Unit Overview

Summary Description of Unit

Students develop skills in drama, dance and critical literacy through an exploration of the topic of cyber bullying. The unit begins with an exploration of communication in a digital age, inviting students to investigate the differences between electronic communication and embodied communication. By the end of the unit,  students will understand how electronic forms of communication can be used with intention to harm or with intention to have a positive and powerful impact. Students view several media texts through a critical literacy lens, and use these as drama texts providing the contexts and roles that they will use for analyzing the motivations and perspectives of the bullies, targets, bystanders and allies. Students compose dance phrases and write monolgues, bringing to life the interior monolgues and outer presentation of the characters they create.  By "living through" the experiences of these characters, students develop empathy for others and deepen their critical understanding of issues of equity, and social justice.

Read more about Critical Literacy and how it links to dance and drama.

Overall Expectations


B1. Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process to process drama and the development of drama works, using the elements and conventions of drama to communicate feelings, ideas, and multiple perspectives

B2. Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing: apply the critical analysis process to communicate feelings, ideas, and understandings in response to a variety of drama works and experiences


A1. Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process to the composition of a variety of dance pieces, using the elements of dance to communicate feelings and ideas

A2. Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing: apply the critical analysis process to communicate their feelings, ideas, and understandings in response to a variety of dance pieces and experiences

Oral Communication:
  1. listen in order to understand and respond appropriately in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes
  2. use speaking skills and strategies appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes
  3. reflect on and identify their strengths as listeners and speakers, areas for improvement, and the strategies they found most helpful in oral communication situations.
  1. generate, gather and organize ideas and information to write for an intended purpose and audience
  2. draft and revise their writing, using a variety of informational, literary, and graphic forms and stylistic elements appropriate for the purpose and audience
Media Literacy
  1. demonstrate an understanding of a variety of media texts
  2. identify some media forms and explain how the conventions and techniques associated with them are used to create meaning

Big Idea and Guiding Questions

Communication in the digital age can be used with intention to harm or with intention to have a positive and powerful impact.

Individuals and groups can be powerful agents of change, and can help stop cyber bullying.

Through drama, dance, and critical literacy we can examine the power dynamics in relationships. Drama, dance and critical literacy can help us understand and empathisize with the taret, the bully, the bystander and the ally.

Guiding Questions: 

  • How has online media (such as texting, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and more), changed the face and impact of bullying?
  • What is cyber bullying? What words, actions, and attitudes constitute cyber bullying?
  • In what ways can we use media as a powerful tool to inform the public and advocate for the targets of cyber bullying?
  • Under what circumstances do people participate in bullying, either as a bully, a bystander or an ally ?
  • How does developing empathy for all persons involved in cyber bullying (i.e., the bully, bystander, target, and advocate) help me to better understand and effectively deal with the problem?
  • How can I use drama and dance to better understand and express my feelings/ideas about cyber bullying?
  • How can I advocate for the target(s) of cyber bullying in positive, assertive ways? What does it mean to be an ally?

Critical Literacy

Read more about Critical Literacy and how it links to dance and drama.


Assessment and Evaluation: How will students demonstrate their learning?

Assessment of Learning

Students are evaluated through a two-part culminating task. Part One requires students to work in small groups, to compose works that that combine dance and performed monologues. For Part Two, students are asked to take action to make a difference. They demonstrate their learning by sharing their work beyond their own classroom, with the intention of being a positive agent for change.

Assessment for and as Learning Anecdotal observations, ongoing teacher and peer assessment, review of anchor charts, development and review of success criteria, student reflections and exit cards


Unit Lessons: How will assessment and instruction be organized for learning?

Approx. Duration 1 class = 50 minutes

Lesson 1

Introduction to Electronic Communication

Students begin by drawing on their prior learning about electronic communication.  They critically examine a short video to see how texting is a prevalent social activity in teens' lives, which is at times misused. Through activities in which they decode texting symbols and body language, students  draw parallels between electronic and "embodied" communication. They summarize their feelings and key ideas through a choral speaking drama structure. 

