My wife and I had the privilege of attending Hardy Elementary School’s Holiday Extravaganza last week. This was their first attempt at what we call an “exposition of learning”. It is an opportunity for students to share what they have learned with a wider audience. Students lined the foyer in front of the auditorium with the crafts they produced: ornaments, holiday cards, cookbooks, brochures to advertise the show, etc. How does all of this relate to an authentic learning experience?
The essential question for students was, “Is it better to give than to receive?” Students chose to give all the proceeds from their work and their show to the Mission of Hope. The students learned the gift of giving and empathy through this amazing project. Students were eager to tell the adults about their work. They used incredible communication skills to describe the project. The entire performance was student lead. The faculty and staff of Hardy who went through the deeper learning training really understood the purpose of students owning their work and being proud to share it. All of those in attendance were impressed with the work the students had done in a little over 9 weeks of school.
I wanted to share a letter from one of the parents who attended the extravaganza. Her comments were so powerful that I asked her permission to include the letter in my blog.
Hardy's Holiday Extravaganza was such a meaningful experience for my child and myself. I really felt the Hardy "family" feeling yesterday. Watching everything come together and looking around at the auditorium and all the students had accomplished was an incredibly warm and proud feeling. I kept seeing more and more posters and pictures of the authentic learning opportunities Hardy students had over the past 10+ weeks. This is something my child and my family will always remember.
I taught using Project Based Learning at a school that had been practicing it for several years. This is new and I recognize how much work goes in to switching gears and trying something different. There will always be challenges, but Hardy embraced this opportunity to do something different and the students have flourished.
Thank you for your support this year.
Congratulations to Hardy Elementary for an outstanding demonstration of student work.