Bulb Archived: Boone ATLAS 2015-2018: Spears (Year 3, 2017-2018)

School Name: Daniel Boone Elementary School

Teacher Name: Gina Spears

Section I: Arts Integration – Documentation. 

1. Documentation should not only provide a narrative, or story, of your project, but should also provide evidence of students’ engagement in the unit inquiry. 

This unit engaged students in the exploration of dance through live performance and video.

2. Through your documentation, please provide student artifacts that depict the range of work completed. For example, what were the various ways in which students responded to various aspects of the project? 

Students considered the viewpoint of a videographer by watching a classmate dance through a simulated “screen.”  The screen could capture small parts of the dance or the body, it could capture the entire body or group of dancers, it could move to focus on a particular gesture, and much more.
Student groups asked their classmates to record their dances from various perspectives, such as from the side, from the floor, or walking throughout the choreography as it is taking place.

Section I: Arts Integration – Inquiry 

3. What is your Inquiry Question for your ATLAS curriculum unit? What big ideas does this inquiry question address, and why do you think the question successfully addresses these? 

Essential Question:  What is the difference between dance that is created to be viewed on a stage and dance that is made to be viewed on a screen?

This question provides multiple avenues for inquiry.  It encourages students to compare dance for a stage and dance for a screen, but through the eyes of not only an audience member but also a choreographer and performer.  Most students indicated that as an audience member, they prefer a live performance because they appreciate the energy and emotion that can be felt through witnessing the dance in person.  At the beginning of the unit, students indicated that as a choreographer or performer, a live performance is a “one shot” experience while a video can be made over and over until you get it “just right.”  At the end of the unit, students acknowledged that a videographer is an artist in their own way, because they can create various perspectives of a dance that cannot be seen live and that editing can also be an artistic form.  As a performer, some students preferred to dance on stage because they find performing in front of an audience exciting.  Others preferred to make a video because they find performing live to be “nerve-wrecking.”

4. How did student research help them to engage more deeply with the unit inquiry question? Explain how your students conducted research for their ATLAS project, and how that research opened up avenues for further inquiry. 

The research in this project was conducted through studying the work of choreographer Bill T. Jones.  Students watched various pieces by Jones:  Ghostcatching, the introduction in the video Solos, IonizationChaconne, and Tea for Two.  After viewing each piece, students were asked to describe what they noticed and what they wondered.  Then they were asked to think of the choreography through the eyes of the videographer and the choreographer, considering whether the piece was choreographed to be viewed on a stage, on a screen, or both.  This began the critical thinking process necessary to develop their dance video projects.

The students also engaged in another form of research:  exploring ways in which dance could be recorded through technology.  First they looked through a hand rectangle, walking around the dance room while friends were dancing, exploring various viewpoints.  Then they created short dances and asked classmates to record the dances on iPads from multiple angles and perspectives.  They watched the footage, looking for interesting moments in the choreography and considering ways the angles and perspectives influenced their viewing of the dance.  This helped them plan the final phase of their projects, where they could be intentional about the perspectives and angles their dance would be recorded and plan exactly what they wanted the audience to see.

5. Describe how the unit inquiry opens up avenues for interdisciplinary connections between the arts and academic content. How did arts processes and/or research practices facilitate students’ understanding of the academic topics addressed in the inquiry question? 

In language arts, the students consider the point of view of characters in a story and the perspective of writers stating and supporting an opinion.  Through this project, while considering dance through the eyes of an audience, a choreographer, a performer, and a videographer, students were able to make connections to these important language arts standards and skills.

6. How did the curriculum evolve based on the unit inquiry process? 

This curriculum was taught multiple times, to different sixth grade homerooms.  The first time it was presented, the students wanted to make videos only because they didn’t want to perform in front of an audience.  They didn’t consider ways to make the videos interesting or how multiple perspectives would influence how the audience viewed their dance.  With the second homeroom, the unit was taught with perspective as a primary focus, and as a result, the projects and presentation were much more artistic and creative.

 Section I: Arts Integration – Create Works 

7. How did students self-direct while creating their artistic work during the ATLAS project? Please provide any examples for the ways in which students made their own aesthetic choices and direction for creating their artwork. Examples might include but are not limited to: how did students make choices about the use of materials, how did they decide what they wanted to communicate, how did they make decisions about how to present work? 

