I do. Mine was a “GI Joe” figure complete with a pull string that enabled him to talk … I know, technology at its best! While he would say different messages, depending on the length of string you pulled from his neck, the only one I can remember is this: ”I have an important mission for you!”
Today, we frequently discuss the need to shift our mindset when it comes to classroom roles. In previous posts, I have written about the need to view our learners not as passive consumers but as active, engaged producers. We've also discussed the need for our teachers to be learning facilitators, or guides who encourage our learners, to create, communicate, collaborate, curate, cultivate and think critically through real-world work for real-world audiences.
Schools around the country are embracing these shifts, and offering opportunities for students to become more active participants in their education. One example is the Makerspace Movement. Another example is the resurgence of STEM and hands-on, inquiry-based learning.
What if schools around the country also embraced bringing back show-and-tell for ALL K-12 learners?
Show-and-tell encouraged us, from our earliest ages, to engage with other learners – and our teachers – as we shared with them one of our treasured toys or keepsakes. It was our moment to communicate with our class … our time was limited, and we knew it. It was critical, for example, that I shared G.I. Joe’s key features – like how to adjust his pull string for different results - before my turn ended. Following my “presentation,” I had to be prepared to answer the class’ questions, too.
Show-and-tell is really what “grown-ups” do in the real world, albeit in conference rooms with slide decks or beta demos. Imagine a school where our secondary learners embrace an elementary activity to produce work that met the standard? Where they could clearly articulate what they were making, creating, producing … and then look you in the eyes and nail the description? Imagine if they proudly showed and told all about it and expected feedback?
Let’s bring back show-and-tell … and offer our K-12 learners another real-world experience that encourages them to dig in and connect with their learning each and every day!