Do you want to take your ordinary lesson to the next level, incorporating movement with your teaching concepts that will enhance student engagement and understanding? In watching the video Dramatic Interpretations of Poetry on the Teaching Channel (https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/dramatic-interpretations-of-poetry), Mr. Wasse takes concepts such as vocabulary acquisition, comprehension of text, character perspectives and peer relationships, and utilizes movement and drama to captivate and motivate student involvement. In listening to the interviews of Mr. Wasse and his students, I am inspired by the creativity and depth this lesson illustrates.
Mr. Wasse uses a familiar movement game (Fox and Hare) for his students at the beginning of the lesson to review and deepen the understanding of the word exclusion. After the game ends, there is a class discussion of the term exclusion, how it was used in the game, and his prompting helps to make this term relevant and connected to what students have experienced in their lives (higher order thinking). He then takes text from poetry to help make connections to this term, and introduces a new vocabulary term, status, to the children. Again, Mr. Wasse scaffolds this new vocabulary term by having students pose their bodies in ways that show someone has a higher/lower status, which is a concrete representation of something that may seem abstract or hard to understand from a sixth grade perspective. Students use an excerpt from poetry to make connections with these terms, and then are given opportunities to create “tableaus” in small groups. These tableaus are frozen scenes of the characters from the excerpt, and how they might be depicted and why. The discussions by students are very powerful to watch, and students are seen working together to justify why they pose in the way that they do. They have the chance to “perform” their tableaus for their classmates, and are given feedback from their peers based on questions/prompts on a teacher-created peer assessment form. They even have a chance to “role play” their character’s perspective by taking questions from the audience about how they feel or their response to other characters in their tableau. Mr. Wasse brings in another technique of asking children to think forward from a character’s perspective. How might a character look ten years from now? What characters would be involved in this new tableau/scene?
After viewing this video, I felt empowered as a teacher to find ways to use movement throughout the day with the students I teach. This video depicted middle school students participating in an “ideal” way, fully engaged and acquiring skills that will be carried on through adolescence and beyond. This video reminds all educators about the power we have when creating/crafting our lessons. What we do and how we do it is the art and science in our profession, having huge implications on student engagement and learning. What Total Participation Techniques are you using to craft your daily lessons? How engaged are your students? I highly recommend taking the time to watch Mr. Wasse and become inspired by his participation techniques.
Note: The Teaching Channel video is about 16 min. long. Total Participation Techniques refer to the text of the same title written by Himmele and Himmele.