100 Chairs for Parents

By | 2015-05-19T11:07:07+00:00 May 11, 2015|21st Century Learning, Elementary, School Vision|

Remember Curriculum Chapels?

For several years, each grade level needed to present something about what they had been learning about in class. With a mission statement that says, “all of life under God,” everything we do is worship. It made sense to do chapels in which our learning was presented as an offering of worship.

One of the things I loved about those chapels was having to set up about 100 chairs for parents, and sometimes that wasn’t even enough. The belief behind hasn’t changed, even with a change in our mission statement, but we have changed our practice. Yet parental response remains as strong as ever.

Learning refreshed

Good as curriculum chapels were, over the last couple of years, it became increasingly difficult to come up with new ideas and make them chapels authentic. Even though they were based on actual classroom learning, they still became an “extra,” because the learning wasn’t always done in a way that lent itself to presentation.

So, this year we said we were not going to do them. But we saw the value of presenting our learning in authentic ways to a broader audience. We also were developing learning by doing projects, rather than doing projects following the learning.

Taking up the challenge

We set a goal that every class would do one project this year which involved presenting our learning to an audience beyond the classroom. I have to say I have been humbled again by the way in which our teachers took up the challenge.

Incredible new and innovative projects were developed. There was the UP Pioneer Museum, which was never done before. The grade four and five Potlatch day did have some history at the school, but what happened this year far surpassed anything previously done, especially in terms of student developed projects and presentations of learning.

What a turnout!

Most exciting, again, was the parental response. I gave up trying to count, but I estimate around 140 parents attended each of the events mentioned above. And then, shortly after the flurry of activity of the Potlatch had died down, we had the grade four and five Art Show. A steady stream of parents came through the door again.

All of this makes me feel so blessed and proud to be part of this community of learning. It makes me excited to see what lies ahead. No doubt it will continue to develop as new ideas are generated. And, as one teacher pointed out, we do need to consider the potential for presentation fatigue. Yet, I am confident that parents will continue to support, encourage and flock through the doors.

Oh yes, that is also why we realized we needed to add a matinee performance of “Annie.” What a wonderful problem to have to figure out!

 

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