My Grade 3's cheered when we said "It is Grade 3 assembly in December" - ". . .Woo Hoo" Why?
We, as teachers, sign up to 'host' assembly, we actively tried to choose a month that we could make connect with the classroom learning. In December we will be inquiring with a How we express ourselves focus, so December it was.
At our school we have some general agreements about time and place and we are working on some of the physical elements of seating, stage and sound as well as procedures and they are evolving as a result of student action and inquiry.
But I still wonder why students cheer?
So the obvious thing was to ask them. Their responses were varied, however there were three main lines of response:
1. Our parents come to see us (Great a relevant and dedicated audience)
2. We decide what happens at assembly and can make it how we like it (Great student voice and control over what happens)
3. Other people in the school see us and know who we are (Back to relevant audience, coupled with a desire to be acknowledged).
So now of course I am questioning what we are doing, once a year our class lead assembly, every month classes can and do sign up to be involved but there are many classes and students and only 30 minutes. Nothing unusual here but that the students can clearly see purpose and relevance for the experience. When I asked if they wanted assembly more often the majority of students said no!
So I asked 'if you like sharing and having control and you like your parents to come why don' you want assembly more often?' the response was simple, you can only share some stuff - not what we are really doing.
My reflective question is now . . .
'How do we create opportunities for students to have a relevant authentic audience
where they have voice and control over events and provide an avenue for
people to know who they are?'
' . . . Should we?' YES!
If we are engaging in purposeful inquiry that has relevance and meaning then it seems to me that the desire to want to share learning and responding to the learning of others connects naturally to what we are doing and makes logical sense, generally we are social beings.
The challenge is looking for, or being open to, a range of possibilities, creating a culture of open discussion and reflection where opportunities to extend sharing to a wider audience become common place rather than an 'event'.
We are lucky to have lots of collaborative meeting time so the next Grade 3 meeting discussion will be centred around this challenge. I work with an amazing team of educators who are open minded and creative so lets see where this takes us.