My students are creating an anthology of poetry and short stories. They are even publishing it themselves. We'll have a book release party, where parents will come and the students can read their work. We will keep copies of their book and others like it in the library for everyone to enjoy.
Publishing student writing is easy with the various publishing apps available online. You can even self-publish in an analog way, by binding the book yourself.
Book-creating is just one example of the many ways we, as TLs, can showcase students' work. Educator Rushton Hurley once said, “If students are sharing their work with the world, they want it to be good. If their just sharing it with you, they just want it to be good enough.“
I couldn’t agree more! Showcasing student work in a public forum, whether it be up on the walls in the school or in an online portfolio or blog is a great way to encourage students to take pride in, and ownership of, their work.
There are so many ways to share and showcase student learning. Of course, you can still do it the old-fashioned way, by putting their art, writing, or other creations on display in the library. But, consider for a moment how exciting it would be if we allowed for multi-modal showcasing. For example, young students doing a story workshop could showcase their storytelling abilities through theatre or film, creating sets, writing scripts, making puppets and working collaboratively with their peers. You could even put on a “film festival” to show off their final products.
Educators are using web 2.0 tools to showcase student learning. Blogs and digital scrapbooks are a great way to connect students to each other and the community at large. Blogs allow students to connect at school and at home, building understanding through guided inquiry. It takes a bit to start up a web 2.0 venture with students. First you need to ensure that they know the ins and outs of being a digital citizen.
There are generally 4 types of blogs: news, where students discuss and analyze current events.
mirror, where students reflect on their own learning and experiences,
showcase, where students can post work that they have created (much like on freshgrade), and literacy response, where students read and analyze books and other pieces of literature. Just remember that if you are sharing something like a blog, a class Youtube channel, or Twitter page, you need to adhere to your district’s privacy policies, and may need to limit your audience to protect your students’ privacy.
If teachers are feeling especially ambitious, they can bring students into community activism projects, such as hosting a public forum on a topic they have been researching, or getting involved with a local environmental restoration project of their choosing. Students tend to do their best work when they know that it will have a real-world impact.
The Learning Commons plays a huge role in the way that student work is showcased, especially when students have access to maker-spaces, filming equipment, book creating apps, and robotic equipment. There is no place in the new BC curriculum where it says that students have to write or take a test to showcase their learning. They can show their learning with art, writing, oral presentations, blogging, vlogging…. The sky is the limit in the LC, and giving them choices is a huge part of universal design.