As we are getting closer to the end of the school year, I have been thinking a lot about the continuation of our Eportfolio project. Then I came upon this great video, that shows the power of media and sharing it over time:
It is amazing to think how really easy it is now, if planned for properly, it will be for students to actually be able to see their growth over years within our school. Taking pictures, videos, sharing writing, and so on, our kids will be able to create this digital scrapbook of their learning over a long time. Watching “Sophie” in the above video and seeing her grow throughout the years, is pretty powerful. It will be even more powerful when she is able to see it through her own eyes.
What I have really come to realize over this past year through this project, is that we really need to start honouring in school that learning is more like a “ray” than a “line segment”. A ray starts at one point (birth) and continues on infinitely. Line segments however, have a start and end. Obviously curriculums are built upon this idea, but we need to create more opportunities for students to just continue and build upon their learning from grade to grade. Of course we believe in the concept of lifelong learning in schools, but how often do we have students in K-12 able to continue on with projects or passions, for years? Do we create enough opportunities for students where they do not see themselves as working their way through the system?
I have often heard things similar to this in classrooms; ”If you think grade 4 is hard, wait until you get to 5! That is when it really starts picking up.” Every year our students need to be challenged and kept in flow, not just in the tough grades (which can vary depending on who you ask), or else they will simply check out. I am really looking forward to seeing the ray continue on next year with our students, and hoping that we can do more to create these infinite opportunities for our students.
I was totally inspired by this video clip last night:
What really moved me in this video was not just the enthusiasm displayed by the students but how amazing it was that when the school ALL pulled together, they made an amazing piece of work. Now I know that not everyone in the school did this, but it was a large amount of the students and it must have taken a tremendous amount of time and organization to pull this together.
Put this same video together with only one class and it would not be as impressive. Their is a real feeling of teamwork and camaraderie that this video exudes. This is not just a “gifted teacher” containing their strengths inside a “pocket of excellence”. This is collaboration at its finest and surely has many stepping up to be leaders and sharing their gifts; that was the only way this could have been done so well.
We need to see more of this in schools. We need to see schools coming together, dependent upon each others strengths, while recognizing the individual contributions that we all make. This creates an extreme bond and sense of community within the school. I am extremely proud to see how my own school community pull together to build our own portfolio project and develop Identity Day (amongst other things). The power of these “whole school” initiatives in extremely powerful , yet take an extreme amount of work and dedication by the entire school. It takes “school teachers” to work with all students to pull these things off successfully, not “classroom” teachers.
These school wide celebrations are just another reason we need to rid our schools of the traditional “award” ceremonies that have happened in the past. We continuously talk about school wide collaboration yet only recognize individual students at the end of the year. Should we not be recognizing everyone for their contributions everyday and maybe sharing the great accomplishments of the entire school at the end of the year?
My questions regarding these school initiatives. How do we make these projects happen more in school? How do we respect the individual gifts and autonomy of teachers while bringing the entire school together in activities such as the one in the video?
As we move deeper into our school wide portfolio project, I have created a presentation showing examples of some of the work that has already been done and it how it ties into 21st century skills. I have been thinking about this a lot and we are already seeing some powerful conversations happening through our blog/portfolios.
Although this will make more sense when accompanied with speaking, I thought I would share the presentation on my blog anyway.