Assessment for Learning: Observation Tracking Sheet
Assessment as Learning: Venn Diagrams

90 minutes
Lesson 2

Introduction to Cyber Bullying

Students  draw on their prior learning about bullying, examine different types of bullying, and extend their understanding of what cyber bullying is. Their theoretical comprehension is strengthened by a movement activity that explores the negotiation of power through body language. Finally, they critically examine an Emmy award winning documentary about cyber bullying, followed by a guided discussion to unpack the media text.    

Assessment for Learning: Observation Tracking Sheet
Assessment as/for Learning: Exit Cards

95 minutes
Lesson 3

Shifting Perspectives: Bullies, Bystanders/Allies  & Targets

Students consider the complex relationships between bullies, bystanders, allies and targets, as well as the factors that lead to such behaviours. They will view media texts: a PSA from Concerned Children's Advertisers (a Canadian organization), as well as a short video from "Childnet International", which be a source for character exploration in the coming lessons. Through a structured movement improvisation, and a hot-seating activity, students put their learning into action.

Assessment for Learning: Appendix 4: Teacher Observation Tracking Sheet 
Assessment as Learning: Peer feedback, personal writing reflection

90 minutes
Lesson 4

Digging Deeper: Subtexts

Students investigate the outer and inner voices of bullies, bystanders, allies and targets through the role on the wall, I am Poems and voices in the head drama conventions. They put their emerging comprehension of interior monologues to work by developing the first draft of a monologue "in role" as their selected character from the Childnet International Video.

Assessment for Learning:  Observation Tracking Sheet
Assessment as Learning: Writing in Role/ Monologues
Assessment of Learning: BLM#6: Voices in the Head Rubric

Lesson 5

Bystanders Standby UP

Students  begin by focusing on the role of the bystander to impact critical change in bullying situations. They view and anaylse an anti-cyber bullying PSA that targets bystanders, and highlights the tension between in-person and online bullying. Through prepared improvisations based on key relationships from the Childnet International Video, they expand their character comprehension, and return to their monologues from Lesson 4 for revision. Students practise sharing their monologues through speech and movement, in a choral improvisation structure.

Assessment for Learning: Observation Tracking Sheet
Assessment as Learning:  Personal Writing Reflection
Assessment of Learning:  BLM #8: Prepared Improvisation Rubric

120 minutes


Lesson 6

Critical Moves: Taking Control

Students  investigate the power dynamics present in bullying situations, as well as how these can be negotiated through body language and physicality. They create moving tableaux which examine the public and private body expressions of their characters, similar to the outer and inner voices discussed in the voices in the head activity. As they choreograph dance sequences, focus is given to how elements of dance such as relationships, space, energy, and time can be utilized to express power and agency in bullying situations.

Assessment for Learning: Observation Tracking Sheet
Assessment as Learning:BLM#9: Tableau Checklist for Success
Assessment of Learning:BLM#10: Tableau Rubric

Lesson 7

Put It Together! (Culminating Task Park One)

Students consolidate their learning about cyber bullying by working in their small groups to integrate the moving tableaux and monologues into a cohesive dance and drama composition. They share their scenes with the rest of the class in order to give and receive peer feedback, and then delve back into the rehearsal process to strengthen their creations. This activity is an opportunity for the students to demonstrate their critical comprehension of cyber bullying via dance and drama from throughout the unit.

Assessment for Learning: Observation Tracking Sheet
Assessment as Learning: Self Assessment, Peer Feedback

115 minutes
Lesson 8

A Web of Voices: Sharing Beyond the Classroom (Culminating Task Park Two)

The class uses the choice board provided to decide how to share their compositions  and learning regarding cyber bullying with a larger community either in their school, or online, to impact positive change and learning beyond the classroom. Options for taking action include a live performance, video scene, PSA, blog, poster campaign, and/or poems/raps. Students develop and implement their plans.

Assessment for Learning: Observation Tracking Sheet
Assessment as Learning:Individual Writing Reflection, Peer Feedback
Assessment of Learning: Appendix B: Culminating Task Rubric

125 minutes