Although dance elements and the work of Bill T. Jones were the framework for this unit, the students had complete artistic freedom as to how they choreographed with these elements and how they created their videos.  Students could put the dance elements in any order they wished and made their own choices about which movements to do in their choreography.  Students had to work collaboratively through the entire project because both the choreography and the video work were completed with a group.  Students also had complete artistic freedom when creating their videos.  They chose their costumes, decided where they wanted to record the videos, from which perspectives, and they did all editing themselves.  When it was time to present to their peers, each class decided which class projects should be presented.

8. Please explain what opportunities the students had to reflect on their experiences and react to the work of their peers. 

Students reflected throughout the unit.  They reflected on the essential question at the beginning and the end of the unit.  When they explored videoing from various perspectives, they reflected on how the choreography looked and what they found interesting and why.  They reflected on their choreography during the process as well as after the performance.

Students had the opportunity to provide feedback to their peers twice during the unit.  First, they provided feedback on the choreography, telling the choreographers what they liked and why, ways to make the choreography more interesting, and any ideas they had about ways the choreography might be recorded for video.  They also provided feedback on the videos of their peers.

9. How did the students’ artifacts from various stages of the ATLAS Unit impact your teaching practice? Please provide artifacts that exemplify your points. What did you learn about your teaching practice from looking at these artifacts? 

As I read the initial responses to the essential question, I thought about ways to encourage students to see video as an artistic process.
(See video here https://www.bulbapp.com/u/boone-atlas-project-year-3-stage-or-screen)
When I noticed that students were only making their videos from the front, I explained that this is the same perspective we get when we watch a performance live in an audience.  So I recorded part of their dance myself, as a moving videographer, to get the students to see that multiple perspectives might be interesting or to remind them that the videographer does not have to stand still.

Because using technology in my dance classroom is not a seamless or natural process, there were many opportunities for me to grow in my teaching practice.  As indicated above, sometimes I changed my approach to the daily lessons in order to help students explore the technology more artistically.  It also gave me many opportunities to reflect on the way I organize the technology for use in class, such as how to have the iPads ready for multiple groups to use them on the same day, or apps that are necessary to make the editing process easier, or adding in Chromebooks from their homerooms so that students had different ways to edit their work.  I realized that some groups needed to work outside of class on their editing, so I had to think about ways to share the video clips so they could use them at home.  I created Google Classrooms for each homeroom, which helped, but if I were to repeat this unit, we would do this at the very beginning.  This would allow us to use the iPads for student reflections, peer-to-peer feedback, and viewing the video clips throughout the unit, just by making the iPads available during class.  I will most likely use Google Classroom again with various grade levels that I teach, so this experience definitely changed the way I approach my classroom organization and will help me to use iPads more often and for various uses.

10. Describe how the students’ work was shared in the school or publicly. Why was this an important part of this unit? 

We had a presentation and performance for an audience of fourth and fifth grade students.  In the presentation, students described what they learned in the unit and their artistic process as choreographers and videographers.  Then they performed their dances live and shared their videos.  This is an important part of the unit because dance is a performing art, and I feel strongly that there should be an element of performance in every dance unit.  But it was also important for the students to have the opportunity to express their viewpoints on the essential question because it gave the audience new perspectives about the ways in which dance can be presented.

 Section I: Arts Integration – Collaboration 

11. How did students collaborate at different stages of the project? Examples might include but are not limited to: did the students research together, did they create together, did they critique together, did they present together? 

At the beginning of the unit, we had a whole group discussion of the essential question.  Students listened to the viewpoints of their classmates.  We also had whole group discussions of the close read of the Bill T. Jones videos.  Before working in groups, the class developed a rubric for scoring individual contribution to small group work.  This rubric was used daily to grade each individual on their participation in the small group work.  The rest of the student activities were in small groups and required collaboration.

Students worked together to create their dances.  Each group received a folder with dance element cards, photographs of Bill T. Jones in performance, and an assigned choreographic device.  They had to decide the order of the cards and pictures, then developed original choreography using the cards and pictures as an outline for the dance.

Students collaborated to discover various ways to video their dances.  First they asked classmates to record from different angles and perspectives.  Then they watched and discussed each video in their small group.  Finally, they decided together how they would record the dances for the video project. Students also worked together to edit their videos for presentation.

At the end of each class period, students graded each member of the group using the rubric they developed as a class.  Each group discussed the participation and contribution of each individual in their group before giving them a score for the day.  This helped students to be more responsible to their group throughout the choreographic and video process.

