Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Coalition of Essential Schools National Exhibition Month, May 2010 a guide

Coalition of Essential Schools National Exhibition Month, May 2010 a guide

Coalition of essential schools national exhibition month, may 2010. (2010). (PDF), Retrieved from


This is a downloadable guide for schools interested in participating in National Exhibition Month, as sponsored by the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES). The guide provides a tiered approach to creating a culture of exhibitions—starting with “Phase 1” which is observing other schools' uses of exhibitions, to “Phase 4” where implementation of exhibitions is systematic and integral to all a school does. The guide gives checklists for activities to raise public awareness of exhibitions as a valid assessment strategies to replace, or at least supplement, standardized testing. Advice on preparing for and organizing an exhibition, including suggestions for addressing the needs and queries of the public and the media, are included. There is a section of Student Guidelines to help prepare students to exhibit their work, as well as several pre-made forms for use with the media (such as press releases, letters to the editor, and follow up communication).


The CES has been a strong advocate of exhibitions and alternative assessment and, since this is a guide to their own sponsored event, the material is reliable and relevant. The sample media forms are a particularly potent tool to spread a uniform message about the power and purpose of exhibitions.


As someone considering my first exhibition, this guide was extremely valuable. I appreciated the scaffolded, checklist-oriented approach because it made the overwhelming idea of broadcasting my exhibition to the public less daunting. As eager as I am to try an exhibition and as much as I dream big with my ideas, I also appreciated the reminder to focus on small, reasonable, and successful steps. It will be more powerful to have a simple, successful exhibition than to create the impression that exhibitions are large, overwhelming, poorly organized, mere “activities” for kids to do. Although I am not sure how media-ready I will be this year, the sample forms give me great templates to use in the future. One section that particularly stood out highlighted some of the keys to success in the eyes of outside visitors: people must “get it” quickly; make sure your questions are essential and not yes/no; choose intellectually stimulating (not just “cool”) projects; use a QUALITY rubric (one that is well established, if necessary) so it is easy for outside visitors, and students, to understand what their work is about and how to assess it; seek out appropriate mentors and jurors in advance. I am looking forward to the challenges and rich rewards of participating in the 2011 National Exhibition Month!

No comments:

Post a Comment