First Ever Middle School EXPO
Posted by Nathan Hatt on 10/31/2018 3:00:00 PM
I hope that you are excited for the first ever middle school EXPO! There are a few ways in which this EXPO will be different.
Primarily, we are looking forward to shining the spotlight on our adolescent students. While we cherish our opportunities for all grades to come together and learn from one another, we also recognize the need to demarcate the developmental space for EXPO between children and adolescents. What we can expect to observe from adolescent students will help us to understand how we can best position ourselves as audience members.
According to the text Yardsticks, published from the Center for Responsive Schools, adolescents can be observed within their social and emotional development in different ways. Adolescents are capable and interested in perspective taking, reason, and empathy. They are interested in input from adults other than their teachers and parents. They are also capable of thinking abstractly about moral issues.
Our middle school EXPO is early this year in part to highlight the process of PBL. Expect to see projects that are in the middle of the PBL sequence. You will see evidence of learning, but also evidence of thinking. Students in some projects may not yet have a product to share. Look for examples of thinking such as the Driving Question and Need to Know process. Look for action plans, summary tables, and other PBL artifacts.
Some projects are geared toward a specific audience. For example, 6th grade students are making healthy snacks for the Ann Arbor Community Action Network. The authentic audience members for their project are representatives of that specific group. 8th grade students, on the other hand, are designing action plans for civic activism. Their authentic audience is comprised of community members, and will be interested in input from other adults.
At EXPO, we are asking that parents are engaged in the work of their students. That means thinking about the student process, but also giving structured feedback when asked to do so. As parents, we will need to be careful about how we give critiscm for projects. Here are a couple of suggestions... Consider what the criteria is for the project when giving any kind of feedback. For example, if a student is designing a stylish hat to block the sun, they will feedback on the style and feedback on its function. There will be forms to fill out so that students recieve written feedback that they can go over later. It is important that this feedback is private, and, if possible, not coming from the student's parent.
We are looking forward to seeing A2 STEAM families at EXPO this coming Monday, November 5th, 2018, from 5:30-7:15. All families are welcome!