Can using drama infused project based learning, and using community mentors during the process improve student engagement?
Teachers and staff chose this topic because they were feeling some of the students were
disengaging from school as fewer students in their grade level remained on the Island, and
classes were continuing to decline in numbers. Even though baseline data is harder to collect on this topic, the staff decided that they would survey the students not only regarding the feelings about the school in general, but also their interests in learning at school. From the results of the survey, staff chose to focus on theatre projects which included community mentors to meet the diverse interest needs of the students. They used PLC time to read through many plays and choose the right one based on student interest, created rehearsal schedules with community mentors, plan all the student project group associated with the play: costume design, art design, lighting, publicity (website and blogging), props, video, sound editing, music. All of these small groups have a community mentor or staff member attached to them, and students chose groups based on interest. Students are responsible for learning their acting roles for the play, but they
are also working with their mentors in the small groups listed to help the play come to
fruition. The small groups have just gotten underway, and teachers will be using the next PLC date to see how these small groups are working, and any issues that have come up with using community mentors. It is a completely student infused project which taps into the passions listed on the survey.
Describe in relation to the work of the PLC teams in your building, how this work is having a real life impact on student achievement.
In relation to our Project Based Learning/Community Mentor initiative we began by determining baseline Data via a survey of the student learning environment, and interest in learning at school. Teachers were feeling some of the students were disengaging from school as fewer students in their grade level remained on the Island, and classes declined. Students were asked to list what they were passionate about in their learning, and what their interests were. The theatre project was chosen based on this data, and includes community mentors that help the teachers and students in every facet of this project, from acting, costume design graphic arts publicity and blogging, to photography and making a documentary on the process. It is a complete student infused project, which taps into the passions listed on the survey. End data will be collected after the project is completed in the second week of June.