Showcase: Ideas, Innovation, and Inspiration

What if we converted the PTC to an event where Students showcased their passions, interests, and authentic learning in a conference setting?

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UPDATE (06/01/16):

Here's an update to the "How could I get this up and running" portion of the idea:

How would I get this idea up and running? (step-by-step instructions others can follow)

Option #1

  1. Convert Advisory/Homebase/Team structure into a #GeniusHour / 20% time model
  2. Ensure that feedback is consistently and regularly provided to both students and parents
  3. Scheduling
    1. Oct/Nov, & Mar/Apr
    2. Each Advisory group gets the forum/auditorium for 1 evening for ~1.5 hours
  4. Showcase Showdown
    1. Opening remarks fr/ Advisor (3 minutes)
    2. “Poster” Sessions where parents can mingle and talk to students about their work
      1. 30 minutes
    3. SPARK Presentations by Students (10 slides; no text; each slide lasts 30 seconds(on a timer))
    4. Closing Remarks fr/ Advisor (2 minutes)

OPTION #1 (sample schedule)

TIME                

Location

        Description

6:00-6:05

    Forum                    

Opening Ceremony

Parents, teachers, students, and community members are welcomed to the Showcase Showdown, provided the evening’s agenda and schedule, and rules/expectations for the event.

6:10-6:40

Cafeteria/Gym

Poster Session

Guests can walk around and observe, inquire, and converse on the many projects, innovations, ideas, and inspirations being shared.

6:45-7:25

Forum

SPARK & IGNITE

Presenters are provided an opportunity to share their ideas, innovations, and inspirations… but with a catch.  They must pre-design a slide deck without using text and time 10 slides for exactly 30 seconds each.  This time constraint and text-constraint will require our presenters to share their ideas fluidly, clearly, and articulately without relying on the screen for information.

7:25-7:30

Forum

Closing Ceremony

Option #2

  1. Convert Advisory/Homebase/Team structure into a #GeniusHour / 20% time model
  2. Ensure that feedback is consistently and regularly provided to both students and parents
  3. Scheduling
    1. Convert typical open house nights, PTC nights, etc. to a more typical conference schedule.
    2. Invite in local parents, the Superintendent, community leaders & businesses to also present new ideas around a specific theme
      1. This theme would also be directly worked on by students to showcase their learning as well
      2. Ideally, partnerships between student passion projects and community members would be made so they could co-present/share at their session
    3. Sessions would be 20 minutes long
    4. 3 sessions / evening

OPTION #2 (sample schedule)


Time

Room #1

Room #2

Room #3

Room #4

6:00-6:25

Bees & Beekeeping

Gardening on Mars

Physics of Dirt Biking

Fantasy Football

6:30-6:55

Paper Wardrobes

Robotics and Groceries

Shakespeare & Drumpf: An Unlikely Duo


7:00-7:25

Metallurgy

Cat Hair Wigs for Kids

The Power of Grass









UPDATE: 5/26/16

Value Prop/Pitch: (How would you pitch this to other educators at your school and beyond?)

  • Educator Pitch
    • You no longer have to prep and schedule conferences for your students/parents, not knowing who’s actually going to show up when/where, and what mood they’re going to be in.
    • The responsibility of showcasing the learning is entirely on the shoulders of the students.
    • Your only responsibility will be to coach them through the process, and introduce them when it is there time to showcase.
    • I just reduced your workload and stress by several boatloads.  You’re welcome.  Tips accepted.
  • Parent Pitch
    • Instead of running room-to-room to get a small dose of information, come experience the amazing learning our students are doing. 
    • We have email, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and online gradebooks.  Oh and phones.  We (teachers) will update you on your student’s progress regularly.
    • Snacks!
  • Community Pitch
    • Your tax dollars at work!
    • Snacks!
    • Come find interns (or potential interns)!
  • Student Pitch
    • What if you could learn about whatever you wanted to?
    • What if the only rule was, at a certain and designated time, you had to share what you learned?
    • What if it’s not only about learning something, but doing something?  Like, real stuff… not just school stuff.  

How would I get this idea up and running? (step-by-step instructions others can follow)

  1. Convert Advisory/Homebase/Team structure into a #GeniusHour / 20% time model
  2. Ensure that feedback is consistently and regularly provided to both students and parents
  3. Scheduling
    1. Oct/Nov, & Mar/Apr
    2. Each Advisory group gets the forum/auditorium for 1 evening for ~1.5 hours
  4. Showcase Showdown
    1. Opening remarks fr/ Advisor (3 minutes)
    2. “Poster” Sessions where parents can mingle and talk to students about their work
      1. 30 minutes
    3. SPARK Presentations by Students (10 slides; no text; each slide lasts 30 seconds(on a timer))
    4. Closing Remarks fr/ Advisor (2 minutes)

Tools & Materials Needed:

  • Portfolio-program and scales for measuring proficiency
    • Google Drive and/or Seesaw
    • Guiding Principles Scales
  • Online Gradebook
    •  PowerSchool, JumpRope, FreshGrade, etc

 UPDATE: new pitch statement (via Emma ��)

Imagine a parent-teacher conference that was a true conference experience, incorporating voices from the community and students. What if parents came in and became guest-speakers, sharing expertise with teachers and role modeling for students. Imagine teachers delivering workshop style events that helped parents learn about their teaching style and expertise. What if students shared their passions; their dreams; their love.  What if learning and students truly became the core component of the conference... not just snippets of updates.  Let’s transform PTCs from scripted conversations to opportunities for the community to come together and celebrate, learn alongside each other, and support students’ achievement. This idea proposes opportunities for schools to create conference experience during back-to-school nights that center around students’ needs, and successes.

UPDATE: pitch video



UPDATE for 05/19/2016: 

I built a Sketchboard to start building this idea out more.  Check it out at: https://sketchboard.me/BzVPVFjqoHEx.  Password: TEDed

UPDATE for 5/25/2016:

NEW OVERVIEW!!!

We want our learners to be:

  • Integrated & Informed Thinkers
  • Creative & Practical Problem Solvers
  • Self-Directed Lifelong Learners
  • Clear & Effective Communicators
  • Responsible & Involved Citizens

          *This language is taken from the Maine Guiding Principles

Conferences historically have been a brief snapshot/summary of how the student has performed in terms of earning grades, yet do not historically focus on what the student has learned about or is passionate about.  Conferences historically have involved parents (from MS-HS) “running the classroom gauntlet” where they spend 10-15 minutes in a classroom, denying them the opportunity for students to share, show, and celebrate how they are becoming and integrating those core elements/principles listed above.  This idea is about getting away from the siloed-content focus of our Parent/Teacher Conferences, and focusing more on showcasing the learners in the light of the Guiding Principles (which matter WAY more than knowing what year the war of 1812 took place…).

What if PTCs celebrated student passions?  What if PTCs honored deep learning?  What if PTCs became opportunities for sharing excellence with not only parents, but with community members (business leaders, school board members, etc) too?


Google Planning Doc: 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1N2tKCaQFY8fl46XBwjsWkv8cHi8smu9RS8062bqv1X0/edit#


ORGINIAL POST:

Moving conferences away from being teacher-driven to student-centered is hard.  So let's take the idea of the "conference" away as being a 1-to-1 discussion about student work (which can be done via phone, email, etc.), and focus on celebrating student learning.  


#Whatif conferences were based on the TED-Ed model of "Lessons Worth Sharing"?


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Photo of John Faig
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I like the idea and a few thoughts occurred to me.    Students should do more than one session so that their parents could attend one and let them "solo".  I like the idea that parents might watch other students (not their son/daughter) and possibly provide feedback.

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