Using Exhibits as Assessment (Transcript)
Trey Joyner: At Normal Park, we focus largely on creating an atmosphere for the students to give them an outlet, give them an opportunity to exhibit the work that they've been doing, the learning.
Emily Pittman: Exhibits are the way that we allow students to take ownership over their learning.
Jamie Tipton: So, each year, the students will put on four different exhibits, and they work with all four of their teachers on that team to have a cohesive theme. In each one of the exhibits, there is a piece from the math class, the reading class, the language arts, social studies, and science. They all work together. In addition to that, we work with related arts teams to add visual arts, art pieces, Spanish pieces, German pieces, and the library will even write text and books with the kids. Each quarter, we sit down as a team and we assess what needs to be learned, and from that, we create the big ideas or essential questions, and so, for the entire quarter, students are presented at the very beginning with the essential questions. They learn in art class ways to incorporate art pieces to showcase one of the essential questions. In writing, they will expand and write persuasive pieces or poems to express that, and at the end of the eight weeks, we put the exhibit on. The exhibit is a way to show every understanding that the kids have.
Jill Levine: Teachers look at the big ideas and then the knowledge and skills, what the students have to know and be able to do. Then they look at, how are we going to assess that? For us at a museum magnet school, those assessments are our exhibits. They are often the labels that go with the exhibits.
Jamie Tipton: Students create exhibit labels for every single piece that's on exhibit to let the audience know what this is and why it's important. Inside the exhibit label, you should see the academic vocabulary, a connection to the content or the piece, and then a personal connection.
Carrie Willmore: When I'm asking them to write a label, I want to make sure that they remember all of the academic language that we talked about, all of the things that we studied, so that they can really show their best understanding of that essential question.
Jill Levine: After the exhibits go up, we have a faculty meeting in which teachers walk through all of the exhibits and they look for evidence of understanding, and then we'll share those out at the faculty meeting. That really helps to get everybody on the faculty on the same page in terms of our expectations for exhibits and what are true understandings. Every nine weeks, we have this big celebration of learning, and the halls will be filled with parents and children who are all here to celebrate what their children have accomplished. For me as a principal, I like to go up to students and have them explain an exhibit to me so that I understand, did they get the big idea? You know, did they just do a project, or did they really understand what they did, why they did it, and what it means in terms of the bigger picture? I think have lots of schools have ballgames and plays and concerts. This is a way to celebrate what goes on in the classroom day in, day out.