with positive and negative space. Perform movement sequences in and through space with intentionality and focus.

b.Fulfill specified duration of time with improvised locomotor and non-locomotor movements. Differentiate between “in time” and “out of time” to music. Perform movements that are the same or of a different time orientation to accompaniment. Use metric and kinesthetic phrasing.

c.Change use of energy and dynamics by modifying movements and applying specific characteristics to heighten the effect of their intent.



Process Component: Embody

Anchor Standard: Develop and refine artistic technique and work for presentation.

Grade 3


a. Replicate body shapes, movement characteristics, and movement patterns in a dance sequence with awareness of body alignment and core support.

b.Adjust body-use to coordinate with a partner or other dancers to safely change levels, directions, and pathway designs.

c.Recall movement sequences with a partner or in group dance activities. Apply constructive feedback from teacher and self-check to improve dance skills.



Process Component: Present

Anchor Standard: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

Grade 3


a.Identify the main areas of a performance space using production terminology (for example, stage right, stage left, center stage, upstage, and downstage).

b.Explore simple production elements (costumes, props, music, scenery, lighting, or media) for a dance performed for an audience in a designated specific performance space.