Bulb Archived: New Sullivan ATLAS 2015-2018: Netter (Year 2, 2016-2017)

School Name: New Sullivan

Teacher Name: Tracy Netter

Section I: Arts Integration – Documentation.  

Please upload documentation from your project.  Please include a variety of media forms for your 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.


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?


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?

My inquiry question is how will Core subjects like Math and Reading integrate,meanifully, with the Fine arts subject of Ballroom dancing?  The big idea is the idea of  communication and performance.  It addresses the idea of integration as a vehicle for understanding in a variety of ways.

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 students research lead them to read, study and learn about the origins of the different dances they had to learn.  Students read learned and completed written lessons on each dance they learned and were assessed on the history of each dance as well.  The students also had to keep count and timed rhythm with each new danced they learned.  There were a series of steps, turns and angles by which they had to hold their bodies in order to execute each move so that the partners could communicate with their bodies and dance moves instead of verbally.

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?

The unit inquiry question opened up avenues because the students had to use their knowledge of Mathematical counting and angles to be able to dance together without speaking to one another on the dance floor.  They had already been researching and studing up on the dances and their origins so they were comfortable in what the purpose of the dance was for but the body language that was dictated by Mathematical calculations was critical in the succes of the performance.  Also, the video research that we did when also learning the dance really made technology a critical part of our learning process.

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

The unit really evolved when the students realized how dance was becoming a part of everything they did because they could relate the dancing/learning process to every subject in school.  Once the students were comfortable asking questions and finding their own answers their eyes were open to more learning and they were happy to engage in the dialogue.

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?

The students began to self direct once the finalization of partners were given to them.  Once the students felt comfortable with their dancing partners they began to make dramatic entrances for the audience, in the form of bow and curtsey, and in the theatrical presentation of the formal dances they learned. They also began to make suggestions on their costume presentation and physical appearance.

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

Every dance session was followed up by a  Art’s classroom session where the students would have the opportunity to view their practice session, make suggestions about the presentation of the dance, critique and help one another to improve on difficult moves and express thier feelings in general about the program and what they were learning.  The homeroom teachers of the students were also encouraged to integrate the ballroom dancing program into their classroom curriculum

and have the students journal and express to their parents, in written form, how they felt about the Ballroom program.

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?

The students had a few lessons about dance that they turned in that was shared with thier writing teachers that showed me that they really needed some intense writing sessions to help them better communicate what they wanted to say.  There was also a lot of video footage that we reviewed following each practice session that allowed us to see ever aspect of our dancing and to easily critique our work and the work of others for duration of the program.

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

The students put on a Dance show case for the school and the school community.  This was great for the community to feel welcomed inside of the school and for the students to share their experiences with their parents, peers and community.  The students also were included on a video of the grand finally of the program, which showed them winning the citywide program championship, which they shared with shared with the entire school.  The sharing of their accomplishments helped them to answer questions as well as help other students question more about the program as well.

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? 

In the beginning of the project the students were all just trying to learn the steps and figure out how to behave dancing with a member of the opposite sex.  After the students got past that they were trying to help each other (girls with girls and boys with boys) learn what they were responsible for in this partnership. By the ending of the program the partners were dancing for a while together and were trying to distinguish themselves from other couples on the dance floor. 

They also took an active part in critiquing each other so much so they took it upon themselves to dance during recess and afterschool, in order to perfect their moves.

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?

The students helped me to push myself and avail myself to them for extra time, pratice and research about dance.  The students also pushed into seeing how they could really communicate, through math, without talking, so they could perfect their dance.  

I also collaborated with students about how the dance and music stretched what we already understood about dance and media and how we would present ourselves to the community in which we live.  

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

I spoke with the teachers of the grade levels that I wanted to participate in the program before it started.  I let them know all of the details about the program, incuding why I was doing it and how I expected them to help.  The teachers were more than excited to work with me to integrate Reading, Math and Technology as well as Science,P.E.and the Special needs curriculum in order to accommodate all of the eligible students.  I would shared with them all curriculum that I had and asked for their help to enhance the Unit.  They did it without question and they would share with me all of the things they planned to include for their lessons too.

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? 

The process I used to select the form of digital media technology that I used was based on availability, know how and practicality.  My students are very visual and love to see themselves presented in video form so it was easy for me to decide that it would be best video tape and re-cap it practice session for assessment purposes.

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. 

The students used technology as a research tool to perfect their craft.  They also used it to measure out the space and how we cover more ground and really take command of the opportunities they have.

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

I was able to see things that I did not see during the practice and improve upon with the students or if it was something I needed to improve upon.  We have a technology team of students at our school and they photographed and video taped all of our rehearsals.  They were also in charge of our audio for the duration of our school practice time.

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. 

Well I used the technology to enhance our learning and presentation to the school community.  The technology did meet the needs of my students but I think if I knew a little more about it I could have had a technology program that would exceed my expectations.

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.

I think that even though our application of technology was basic and elementary it hit upon a variety of higher order thinking skills. The skills of self reflection, analysis, and application of skill we at the for front of what was exemplified by using video recording in order to revue and build up our skills.  We all learned so much about how we present ourselves to the public.

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

The use of technology drove the students creative artistic expression by presenting a visual of themselves as someone else might see them.  Once they became very aware of the camera and saw the first video of themselves working they were much more conscious of their posture, what they said and even of talking and listening to the teaching artist became much more intent and our lessons and sessions together became much more meaningful.

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

I feel like it made me a better teacher.  I think the fact that anyone could see this video footage and see what I’ve done and how I carry myself during class and my style of teaching just made me step up even more.