At Share Your Learning we see value in elevating the work of regions that are often ignored, misunderstood, and rarely celebrated by the rest of the country. Today, we want to celebrate some of our Share Your Learning members from the small town of Cadiz in Trigg County Kentucky, where the superintendent, school principals, and a handful of teachers are shifting the narrative around student success and assessment. Trigg County educators in collaboration with their supportive superintendent, Travis Hamby have embraced all three Share Your Learning practices: Student Led Conferences, Exhibitions, and Presentations of Learning.
Anetta and Maela teach a Kindergarten/1st grade combo class and last year they decided to do interactive multi-station student led conferences in lieu of parent teacher conferences. They were encouraged to generate their own ideas regarding what content wanted to share by having them draw and discuss their favorite parts of school and reflect on their learning profile. The students then decided what they wanted to share with parents and created stations for Reading, Writing, Math based on what activities and strategies they wanted to share with parents and one reflective station where they discussed what they “rocked at”, where they wanted to improve, their favorite parts of school and their learning profiles.
“The were really honest, which kind of blew us away!”
When Anetta and Maela were doing traditional parent teacher conferences, they recalled maybe 60-70% parent participation any given year. When they switched to student led conferences they experienced 100% parent participation!
Cortney and Abby teach 3rd grade and engaged in a project where their students were learning about simple machines and magnetism. During the exhibition students guided parents and community members through each step of their project, teaching them about adult world connections and demonstrating how their machines worked. One student who could not spell three letter words at the beginning of the year worked diligently and made prototypes that showed push, pull, ramps, and pulleys and for his final project he built a dump truck. At exhibition he talked about types of levers he created and celebrated that he’s been able to use the skills he learned in class to build his treehouse at home. When an exhibition visitor wanted to purchase his dump truck, and he respectfully declined.
“The kids took so much more ownership because they wanted to do it [exhibition] right.”
Cortney and Abby agreed that in addition to student ownership, the parent involvement was greater than any previous experience. They reflected that throughout the evening parents were so engaged that they didn’t only listen to their own child, but interacted and learned from all of the students. At the end of the exhibition parents had to take a quiz which truly placed agency on the students to teach the parents well. They recall texts and Facebook posts of celebration and appreciation for the work students shared. Cortney and Abby are excellent examples of what happens when teachers shift their role from director to coach in support of student growth and development.
Kim and Dawne’s 8th graders collected a portfolio of work that demonstrates growth in graduate profile competencies and each students chose five pieces of work to present to panelists, engaging them in what they have learned and how they hope to improve as they move on to high school.
Similarly, Christina’s 12th graders completed a senior capstone presentation to demonstrate their growth and development in each of the 5 components of their graduate profile. She reflected that senior year is full of milestone moments like prom and graduation, but senior capstone “is a night about students’ individual accomplishments”.
All of these public displays of content connection are happening in one county that is determined to increase fairness and access in education for their young people. So the question is, how can we make this happen in all counties?
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