How does differentiated instruction support student learning about history through dance?
Project or Program Summary
Please provide a summary of the project/program as demonstrated in the case study: 
This dance residency explores the language of dance within a historical context. Students learn to identify and use the elements (or building blocks) of dance including time, space and energy. They examine a dance by given group of people in a specific period of time and ask- How does this dance express their shared experience or culture? What does it tell me about their beliefs, environment, social structure, etc…? Students are introduced to primary sources of a historical period including text and video as well as preserved reenactments based on primary sources. Students consider the context including social, economic, environmental and political influences and analyze how they manifest in the dance. By learning the dances, students get an opportunity to physically experience the choices while reflecting on their motivations. This helps students to enter history and empathize with the people of that time. Students make relevant connections to their personal lives in 2013 by using the language of dance to create their own dances based on the same motivations of the historical dances (ex. a social dance, a dance of resistance, a work dance, a mythological story dance, etc…). In the end, students share the traditional and their original dances with their community. The curriculum was specifically designed to engage students in a variety of ways to support their understanding, exploration, creation and personal connections. Students experienced: mini-lectures, explored dance concepts in their bodies, viewed and discussed observations of both historical dance videos and students dancing; learned both contemporary popular dance and historical dances; created their own dances based on a overall inquiry question shared by the historical dances; completed a dance study based on their observations outside of the school; performed historical and original dances for community. This case study explores how these activities wove together to provide a more holistic learning experience. In middle school students can vary in learning styles as described by Howard Gardner. Some are kinesthetic, spatial, mathematical, verbal, intrapersonal, interpersonal… Our hope was that by using a variety of techniques it would provide a broad platform of entry points for students to successfully engage them in the learning.
Portfolio Purpose and Rational
Portfolio Purpose and Rationale: Why has this case study been submitted?: 
This case study provides a platform to reflect on the effectiveness of the learning outcomes in relation to what the artist’s initial vision was.
Overall Conclusions
What are your overall conclusions regarding the documentation gathered for this case study?: 
This year, we have been focusing on creating short video clips that demonstrate the excellence of our artists, the student learning, and impact of our programs. Footage was gathered from both school sites capturing the Signature Core Elements in action through class activities and student reflection. We found that interviewing students as a group was more effective for them to open up and speak comfortably about their experience. The students all connected to the residency for different reasons, but ultimately they all agreed on three major points: 1)learning through dance is more fun than learning just through textbooks; 2)dance helps us connect to history though our bodies; 3)dance helps you discover who you are.
Assessment Conclusions
What conclusions have you drawn from the responses to the assessment tools you have developed?: 
Students were asked to reflect in writing at the end of each residency. The questions were designed to gather information about: 1) their understanding of dance and it’s meaning; 2) ways that learning dance might help students understand history; 3) what was their most memorable experience during the residency; 4) what was their most challenging experience; 5) how dance connected to their lives. After reviewing all the students’ reflections what stood out was the variety of responses regarding their most memorable or most challenging experiences. There was not one kind of activity that was viewed either entirely positively or negatively by students. This was not expected! The artist speculated that there would be a more popular activity or one that was unanimously disliked. The fact that an equal amount of students might have loved a certain activity as disliked it, informed us that it was important to keep the varied engagement model approach because different students were being reached in varying degrees with different activities at different times. What they all shared in common was an understanding that dance is a significant human expression. That all peoples of the world from all times in history have and continue to engage in dance for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, it was inspiring to read how dance connected with the lives of the majority of students in numerous ways. Many articulated that learning historical dances helped them to imagine, visualize, or understand what life might have been like for people at these time periods. They appreciated learning about history in a “different” way.
Answering the Inquiry Question
Back to the initial inquiry question, can it be answered?: 
Yes, the students' written responses supported the hypothesis that differentiating instruction, and providing a wide-variety of activities helps ensure that every student was engaged in the class at some point.
Conclusions: What Was Learned
What was learned?: 
To look at only a handful or one students’ perspective for this case study would not have provided an accurate representation of how learning was experienced or processed. For this reason, we chose to look at all students overall in a survey which asked them to reflect on the 4 major domains of instruction: understanding, experience, creation and connection. The result was a better understanding of the full picture. The variety of responses were pleasantly surprising. We learned not to assume that teenagers are homogeneous in their interests or preferences for modes of participation in learning and that it is very important to provide a balance approach in order to ensure maximum inclusion.
Conclusions: What Can Be Done Differently In The Future
What can be done differently in the future?: 
In the future it would be ideal for the students to also do activities that brought the learning to their personal life experiences. This is why a dance study was assigned were students observed a dance outside of the classroom in any context and reported on it. The result was a vast variety of contexts represented from home, community, Internet and popular media. Next time we would want to deepen this home connection by having the students interview an elder from their family or community about dance from their adolescence.
Conclusions: How Will This Inform The Work Moving Forward
How will this inform the work moving forward?: 
In Roosevelt the artist learned that every second counts when lessons are only 45 minutes. The order and amount of time dedicated to each activity needs to be carefully balanced to provide a rich experience for the kids. Too much time on one particular aspect of the program sacrifices time in another. It worked well to start with a relevant contemporary popular dance. This immediately engages the students with a familiar expression. However, a simpler dance to teach would be chosen since “Party Rock Anthem” required more than one class to teach due to the length of the choreography. This would provide a little more time for students’ creative collaborations at the end of the session. We would still maintain introducing two different historical dances because they provide a comparative base for students to notice how differing context influence expressions.
Core Content Standards
21st Century Learning Skills
Global Awareness
Civic Literacy
Learning and Innovation / Creativity and Innovation: 
Think Creatively
Work Creatively with Others
Learning and Innovation / Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 
Solve Problems
Learning and Innovation / Communication and Collaboration: 
Communicate Clearly
Collaborate with Others
Information, Media and Technology / Information Literacy: 
Access and Evaluate Information
Information, Media and Technology / Media Literacy: 
Analyze Media
Life and Career / Flexibility and Adaptability: 
Adapt to Change
Be Flexible
Life and Career / Social and Cross-Cultural : 
Interact Effectively with Others
Work Effectively in Diverse Teams
Life and Career / Leadership and Responsiblity: 
Produce Results
National Core Arts Standards
National Core Arts Standards: 
Local Standards
Describe Any Local Standards Met By The Program: 
1.1 Artistic Perception: Demonstrate increased focus, physical control, coordination, skill and accurate reproduction in performing locomotor and axial movement. 1.5 Artistic Perception: Use appropriate vocabulary to describe everyday gestures and other movements observed in viewing live or recorded dance performances. 2.7 Creative Expression: Demonstrate increased originality in using partner or group relationships to define spatial floor patterns, shape designs, and entrances and exists. 3.1 Historical and Cultural Context: Identify and perform dances from countries studied in the history-social science curriculum

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Project Summary
Social Studies
Lesson Plans
Instructional Supplements
Institutional Overview
Young Audiences of San Diego
PO Box 16274
92176 San Diego , CA
United States
California US
School District(s)
San Diego Unified School District
4100 Normal Street
92103 San Diego , CA
United States
California US
Roosevelt Middle School
336 Park Boulvard
92103 San Diego , CA
United States
California US
Museum School
211 Maple Street
92103 San Diego , CA
United States
California US