Thought I would just get that out there. It’s PYP Exhibition time again. A time of love and not so love. A time of energy and exhaustion. A time of community and growth. A time to fill in boxes.
Did I just say that?
Our students have been excited about Exhibition. We are starting earlier and easing into it, which is great. We have kept action at the center of our attention and focus as we want the Exhibition to lead into an action forum. All good.
Today, we started off with prior knowledge about their general “topics” and then a concentric circle activity where they brainstormed issues about their topic from the “me” level out to the global level.
My colleague gave them some great prompts to get them thinking more deeply about their topic like:
- If you had to picture this, what is the first image that comes to your mind?
- If you could give a speech as the president of the world about this topic, what would you say?
The students were thinking more deeply. The room was buzzing. And then we asked them to take all of that, and think about their big idea, their central idea. We gave them a provocative central idea:
Through small actions, everyone can make an impact
And we asked them to think about what they really wanted to inquire into, based on their brainstorms….and the room went silent.
Our group of teachers disbursed to each group, bringing out ideas, prodding and poking. A few student groups were fine and dug in. A lot began to fidget. Some groups came up with slogans. One group came up with the central idea of our current unit without knowing it.
It was a bit painful. Honestly, I find central ideas a bit painful to write myself. Now, with students in differentiated groups with all levels of ability, varying levels of English, different learning needs and challenges, it was…. even more painful.
With poking and prodding, we almost got there. It took some joy out of the entire Exhibition excitement. It felt more like an exercise, boxes to check. I don’t like that. Neither do my students.
In past years, in past schools, we created a central idea, and students chose their inquiry lines and everything else. We did this one by the books, and I don’t know. I’m feeling a bit, well, boxy…
What are your thoughts?