On Monday, March 18th from 5:00 – 7:00 students who are part of the Bettendorf Schools ELP program conducted a student showcase to show off their work on their independent study projects that they have been working on all 3rd quarter.
We have 85 presentations spanning from grades 4-8. The elementary grades (4 and 5) focused on bald eagles as part of the Eagle Eye to the World project that was created by several teachers and former students.
Students made their way into the middle school around 3:30 after being released from school at 3:20 to setup their stations. We placed 30 elementary students in four classrooms in a manner that gave each student plenty of space to conduct a presentation and to quiet the noise from the hallways. Students had from 3:30 – 4:45 to get ready and prepared. After setting up students could eat pizza with their mentors from 4:15 – 4:45 (we have our elementary students paired up with 8th grade students to offer guidance). Also, during this time they were able to talk with Allen Holloway. Outside of the classrooms we had expert painter Allen Holloway set up painting a bald eagle to show the community all the various career pathways that studying something like the bald eagle. could provide. He was in the middle of painting a current painting of a bald eagle which was just amazing. To watch him work was a sight indeed. I had a chance to speak with him and he was such a remarkable guy. He had lots of visitors passing by and stopping to admire his work. It was a great pleasure to have him for our showcase night. When I was discussing ideas with him I found a couple ideas to be important. First, by sharing his passion for painting students are able to realize that you can make a living out of your passions despite what people tell you. He told me how everyone told him he could not live as a a painter and now he does just that. His story is important for students to hear that they should never give up on their dreams. Second, he talked about how important having something like this is for students. He wished he had something like this project available to him as a student. That was a big compliment to what we are doing and what we are striving to achieve.
Our big goal with the showcase is help our students learn to speak publicly and be able to articulate their thoughts and ideas. If we can begin to develop this in grade 4 and have them speak to hundreds of people on a night like this, then think about how amazing they will be thinking on their feet by the time they graduate. They will be ready for the real world.
Even more important to me about this night is that it provides students a chance to showcase their hard work and talents. I have told the students from day one that if you put in the time and hard work to this project, then you will be busy all night. I don’t have to give a grade because the audience response will tell you how you did.
Additionally, this gives the students a chance to show off their work. So often in school kids turn in work to one teacher who looks things over and gives a few comments. This gives them a chance to share their knowledge with hundreds of people That is awesome!
Each student had to focus on one aspect of the bald eagle that they were interested in studying more in depth. They had to create a display and have a station for people to visit. Additionally, to keep things engaging each student was required to have one interactive component. This interactive component forced the audience to engage in the material. When they complete the task, then they are awarded a clue to our scavenger hunt. You can view our scavenger hunt and handout here – http://eagleeyecamera.wikispaces.com/Final+Showcase
I will be sharing their stations and work shortly. I have been working on some video and images. In the meantime I wanted to share just one of the things we offered during our showcase on Monday. Below is the painting he was working on. And yes, I have all intentions of buying this print when it is finished.