And so we are off. Exhibition begins. For the 5th time, I begin, along with the students. Where will this Exhibition journey take us?
Our theme is the same as it’s been for the past 4 years: How We Express Ourselves. We are starting with the same idea: the students’ passions or interests inspire and sustain their learning. With this in mind, here are some conundrums:
- How do students move from a personal interest into something collaborative (as stated in the 1st purpose from the guidelines)
- How do students reach for something more global, outside of themselves?
- How do we keep all of this authentic?
Like all inquiry, we are starting slowly and seeing where this leads. Here is the lead-up and kick-off Week 1 and 2.
Throughout the year, students have explore their interests. Through passion hour home learning, they have played around with the DIY.org site, trying out different projects. They spent time exploring the wonders of the world with Wonderopolis.org. They have ideas and questions. We have spent time in other units exploring their interests. They practice inquiring on a daily basis and thinking more critically about ideas.
We start by introducing Exhibition. Form: What is it? Function: How does it work? Causation: Why is it the way it is? Connection: How does this connect to everything else that we do? We watch some videos from last year’s Exhibition and get ready for the parent presentation. Students have a general understanding that Exhibition is like a project, involving independent research and learning, working in groups, digging at something deeper and showing off skills and attitudes. It’s a start.
We then start to digest this year’s theme: An Inquiry into: the ways in which we discover and express ideas; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity. I ask them questions, and in groups, they brainstorm:
- How do we express ideas?
- How do we discover new ideas?
- What kinds of ideas are we most likely to express?
- How do we express beliefs?
They have amazing ideas that are so telling of their generation.
How do We Express ideas? Through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, painting, drawing, talking, blogs, music, stories, merchandise, protests and propaganda.
Their thoughts on how we express beliefs are similar. The way they discover new ideas is similar. They discover a lot from talking to people, TV, Youtube, school, asking questions.
What kind of ideas are we most likely to express? I wasn’t expecting this, but they immediately went to their interests. From trains to drawing, glitter and mazes, that’s what they express. They immediately had the connection that people express what they’re interested in. That makes our leap to passions and interests easier.
We get ready for the parent presentation. Students also break down the central idea, so we see their understanding. All is put on posters, displayed in the room and for parents as well.
To provoke them and get their thinking going about the central idea, we watch a video about a group of kids who were passionate and what happened with that passion:
In groups again, they discuss the central idea: People’s beliefs and passions can inspire and sustain learning.
What does the word belief mean to you? Their thoughts run the gamut from believing in things like Santa, religious, something you trust, to hoping for something (like change), to ideas like we shouldn’t have cars, points of view (could be political). Overall, students say that belief is something strong like Lincoln and beliefs about slavery. It could also be negative and positive
What does passion mean? A passion to my students means like a hobby, something that you’re interested in and love, concept that you keep for a long time, something you’re good at, a favorite thing to do, something that will affect your life. They say it’s something you always want to do and it makes you happy. Interesting.
They understand inspire and sustain.
Finally, students get on their PYP Exhibition blog and do their first blog post about the 7-10 things that most interest them.
It’s the beginning. I think the students are thinking. The next step is to narrow down their interest and start going global. I think we might use Sam Sherrat’s Bubble Up idea for inspiration on how to dig deeper. We’ll also use some videos to inspire about how you can take an interest like fashion and explore issues relating to it. Knowing the students learn and express themselves through media, I think this is a good next provocation. The journey continues.