Saturday, February 15, 2014

Celebrating Good Endings

Discover. Play. Build.
   Thanks to Ruth  at Discover.Play.BuildRuth Ayres Writes for reminding us to celebrate every chance we get. Tweet at #Celebratelu

    It was a week of celebrating endings. Thursday, our school held our wonderful Exposition (Expo), something like a science fair where each student shares the accumulation of his unit topic learning for the year, yes, for the year!  It is an amazing evening, with many visitors including families, neighbors, former students and parents all returning to see what students have been doing all year. We have about 250 students, thirteen classrooms, and every single students has a display. With everyone's help, but especially the core teachers, which I was for many years, we celebrate the learning. It is an evening extraordinaire. Then a half day Friday, and we're on vacation for a week! Here are a few pictures of projects that caught my eye, arranged from youngest to oldest. I didn't do a slide show this time, but just took a few pictures to offer a taste!










              This final one is part of a student's study of metal work in art. I just took a small part of the students' entire displays, things that caught my eye that offer a range of interpretation of learning.  There are also lots of reports, pamphlets, movies and posters, and the best part, talking to the students about their work, what was challenging, what was delightful, etc.  And the last question, what's next? Sometimes students change direction, sometimes they change topics entirely and start again, to question and to find new ideas to wonder about.

             And, I ended my time as a round two Cybil's judge early this week.  After many 'online' conversations where I learned so much from my co-judges about examining a body of work, a published book of poetry, we made a decision.  Congratulations to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and Robbin Gourley for their book Forest Has A Song which was awarded the Cybil's Poetry Prize yesterday.  If you'd like to see the other winners, look here!  This list is a terrific list, as is the one here with all the finalists.

      My son and family are in from Texas to ski, and will spend Sunday and Monday here before returning.  It's such a pleasure to have them visit and I always wish they still lived a few miles away, but I am also glad they can come as often as they do!
      Have a terrific week everyone. I hope you had a special Valentine's Day!

32 comments:

  1. What a vision of learning and creativity! I am sure these pictures do not do justice to the actual displays. I can't even imagine the time that is put into these projects. Enjoy your weekend with your family and your week off!

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    1. Thanks Leigh Anne-this week is filled with tax prep, lesson prep, & sleeping a little later-being home is good, too!

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  2. Your pictures are beautiful. Students seem to really love these creations. What a wonderful way to display student learning. I love how different all the displays seem to be. I like being reminded of the importance of choice and the opportunity for students to demonstrate understanding in a way that is meaningful to them.

    That Monopoly game looks amazing.

    I did something in the past where we created a float (kind of like a parade), in shoe boxes of the states. The kids adored it, and they loved to see the work of others as much as their own.

    I'm glad you got some family time in. Enjoy your week off.

    Jen

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    1. Thank you! Happy you enjoyed seeing these few projects-the kids do love seeing other work too! Your 'parade' sounds like a terrific idea!

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  3. Linda, I love, love, love seeing the pictures of your students' projects. In my mind, those are what school should look like! Thank you for this important reminder! And have fun with your son and family this weekend.

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    1. Thanks Carol-it's a pleasure to see this response to research, a step away from the reporting, but so much learning involved. I'm excited about the weekend for sure!

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  4. THE PROJECTS - OH MY! So much creativity and higher level learning going on! I know that so many schools are moving away from projects thinking that the common core asks them to do more; yet, I think the common core really wants more of this: deep thinking and reflection across disciplines towards life-long learners.

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    1. If they want the move away, they're not understanding the learning that happens when research response has to translate into three dimensions, are they? Thanks for noticing, Anita!

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  5. The variety in these projects is amazing, Linda. Clearly, you encourage authentic and deep learning at Logan - what a wonderful place to be a part of. And how wonderful, too, about Amy's book - well deserved. I know it was all a lot of work...and thank you! Enjoy your week off - you've earned it!

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    1. Thanks Tara, Expo is such a huge deal that we all need the time, conferences and new ideas for research come next! It is delightful for Amy, I agree! Have a good weekend! I've enjoyed hearing all about your non-fiction work!

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  6. I want to visit your school one day. Such a place of enthusiastic, real learning! The projects look awesome.
    I treasure my signed copy of Forest Has a Song. Amy is a gem!

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    1. Thank you Margaret-glad you enjoyed those few projects, & yes, Forest Has A Song is such a treasure!

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  7. What a wonderful display and celebration of student work! I always love seeing these types of culminating projects. The kids are so proud, as well they should be!

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    1. You're so right, Donna, the kids are so excited and proud to show their 'stuff'. The project pics just don't show that, but I can't take the kid pics-don't have permission for that. Thank you!

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  8. These projects are just so wonderful. Looks like one could easily spend hours and hours looking at the displays. I am in awe with just this sneak peek. Thanks for sharing Linda.

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    1. Yes, we're all always sad when it has to go away. I've been in all the classrooms often enough that I knew some of what was happening, and helped with a few projects, but we've never figured out how to have a longer time. It's really too hard on the younger students. Thanks Carrie, happy you enjoyed seeing.

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  9. What a wonderful way to finish the week before vacation!

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    1. It's timed that way, Jaana. Everyone needs a break after this final big 'show'. Then back to the final parts of the year! Thank you!

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  10. I love celebrating the Expo together with you. Correcting - I love celebrating learning together with you.

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    1. Thanks Terje. Every year we wonder if it will all go all right, and it does. It's a terrific time for students and teachers.

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  11. The Expo looks great and what a great way to bring everything together! I'll have to loo out for Forest Has A Song!

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    1. Hi Earl, yes, look for this book; it's lovely! And check the other award winners, too! Thanks!

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  12. What an exciting event! I love that your students have time to explore one topic in depth. And I'm so excited that Forest Has a Song won. I love my autographed copy from last summer at All Write. Have fun with your family in town. And enjoy your week off!

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    1. Thanks Ramona, I thought of the All-Write too, a special time. Are you and Betsy going again? Thanks for the wishes!

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  13. What a great week, Linda I love the projects at your school. Our science fair is in June. Enjoy time with family.

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    1. Thanks Jone, I'm looking forward to seeing them! Hope your week is blessed with warmer weather!

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  14. I so enjoyed reading this post, Linda - and seeing all the wonderful Expo projects your students have done. I was fascinated by the diverse range of topics they chose to explore. How do they choose? Amazing! Structuropoly board game was particularly intriguing! Also thanks for sharing your experience being a Cybil judge. Forest Has a Song looks amazing - I can't wait to read it! Have a wonderful visit with your son and family and enjoy your week off. Will you be skiing with them? Enjoy!

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    1. No skiing, Adrienne. I just don't feel comfortable skiing anymore. As for choosing topics, New students are helped in choosing through conversations and showing what's happened in the past, but those who've already been at school usually come to the beginning of the year with one already picked, or two or three, then it's a process of narrowing down, more conversations, etc. Forest Has A Song is a lovely poetry book-hope you'll get to read it soon! Thank you!

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  15. The Expo at your school looks incredible! Love what you said about the talks...especially the "What's next?"

    I'm sure you are enJOYing your days with family!

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    1. Thank you! It will be a nice holiday weekend!

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  16. What a wonderful idea -- a choice project for the year. For each one I was trying to figure out what their topic was. Leaning through doing and viewing. We just started doing a genius hour with our 5th graders. I like the idea of choosing one topic to explore though the year. Might give that a try next year. Thank you for sharing.

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  17. I love the Expo idea. What a great way to learn and demonstrate learning.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!