A great inquiry strategy to open up movement composition unit
Tapping into our students' natural curiosities is a huge part of the inquiry cycle. I am always on the look out for new strategies to try out in PE and I first learned about the 'I See, I Think, I Wonder' strategy in a Visible Thinking professional development session run by well-known consultant, Ron Richhart, a few weeks back at our Feedback for Effective Thinking conference at Nanjing International School. I know that several of my colleagues used the strategy with great success after they had learned about it in the conference. Since that time I have researched how it is done and decided that I would give it a go when introducing my movement composition unit in grades 3, 4, and 5.
I started off my showing the students a number of different movement composition type videos from You Tube. These videos were not focused exclusively on dance as I wanted to open their minds to the endless possibilities that exist in terms of movement composition. I showed Kung Fu Panda fight sequences, a Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Sword fighting scene, Stomp, a gymnastics routine, a martial arts sequence using a staff, and a juggling act. Regardless of the type of movement, all the videos showed great creativity and emphasized the fact that movement composition can come in a variety of forms. Here are links to the You Tube videos that were shown:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFH6lXJ6c4k Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zehZo-hObys Kung Fu Panda
I See, I Think, I Wonder in Action
Before watching the videos, I gave my students a number of yellow stick it notes and a pencil each. As they had all been exposed the the 'I See, I Think, I Wonder' strategy back in their classrooms, it didn't take a lot of explaining. I asked them to explain to me what this strategy means and we began the activity. While watching the videos, the students had to write down their thoughts. What was it that they were seeing in the videos? What caught their eye? What were they thinking as they watched these videos? And most importantly, what did they wonder about? What captured their attention and caused them to really wonder?
I can say that they were fully engaged in this task and the ideas that they generated about movement composition, in general, worked to really set a great tone for this unit. After the last video, I gave them a few minutes to have a discussion with their elbow buddy before posting their ideas up on the 'I See, I Think, I Wonder' posters on the wall of our movement composition room. We had a group sharing session before moving on to the next activity. The 'I See, I Think, I Wonder' session lasted about 15-20 minutes.
Some PE teachers would be completely opposed to this type of activity as it requires kids to sit and to essentially not not be active. I would strongly argue that great thinking occurs when using strategies such as this. In my opinion, there is absolute pedagogical justification in taking time to tap into their curiosities, to address conceptual learning, and to create a learning rich environment by having important conversations in our classes.
Once we were done this activity, I had the students gather around the smart board to do a Kung Fu Fighter Just Dance video. It was a great way to transition into the dancing part of the class and the students really loved it. They go crazy for Just Dance and it is one of my essential instructional tools in my movement composition unit. In the video below, you can see my grade 3 class rocking it out. I recommend that you look into the 'I See, I Think, I Wonder' strategy if you have not used it. Thanks for reading!