Teacher Mele Sato explains the exhibition rehearsal process for the electioneering project and how it prepared students to present their work in a professional manner.
In order to be ready for exhibition, I wanted to make sure that all our products were printed, completely done at least a week before. Yes, there were some like one or two groups that were struggling, that is fine and to be expected. But one or two is much better than 20 or 22. And getting the room set up was important, knowing where everything was going to go, figuring out where the students were going to be at what times was going to be important. And a big part of that running smoothly exhibition night, I think, was getting set up two days prior. And then the day prior, running through a dress rehearsal with students that had not participated in the project. Whether it is students in a different classroom, the same grade level, or younger students– younger students or even better– but somebody that hasn’t participated in the project that the students don’t know and are going to be uncomfortable talking to. Because that’s going to prepare them for exhibition night.
And so the day before exhibition, we had some ninth graders come through and we talked to them beforehand like here are some questions to ask our senior students to push their thinking, to get them ready for tomorrow night. And then reminding our senior students that this is practice so that tomorrow night, we’re ready. So we can figure out, oh my gosh, I didn’t know the answer to that question, or I did know the answers to all those questions but I said I don’t know. I don’t know why I said I don’t know, I know. And reminding them it’s OK to write things down on a note card if you forget because you do know. And how to engage adults or engage community members that are coming to exhibition. It’s not just about standing there and waiting for somebody to ask you a question. It’s about asking them. Hi, can I tell you about my project? Or, what questions do you have about gerrymandering? So prompting them with some of those questions, I think, really set them up well for exhibition night.