Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Showcasing Student Work

One of the most challenging experiences thus far in the iPad Academy has been finding the time to showcase all of my students' work.   I don't want my students to think that their work isn't valued and important enough to be shared.  On Fridays, as a class we would take the time to showcase student work using the Reflector app.  I began to realize that this way of showcasing work was very time consuming and I didn't believe it was the best use of our time.  Don't get me wrong, Reflector is a great tool to showcase work, but in the instance  I didn't feel like it was the best option (we utilize reflector during lessons, rather than to showcase all of our work).  Students watched other projects being showcased, but they weren't as involved as I would have liked them to be.  Then the idea of doing a gallery walk came to me.  In the past, I have done this a couple of times with various projects, but never with iPads.

What does a gallery walk look like with iPads and students?

Students set up their iPads on their desks.  Each table group has a set of sticky notes.  They walk from iPad to iPad to view the work of others in the classroom.  Each student is to required to leave a certain amount of sticky notes with specific feedback as they travel (sometimes a total of 5 sticky notes, sometimes 1 per iPad project).  We always make sure everybody has at least one sticky note at their desk.   I have found this to be an amazing way to build community in my classroom.  It has also been very uplifting for students to hear each other say, "Oh wow, that is so cool.  I wonder how they did/added that?  Did you see that project?  You have to see this cool thing they added!"   Those are just some of the comments I have heard during our gallery walks.  Students becoming teachers and being inspired by those around them as well as new ideas and collaboration!  Sometimes I have other requirements that students need to accomplish as they view others' work.  They have been required to answer specific questions or write down specific information about each project.  

How is their work assessed?

I am able to travel with the students throughout the gallery walk .  I travel around with either a checklist, rubric, or whatever I have created that helps me assess the work they are showcasing.  It is quick, easy, and important for me to be a part of because students actually see me viewing and assessing their work.  I can also ask the students questions as I am assessing work, which has also been very powerful for them.  

Then and Now...

In the past, students have received their work after it was graded and some would ask if they could throw it away or recycle it, while others would take the time to look it over and ask questions, and some would just put it in their backpacks to take home.  Hearing and seeing some of this always made me cringe, because I thought, why would you want to throw away your hard work?  It seemed as if students were just doing work to get it done and move onto the next assignment (almost going through the motions).

NOW there has been a healthy competition that has developed amongst the students in my classroom. They are challenging each other to create quality, complex, and WOW (worthy of the web) projects (A LOT of App Smashing).  Students are sharing ideas and collaborating with each other to find ways to better their projects (and of course different ways to smash apps). They aren't satisfied with doing the bare minimum, because they WANT to learn more and produce quality work.  Of course there are times that students are doing the bare minimum, but when they see what others have produced through the use of our gallery walks, I believe it is causing them to reflect upon the work they have produced.  My hope is that they are seeing quality work and the excitement it has created in my classroom and that will lead to them wanting to push themselves to do more than the bare minimum.
Giving students an audience whether it is through gallery walks or using the Reflector app has created a a positive, creative, and supportive atmosphere in my classroom!  Kids are proud, excited, and challenging each other to think in new and complex ways. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this out Jenn! I think the way you do this is very cool and validates your students learning as well. I love that kids get to see what other kids created and how they created it because that may spark them to try something new or do something different than they had before!
    Keep up the great work!

  2. Thanks Brent! It has been an amazing experience to so far and I can't wait to see what the future holds for my students!

  3. Hi Jenn, I am not sure why I am just seeing this post now! It is such a great post. Encouraging and validating! I love the idea of the gallery walk with iPads and sticky notes! Cant wait to try this with my kiddos! What a fun way to share with all of them.