PYP Exhibition: Documenting work and student voices

As we draw nearer to the PYP Exhibition, with just over one week to go, students are busy and completely immersed in their projects. Sometimes, at these times, I need to remember to help them balance themselves–to take time to play and to step away from the computer.

With our 1-1 program, we’ve been fortunate to use technology for everything in Exhibition. From research to documentation, students use the computers.

A Typical Day:

I start off what we’re calling our Exhibition workshop with a minilesson. It all depends on where the students are in their progress. I’ve discussed with them how to write a sound personal essay. We’ve spent time brainstorming different ways to research and keywords that make sense. We’ve talked about how we express ourselves (our unit theme) and visually documented it and how to organize ourselves throughout the process. We’ve talked about expectations and created rubrics.

IMG_4532Students then have a flexible hour or two to work on their individual inquiries. They have a folder established on their Google Drive where they keep all of their documents. Some students are busy creating documents in Google drive for a personal essay. They are also researching through youtube and Google and writing up summaries of their research. They share those documents with me, and I take time to comment on their work.

Other students are working on their Google site, a website where they are compiling all of their information and expressing themselves in that medium.

Other students are adding sources to their Edcanvas, a visual collection point for images, sites, Google docs.

Students have out our cameras and iPod touches and are filming for a 1- minute passion video.

They are creating surveys online or interviewing by email. They are in the library looking up books and magazines.

I try to move from student-to-student and help them with keywords in their research (one of the hardest things for them). We try to sift through the zillions of items out there on the Web to something they can read and understand. I keep asking questions about their topic, their burning question, how they’re organizing themselves, what they need to do next. I facilitate.

The room is a quiet, focused hub of energy.


Using formative assessment during the Exhibition seems to be best. I’ve found that the students need a lot of check-ins because this is big stuff we’re asking them to do. Sifting through research alone is challenging, let alone putting it together into something cohesive.

Together, the students and I have created rubrics for the work they’ll do in class. The art and drama teacher have created rubrics for their visual aspects and for their speech. Students have come up with their own rubric tags (hero, superhero, cool, awesome). They will make copies of these in their Google docs. and record how they are doing. Some prefer to print it out and complete the rubrics in their journals. We just want to keep checking in how they’re doing. Here’s an example of a rubric:

Students keep track of everything online and what we call their passion journal. Along the way, we had students share part of their IMG_4467journey with their parents through a student-led conference. We wanted to make sure parents understood the process, and not just the end product. Parents helped their students with questions and some helped their students research. It was a good chance for everyone to check in.

Another way we’ve checked in and documented what the students are doing is through VoiceThread. We created a Voice Thread that asked students “So what?” So what are you learning. Why is it important? By listening to the students’ answers, you could see where they are in the development of their thinking. Making connections and thinking deeply about issues is challenging. Some are passionate, and others struggle. It was a good formative assessment. We also had a PYP school in Boise, Idaho, who is doing a similar Exhibition comment on the  Voice Thread.

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 10.21.41 PMExhibition continues and the blog continues with next: PYP Exhibition: Presentation and Action


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