Like students working in a formative assessment process, teachers implement formative assessment in their classrooms, document, reflect upon, share the results, plan improvements, and make revisions.
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Odyssey Scene Rehearsal1/7
“Does the process of peer feedback using student directors help to build students’ performance skills in scene work?”
Mr. Ron Sopyla addressed the challenge of designing formative assessment resources appropriate for early childhood learners. He discovered the power of formative assessment to promote student language development in his 3rd grade theater classes at PS 88 in the Bronx. It enabled students in new ways, and it opened new realizations for him about what his students could do.2/7
A major breakthrough for Mr. Sopyla came from realizing that students can give feedback to their peers, and when they do, they become directors.
Led by Mr. Sopyla, students generated their own criteria for successful dramatic performance. In small, mostly self-led groups, students collaborated toward success, developing content learning and social skills along the way.3/7
Responding to the directors’ instructions, students performed scenes, employing “tactics” to communicate their characters’ ”objectives.”
As the actors started to view performance as part of the rehearsal process, anxieties waned, and their skills, focus, and confidence grew.4/7
As students increasingly took responsibility for their success as actors and as an ensemble, Mr. Sopyla’s role shifted from solitary director to the leader of a learning community.
Equipped with an “I like / I wish” protocol, students began to critically observe and review each other’s performances.5/7
Students understood they were working through a process towards giving a live performance. Their comments after each rehearsal set goals that focused and improved the next one. Mr. Sopyla created simple forms based on the criteria he generated with his students. From their written comments, Mr. Sopyla structured subsequent lessons to help students achieve their own goals.
Students truly felt they owned their process.6/7
Mr. Sopyla realized that implementing formative assessment practices was simply a matter of becoming conscious of his own teaching practices.
“I can’t even imagine functioning in a classroom now without it.”7/7
Odyssey Scene Rehearsal: Peer Feedback & Self Reflection
“Formative Assessment has become an important part of my work. I can’t imagine functioning in a classroom now without it.”–
Ron Sopyla, Theater Instructor
My 3rd grade students worked in pairs with a student director in the rehearsal and performance of a scene from Homer's The Odyssey (Robert Fagles translation). Students developed an acting rubric and focused on physical and vocal expression. Student directors used the rubric criteria to communicate feedback to the actors. In addition students generated a list of Things Good Directors Say to guide directorial feedback.