It all ended with a bang and tired, but excited, students, relieved but sad to see it all go. Exhibition.
Our school holds one night for parents and the next day for students. Students set up their spot in the auditorium, having worked hard on their visual display throughout the Exhibition with the art teacher’s guidance. Downstairs, the “cafe” was set up with a performance space, nibbles and displays about the process, our passion mentors and students’ learning styles. The lights were turned down low, and the parents arrived.
Students’ videos advertising their passion and journey played on the big screen while half of the parents and students watched. Downstairs, the performances began. Piano, violin, gymnastics, wrestling, cooking, singing and a guinea pig graced the stage while parents videotaped and took pictures.
It’s a show, a show-off by the students, and they all loved it. Students dress for the occasion. They’ve practiced a speech and thought through answers to questions. They’ve researched, written, organized, created and know a lot about their passion and a real-word connection. And they were excited to share it with their families.
The next day, students do it all over again–but this time for students. Students from all of elementary school came to see and listen and touch, as the kids discovered. The chocolate booth proved especially popular where my daughter (in grade 5) was handing out free samples. The student day has a different feel. It’s louder. There’s energy from all students. Grade 5 students realize that their new audience isn’t quite as patient and really love to touch everything.
One of everyone’s favorite things on our student day was when another international school came to visit. Tokyo International School’s grade 5 students come to our Exhibition to see all the students’ hard work, and we’re heading to theirs soon. At the end of their time, students gathered in small groups and discussed their journey. They met new friends and look forward to their next meeting.
The showy aspect has been a part of the Exhibition for a while, and we’re considering whether it’s worthwhile. We stress process during the entire journey, and then we put on a big show. Is it right? We’re all considering that now. I asked the students what they thought, and some of their best times in Exhibition were sharing with other people what they learned. They liked “showing off” to their parents. It gave them a chance to shine. Some of their biggest learnings were learning how to talk to different audiences, how to display their learning. They found all parts of Exhibition challenging-from videos they created to the research and writing. They learned how to organize and they learned a lot about perseverance. They grew up.
The largesse of it all seemed to have a big impact on them. Here is their advice for next year’s Grade 5.
And here are just some of the things they learned.
So, should we take away the show, the pizazz? What are your thoughts?