When looking for ways to conclude projects and turn in evidence that your students are learning, consider creating a showcase where kids choose how to display that evidence (as posters, dioramas, poetry, etc.). The exposure they get is worthwhile on its own, as they find a greater purpose for their work. The project becomes less about “the teacher wanted me to do it” and more about “I wanted to create something to present to others.”
Put On a Show, and Then Reflect
The showcase is an open invitation for parents and peers to come in and see student work. I post a note outside our room asking all visitors to take a student-made rubric and grade presentations as they come through. Students also have clipboards for more personal feedback. After the showcase, I have kids first grade themselves, and then look over their graded rubrics from peers and parents, reading any comments. Their final task is to reflect upon their learning. They share their thoughts about the project, their rubric grades, and how they ultimately feel about their work. The three reflection pieces, along with the graded materials from peers and parents, are enough evidence to show that learning has taken place!
Create a Kid Rubric
I talk about what a rubric is by introducing something kids know a lot about—hamburgers! We examine it in terms of a grading scale: What makes an “A” burger, a “B” burger, and so on? I draw a picture on chart paper or create an outline digitally with clip art. Then, I ask students to describe the best burger they’ve ever had. As they share descriptors (juicy, lots of pickles, etc.), I create a column titled “Consistent” to indicate the best burger ever. The middle column, “Making Progress,” lists qualities of a good (but not great) burger. In the last column, titled “Not Yet,” are the qualities of a sub-par burger. Using our hamburger analogy, we come up with a rubric for our learning expectations!
3 More Tips on Presenting
▶ Practice, practice, practice! Invite different classes to be an audience or have kids practice with one another.
▶ Emphasize the importance of showing growth throughout the project, not just in a final grade.
▶ Finally, have fun with it. This is an opportunity for students to showcase how spectacular they have become as learners!
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Photo: Courtesy of Kriscia Cabral