When our staff came together last year to open our new school it was decided that our second parent conference/celebration of learning would be in a form of an exhibition. The idea originated from a documentary that we watched on our staff retreat after we all found out that we got our new positions at the school being built. As you can imagine we were a bunch of teachers from different schools, divisions, and backgrounds coming together to start a new adventure. Some of us knew each other from working together before, but most were new faces. We all wanted to start something special and the documentary called “Most Likely To Succeed” about a school in California was a jumping off point. The documentary shows how the high school values an audience for their students learning with an exhibition night. What would this look like in an elementary school? That was the question…
At the end of last year my neighbourhood colleagues and I got together to talk about our overall plans for the exhibition with an overall theme that connected us all. We had gone through our first exhibition night and it was well received. What were we going to do next? As we talked that day in June about our overall thoughts, we discussed how having a direction was important, but ultimately it was up to the students to lead us and we weren’t sure exactly how it was all going to turn out. That is the exciting part of this process. We shouldn’t know. As the year progressed we would come together several times to talk about our progress and encourage each other along the way. Our overall theme for the year has been “Where you live affects how you live”.
The first term of the year our class focussed on Canadian Inventions. How they helped Canada be smarter, kinder, bigger, and smarter. Why they were invented with a focus on the environments where they were invented. This involved our social studies and science curriculums along with so much more. This focus was a great opportunity to lay the foundation for our next inquiry. “How does where you live affect how you live in different parts of the world?” Each classroom transformed into a different world biome! Our classroom studied tropical rainforests of the world while other classrooms learned about the savanna, arctic, coral reef, deep ocean, boreal forest, cordillera, and fresh water biomes.
The three month study into tropical rainforests focussed on animal adaptations, had students as researchers, dove into the water cycle, art projects, math word problems, science experiements, drums, rainsticks, and lead to the class sharing a reader’s theatre of “The Great Kapok Tree” for other students and their families. It was quite the adventure that all lead to our school exhibition evening last Thursday night. The past few blog posts document our steps that led to our exhibition. To say the kids were excited would be an understatement! They were thrilled to share all that they learned with their friends and families!
Each family got a biome bingo card to lead them through the different biomes in our neighbourhood.
The school embraced the night and families were encouraged to explore the whole school. Classes created human rights exhibits, focussed on Manitoba habitats, alien inventions, and so much more.
What do you do when you’ve had a huge night at school with all of your students and their families celebrating their work? Friday was a day of games!
Spring Break has finally come! I hope everyone is enjoying their well deserved break. I’ll see you back at school on Monday.