Video Title: Performance as a Culminating Activity (7 minutes)
Flashback to the post I wrote on using Ancient Art in the classroom. In that video the teacher’s main goal was to integrate art into the classroom and teach visual literacy to students through using art as a primary source. In this particular video that SAME teacher uses performance as a culminating activity for students to review Greek gods and goddesses. Again, the teacher has the goal of integrating the arts in the classroom, and his passion comes through based upon the activity and seems to inspire the students to put extra effort into the performance.
Performance as a culminating activity, however, cannot be used in the classroom without proper preparation or planning. Without either, the activity will not be powerful, meaningful, or effective.
- The first step is to introduce students to Greek and Roman mythology. As shown in my previous blog post, the teacher did this through using ancient art of Greek gods and goddesses. After this lesson, students researched these Greek gods in more depth.
- After researching students can move on to creating a script. In this particular case, the students create a script based upon Greek gods, inserting them into a talk show or courtroom drama situation.
- In addition to scripts, students also create props. The students performing as Greek gods created props related to their gods and were required to have one prop that represented the symbols of each god. For example, Zeus would make a lightning bolt and Poseidon would have a trident.
- Within the script, each student has to assume the role of the god. Meaning that they had to adopt the dialogue the gods would use. This mainly included using accents and incorporating contextual details from Greek myths themselves. For example, in the trial of Hades for the abduction of Persephone, the student playing Persephone referenced her crown and pomegranate, both representation’s of her character in historical art.
Grading: To assess performance the teacher looked for god and goddess attributes both in their costume and props, but also looking for that context within the dialogue.
After the performance, the teacher took time to have a debrief with students to ask additional questions to reinforce the content the students told and learned.
In my future classroom I would love to include performance as a cultivating activity. Growing up, I spent over twelve years doing community and school theater and fell in love with the possibilities of the stage. I think students enjoy being able to perform in front of their classmates and create something they themselves find entertaining. More importantly, using performance as a culminating activity can also put more of the burden of learning upon the students and, can perhaps, be a more effective tool in learning content. Students do the research and then put themselves in the place of their characters. This means that they think about the personality traits of their characters, their characteristics, the historical context of their characters, and try to reflect all of this in both their physical presentation and in their emotive performance. Instead of being passive learners of history, students are active in historical learning by using performance as the medium through which they do it.