12. In what ways did you collaborate with the students for this unit. How did the students impact the way in which the curriculum was implemented? For example, how did students help you plan, develop, and/or implement the curriculum? 

I met with each group throughout their choreographic process to give them feedback, explain the terms on their dance elements cards, and assist them with their teamwork.  I also met with each group to discuss their decisions about location for videotaping the dance, costume and music selections, and their technology needs. 

Each class impacted the way the curriculum was presented because I often discovered that I needed to change my approach to help the students see that videoing is an artistic process.  I had to approach my lessons and activities differently in order to help students use the technology more artistically.  

The students helped me develop rubrics for scoring individual contributions to the group work.  The students also helped me plan the final presentation of their work.

13. How did you collaborate with other teachers in your school to plan and/or implement the unit? 

The technology teacher assisted me with the final presentation and gave me many ideas about ways to use the iPads to edit videos without iMovie installed on them.  He also made the suggestion about housing the video clips on Google Classroom and having students use WeVideo on their Chromebooks to edit the videos.  This unit would not have been successful without his assistance.

 Section II: Technology Integration 

14. What was your process for selecting this form of digital media technology? Why did you think this form of digital media technology would be ideal for student learning? 

I thought that the students would enjoy making dance videos so I selected iPads as my form of digital media technology.  Since we had studied Merce Cunningham in fifth grade and would be studying Bill T. Jones in sixth grade, and both choreographers used videos in unique ways, I thought doing a video project was a great way to connect to our dance history component.

Also, students are very connected to “screens” throughout their personal lives.  Many of my students learn dances from YouTube videos, play video games on their phones, or use social media.  It is a part of their daily lives, so I decided creating video might be a more natural way for them to use technology in my class.

15. How did students use digital media technology to direct their own learning? Provide artifacts to show evidence of how students used the technology to direct their own learning. Examples might include but are not limited to: making choices about technologies to use, using technology to facilitate experimentation, using technology as a research tool, to express themselves artistically, and/or to make meaning of their experiences. 

My students had varied experiences with editing video, and I did not have iMovie on my iPads and had little time to teach students these skills.  This was unfortunate because sometimes one group member became responsible for all of the editing.  However, some students were eager to try the editing and they learned how to edit the videos on their Chromebooks using a trial and error method and WeVideo.  So in this way, the students directed their own learning because they were teaching themselves how to edit.

16. How did you use technology to enhance the learning environment for both you as a teacher and for the students? 

Technology definitely made the dance learning environment more fun.  When students discovered that the iPads could be used to record their dances in interesting ways, it changed the way students see dance and see videography.  This made all parts of the process and the learning environment more creative.

17. In what ways do your chosen technology resources align with your goals and outcomes for student learning? Looking back at the unit, how did the technology meet, not meet or exceed your expectations for facilitating student outcomes. 

My student outcomes:  (1) to identify choreographic devices and be able to perform them through movement, (2) to know facts about choreographer Bill T. Jones, (3) to collaborate to create original choreography using dance elements and a choreographic device, (4) to develop critique skills, and (5) to use technology for research, documentation, critique and revision, and for presentation of their dance.  My final outcome is connected to the use of technology within the unit.  I feel it met my expectations but that it would have been more effective if I had iMovie on my iPads, had more time for teaching the students editing skills, and more time for editing.

18. How did the use of technology contribute to students’ application of higher order thinking skills? Examples of student higher order thinking skills include metacognition, self-reflection, analysis, and application of knowledge or skills. 

The technology helped students develop critical thinking about not only their choreography but in the ways in which it could be presented.

19. How did the use of technology drive student creative artistic expression? Please provide student artifacts that exemplify how technology supported their artistic expression. 

Once I was able to help students to see the video process as an artistic process, it became a tool for their creative expression.  They understood it could be used to provide multiple perspectives of their dance.

See videos: https://www.bulbapp.com/u/boone-atlas-project-year-3-stage-or-screen

20. How did the integration of digital media technology impact your teaching practice? 

Overall, I feel that being encouraged to use digital media technology in my lessons has opened my eyes to the many possibilities provided by technology.  It can be used for documentation.  Students can watch their dances and revise them based on the videos.  It can be a tool for presentation. It can be used for organization.  And so much more.  Technology will continue to impact my teaching practice because I am more open to trying it and have more tools available to me than I did before.