Exploration, creating, refining, performing in this unit
My grade 5 movement composition unit this year was indeed a journey of ups and downs, but in the end, my students produced some impressive work. I originally had a grand vision of creating digital portfolios to capture major learning moments during the unit, but had lots of trouble rolling the portfolios out on a new operating system that our school is using (Microsoft 365). This set us back a bit, but we were able to make some major headway during the last phase of this unit.
During the first part of the unit, the immersion phase, I had the students explore a number of different types of movement composition related activities in order to stretch their thinking and to understand that the unit is about more than dance itself. That there are multiple ways to connect movement with music and that we can find joy in this process.
One of my main goals straight away in this unit was to get my students tuned into the power of feedback and to create an environment that students chose to seek out feedback from their peers. I did this through a specific line of questioning that helped to stimulate discussion about the important elements of movement composition and how we can improve upon these areas. I wrote a blog post earlier in the unit about unpacking the big ideas in this unit and to use these big ideas as a spring board to deepen learning.
I'd like to revisit the visuals that I created based upon student ideas to set the stage for the learning that took place the rest of the unit.
What is important to understand is that throughout this unit, the students were required to create and refine a number of short mini-routines in several different areas of movement composition such as individual and partner balance routines, skipping routines, juggling scarves routines, balance beam routines (using narrow benches rather than actual balance beams), dance routines, and stomp routines.
However, it didn't matter what type of routine it was that they were working on, every single time the students had to create and refine these routines, important student learning outcomes were being made very explicit in order to give them specific direction and focus. Peer feedback became a critical part of this process from day one of the unit. There was a lot of structure to the learning that was taking place that required deep planning.
It was great to see the students seek out their peers to give and receive valuable, authentic feedback to and from one another. This helped to really set the stage for feedback to play even more of an important role as they planned their final movement composition routines. For this summative assessment task , the students had to create a movement composition routine of their choice that last between 3-4 minutes. They were able to choose their own music and props as well.
At this point in the unit, I no longer needed to remind them that they should be seeking feedback in order to improve upon their routines. Because we had already had several important discussions related to the importance of feedback, the students had understood this and were taking action in this area. We ended the unit off with groups performing their final routines for their peers.
Check out the video below to see a glimpse into a couple different dance routines. As well, I've included some examples of student assessment for you to check out. I love getting my students to reflect on their performance in a unit and to share their valuable thoughts. As you can see, I embedded a jpeg on the assessment sheet of the actual visuals that were used during the unit to prompt their thinking. I was pleased with this unit despite having the tech difficulties at the start. Thanks for reading!