Preparing for My First Ecuadorian Academic Showcase (Or: How I am Learning to Overcome My Fear of Independent Art Projects and Climbing Ladders.)

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The day before I arrived in Ecuador, my host teacher emailed me and told me to bring my ideas for a “Dr.Seuss themed Showcase.” I got about 7.5 times more excited for the trip after reading this. Despite the fact that I didn’t know what a “Showcase” was, I knew I loved good old Dr. Seuss.

At our school, the second week of May is dedicated to the Academic Showcase, in which every class comes up with an interactive presentation to show parents what students are learning in class. Each grade is given a different theme (second grade was “authors” this year) to guide their presentations. What this equates to is 22 sets of successful, Ecuadorian parents coming to inspect what their children are learning and to be Wow-ed by their talents. (Thankfully we have a very expressive, talented class!) 

We have already been working hard on our Seuss Showcase which is during the second week of May. I am so blessed with a cooperating teacher who wants and values my ideas. I have had FUN planning this! Today I started decorating the room and hallway with giant Dr. Seuss scenes. I used a projector to put the images I wanted on the board, then traced the pictures onto bulletin board paper. I painted and outlined the images and cut them out to display in the hallways. I can’t wait to post pictures of the finished products. 

For the Showcase, our students will be teaching their parents all about the life and works of Dr. Seuss. We will begin with performing a Reader’s Theater production of “Oh the Places You’ll Go” that makes me tear up every time my students practice! After that, parents will be divided into three groups to travel to three stations. At each station the students will be TEACHING their parents. One station is another Reader’s Theater on “The Sneetches” in which my students will be performing the book and then discussing with their parents what equality and fairness means through an interactive activity. They will also be hosting a science station where they will help their parents make Oobleck form “Bartholomew and the Ooblek.” Through an experiment the students will lead, parents will have to determine if the Oobleck is a solid, liquid or gas. Parents will also get to listen to their children present a biography of Dr. Seuss that they have created on mobiles and posters. This will be presented in Spanish AND English! Lastly, each child is bringing in a Dr. Seuss themed snack to share with the class. We decided to give the leftover snacks to the Special Area teachers and the Custodial Staff for all they do to help the school prepare for the Showcase! I was touched by the fact my students wanted to do this.

Ironically, one of the things I wrote in my final reflection for student teaching stateside, was that I wanted more experience communicating learning and school activities with families, outside of report cards. Little did I know God had this Showcase/Total Learning Experience waiting for me a few thousand miles away. Doing a Showcase is such a great way to get parents involved with what the students are learning! It is something I want to do with my own classes in the future. I am so grateful to be here during such a fun time at school!

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