Students in my Grade 5/6 class collaboratively created a piece that they showcased at the Surrey Schools Dance Festival April 20th, 2018. We explored humans relationship to technology with the help of our teacher librarian Mr. Jenkins and the kids ended up leading some of the rehearsals themselves towards the end of the process. I used a similar process I have used in the past for students to create their own pieces, through discussion, brainstorming, physical exploration etc. but with this one I actually had enough time with the kids to let them have creative licence in shaping it exactly how they wanted in the end which was very transformative for me.
Closer to the end of the process when we had different elements in place and I was trying to help them explore where they could go next, I was making suggestions and getting them to try things but they clearly were not working and seemed like I was intruding. I let the kids know that and they agreed. We all decided it was time for them to take over the decision making process for this piece and they nominated and voted in a representative to help lead them.
One student took over the running of rehearsals with my support. He struggled a lot in his first experience with this and when crying and refusing to come in the class wanted to quit. I encouraged him to be in the class while I debriefed with the rest of the class to help him to be a part of the debrief even if he was not sitting in the circle because I knew it would help him more than trying to run away and quit. This did help and he eventually joined us again after an exploration of what he did well as a facilitator and an exercise in trying him on to see what it might have been like for him to experience this.
We pulled the piece together, integrated the last few elements and worked out any issues we experienced in our run through. Some kids from the other class I was working with mocked our kids and they were super sad and dejected after that. I worked on pumping them up and reminding of our process and what we love about our dance and the Vice Principal came in to pump them up too which really helped given their long standing relationship with her.
They performed and rocked it and then after completed their own documentation projects on the process which was awesomely meta considering I was handing in my own documentation project around that same time.