Oh my! That’s just what we did at our final Celebration of Learning. What a great way to end our founding year!   The students smiled with pride.  We had entomologists and gardeners sharing their knowledge with any who would listen.

As we prepared, students reviewed their learning over the past five months.  First graders put together tri-fold boards based on their expert vegetable including important information and drawings.  Kindergarteners looked over their expert insect journals to remember specific facts about various insects.

Two days before the event, the whole school gathered in the lunchroom for a rehearsal.  Each class performed their play based on gardens (Earl the Earthworm) or Eric Carle Books (The Very Grouchy Ladybug and The Very Clumsy Click Beetle).  Then the first grade presented their information to the kindergartners and allowed them to ask questions about gardens and vegetables.  After that, it was kindergarten’s turn to tell the first graders everything they knew about insects and allowed them to ask questions.

As a teacher, I couldn’t have been more proud!  In addition, every staff member beamed with pride at our students’ accomplishments! However, that was nothing compared to the pride shown by students’ families!  Exclamations such as: “I never knew my daughter knew so much;” “I can’t believe my son drew that;” “She’s a natural up on that stage;” “I’m SO glad I decided to send my child here!”

Our first year comes to a close and, as a staff we are already looking at next year, so excited for the opportunities and experiences to come!  As we looked at our amazing data and growth in our students, we particularly noted that one of our highest areas of growth was in vocabulary and language development.

We weren’t surprised. After all, that’s what Expeditionary Learning is all about.  We infuse expeditions into every part of the curriculum so that during our Celebration of Learning, our students are not just stating facts. No, they are truly scientists and gardeners, using the language to teach adults in their community about some really interesting topics!

Here’s hoping they’ll be scientists and gardeners all summer long.  Evidence from  kindergarten playground conversations suggests exactly that: “Hey, look at this insect! What kind do you think it is? I found it when I was looking through these wood chips. I wonder what it eats?  Hey, I found a different kind! I wonder if they know each other?  We should try to find a picture of them in a book or on Google so we know how to take care of them. Awwww! Do we have to go in already?  I’m going to look in my backyard when I get home. Me too!”