What is Formative Assessment? Definition from CarnegieMellon,
"The goal of formative assessment is to monitor student learning to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by instructors to improve their teaching and by students to improve their learning. More specifically, formative assessments:
Why do we need formative assessment in a dance classroom? As a teacher I find in many classrooms, especially those that meet once or twice a week for only an hour, it is difficult to fit in everything you would like to teach. We want to instill in our students; vocabulary, technique, history, an understanding of choreography, and passion! How do we know our students are on the correct path to success, aside from watching them execute the given combination?
In this post I will address a form of formative assessment I have come up with that focuses on vocabulary, execution of movement, and choreography. This assessment can be used to address one or all of the aforementioned areas of dance.
How do we begin? Flashcards. I created three colors of flashcards.
Next I divided the class into groups of 2 or more students. Each group blindly chose 5-8 Yellow cards (depending on the size of the group, and their level of dance). The dancers took these cards and within their group tried to define each term. They then matched the Yellow card to the correct Pink card so I could check their work.
Once they had the correct vocabulary term matched with the definition, they chose Green cards that showed the execution of the step, or if it was a static position, the correct image that defines the position.
I asked the students to line up the cards on the floor to create a movement phrase. They could put the cards in any order the wished. I left this instruction very open for the students, I wanted them to be creative and problem solve through creating movement. Once they had created their first movement phrase, I had them rearrange the cards and create a new movement phrase. This was put together to create a small choreography.
I found this assessment to be incredibly successful with students between 8th and 12th grade. They enjoyed the process, which was vastly different from a typical ballet class, and were able to problem solve and use team work to create something new and different.
Other ways to use the flashcards -
In the video, dancers from Dance Unlimited.
Filmed for OPDI 108, through the National Dance Education Organization.
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Olivia Allen, teacher, choreographer, dancer.