If you don't read the whole post, be sure to at least check out the student's final presentation slides below!
The day had finally arrived. After 6 months of research, speakers, mentors, field trips, research papers, actions, presentation prepping, and so much more, we had arrived at the day we were going to share our story. The stage had been set. Screen ready. Microphone buzzing. Stage lights on. Twenty four eager 4th graders all sporting their Class of 2025 t-shirts. The large white letters spelling out UltimateX donning the stage.
Words cannot describe the excitement I felt as I opened the curtains and the students began to share. Each took a turn to share a part of our journey. Their slides told our story through pictures. As they spoke, they held an iPad with their notes, passing it to the next as they finished. I watched as each spoke in a manner well beyond what someone would typically expect of a fourth grader.
As they concluded the whole class portion of their presentation, the students headed towards their action stations to share more specifically about what they did for their action project. For those reading this who are overwhelmed by project based learning and giving up control in your classroom, I have to tell you that it has paid off. It was not an easy step to let go. When I went into this project, my biggest concern was my students not being able to meet the standards all while studying things they were passionate about. After all, with the challenges of testing and a lengthy list of standards, it can be hard to give up control. That fear has dissipated as I observed 24 eager fourth graders who not only accomplished the standards, but grew leaps and bounds beyond them.
It is surprising that in the post describing the close of the journey with my students this year, I am at such a loss for words. As I share with you some snapshots from our UltimateX presentation, I can honestly say I feel proud, empowered, challenged, and excited for wherever I end up as I continue on my journey of letting go. Who knows? The sky's the limit! I'm waiting to see where my students and peers in the future take me. P.S. My story isn't done.