Show-and-tell, as we know, is an age-old activity in elementary school classrooms. Kids bring in a pet, or a parent, or a certificate they won in dance class, or a trophy from peewee baseball. But why stop with the younger grades? What about older students? Sharing a meaningful memento with classmates is valuable at any age—and can serve several purposes.
The term “student artifact” refers to learning artifacts, things produced by the child during a unit of study like an essay, diagram, or poster project. Artifacts are an important component of learning and evidence of knowledge/skill transference from the conceptual to the tangible.
As teachers, let’s take on the challenge of expanding that definition and begin having students bring in meaningful artifacts from the outside world to share with their classmates (yes, middle and high school teachers, too).
Every classroom develops it own unique environment. As teachers, we hope for a healthy one, where students know each other’s names and interests, each other’s strengths and challenges. They should know each other’s triggers, and steer clear of them. There are many ways we can build that healthy, caring environment during the school year: community circles, small group work, and partner tasks, to name a few.