Leaders of Their Own Learning
Chapter 6: Celebrations of Learning
- Celebration of Learning
a Culminating grade-level or schoolwide event in which students present high-quality work to the school community, families, and members of the greater community. It is a public exhibition of student learning in academics an dteh arts that features student work and student reflection on learning. Examples are Expedition nights, Culminating Events, and Authors' Nights.
Why this Practice Matters
High Quality Work - Knowing your work will be displayed at a celebration of learning will provide more motivation to do better work.
Having people outside of the classroom/school makes the work real and more important
In a celebration of learning, the students are the ones presenting their learning success.
It is essential for students to have many opportunities to reflect on their work. They must be able to explain how they got to their final product and why they made their revisions.
- Key Decisions to Make
When will it occur during the year?
What space will be used?
How will you ensure high levels of attendance?
How will teachers ensure students demonstrate mastery of standards?
What will be shared?
What steps need to be taken to prepare students?
How will students discuss habits of scholarship?
How will teachers be supported?
Determining the Focus of the Celebration
Classroom or Grade Level Based Celebration at the Conclusion of a Unit/Project
School-wide Celebration of Learning
Communicating with Families and Community Members
Defining Roles of Participants
Involved in the entire process of preparing.
Responsible for presenting their work and reflecting on their progress.
Carefully plans the Celebration (logistics, responsibilities, ext.)
Helps students practice and prepare
Provides appropriate learning targets and work models to build up to the event's presentation
Makes reflection a part of classroom culture
Help make the event feel more 'serious' and important
Actively participate in the event
Ask questions about the student's work
School Leadership Role
Support teachers with logistics and planning
Communicate with parents and personnel about upcoming event
Deepening Student Learning
Connect Student Work and Celebrations of Learning to Standards
Teach Students Oral Presentation and Communication Skills
Use rubrics to define expectations for presentation
Model characteristics of a quality presentation and a weak one
Allow students to critique an oral presentation done by someone else
Provide multiple opportunities to practice
Prepare students for the sequence of events at the celebration
Allow students to Engage in a Professional Role at the Celebration (tour guide)
Reflecting on Learning and Achievement
Documentation Panels: visual representations of learning journey, they help students tell the story of their learning.
Reflecting on the Celebration of Learning Itself
Allow audience members to reflect on the celebration as well as the students and teachers.
This part of the process is the biggest investment! Organizing a Celebration of Learning is a big process that must be planned well in advance. I think if you planned it based on the long-term learning targets you have been working on, then it will all flow together. However, providing enough time for students to create their work, revise, then practice for the presentation is a lot to think about. This will be something that would work well for a grade level to complete together so the responsibility could be shared with more people.
This step is also the scariest to me. Not only is it a huge project, but it puts your student's work on display. Audience members will see the quality of work and attribute it to the teacher. It puts a responsibility on the teacher to make sure students rise up to the expectations of quality work, which is very hard to do with a large classroom!
Check out other chapters by clicking on the links below:
Leaders of Their Own Learning
Checking for Understanding during Daily lessons
Using Data with Students
Models, Critique, and Descriptive Feedback
Celebrations of Learning
Passage presentation with Portfolios