Bossing Some Grade 8s Around

Welcome to the Spring Exhibition (which I always thought was held in summer but after a quick google search, found out that it takes place a few days before summer actually starts. So even though it happens no where close to spring break, it’s still technically an accurate name even if it still annoys me sometimes). 

I haven’t even added an intro and I’m already getting sidetracked. Anyways like I was about to say, the Spring Exhibition is basically the final project of every year. It’s purpose is to showcase all of our work and learning throughout the year, in a hopefully pretty fun event for anybody willing to stop by. Last year, we didn’t participate much in this event (I pushed a button 13 times, that’s literally all I did), but this year we got put in charge of designing, creating, and running a entire section of the Exhibition. Plus we have a bunch of grade 8’s that we have to lead as well. Pretty drastic step up from last year if you ask me, but we were up for the challenge.

Every exhibition has a theme, with this years being the story of becoming a PLP learner. For this we were split into 5 groups, each with a specific part of the story and a driving question that would hopefully be answered by the end. These groups were:

Intro: What is PLP?

Project Pathway: How do we Learn?

Beyond the Classroom: How do we make deeper connections beyond our classroom?

Tech for Learning: How do we use technology to deepen our learning?

Conclusion: What is a PLP Learner?

I was placed in the conclusion group, along with Alfie, Cooper, Brooke, Hannah, Julian, Max, and Xander. The first step our group did was brainstorming. We had to plan out our section and brain storm ideas for food, costumes, interactive experiences, decorations, and most importantly our learning. For us, that meant featuring our documentaries, which I wrote an entire blog about here. We also had to incorporate the grade 8s into the exhibition along with all their work. If you were wondering, these were the grade 8s in my group: Andrew, Sofia, Evangeline, Keaton, Luca, Caden, Caitlin, Judah, Kai, and Chris.

Like I was saying before I got side tracked (again) it was time to brainstorm! I’ve talked about this before, but brainstorming is always the most stressful part of group projects. It’s the time where you have no plan and have no direction to go. Overall, this process was a lot of whiteboards and talking (arguing) with each other, but I think we did a good job of letting everybody speak, and incorporating everybody’s ideas into the final plan

After a fair bit of deliberation, we finally came up with a plan, which went through a fair bit of changes due to peer feedback before it was finalized.

Click to see full PDF:

Now, with about a week before the Exhibition starts, it was time to start making. However, we had another problem, the grade 8s. We had to incorporate the grade 8s and their work into the exhibition, and give each roles and things to do during and leading up to the exhibition. The real hurdle in this however, was the fact that for most of the project we would not see them face to face, instead only communicating over basecamp posts. This was a big lesson in communication and making things clear. Human communication is really hard, so when I write something that makes sense to me it doesn’t always mean that it will make sense to others. I also learned that the grade 8s don’t read, so when my only communication with people is words on a page, that’s kind of a problem. Overall, through this entire process I got a lot better at communicating, giving people tasks, and making goals more clear over basecamp. 

Now it was time to put it all together. It was a pretty stressful few hours putting everything together before the exhibition starts. The entire exhibition was a challenge in on the fly problem solving and being adaptive. You can see this adaptiveness in the comparison between our original plan and the final product. Many times we realized that our original plan wasn’t going to work, and had to switch things on the spot to make things work. Some examples being:

Dungeon of Documentaries

  • The screen was originally supposed to be back further, but we were blocked by garbage cans and other thing in the way. This meant we were forced to put our work somewhere else as there was not enough space. 

Hall of Hard Work

  • The original plan was to have the guests walk through a giant rainbow at the end. We soon realized this was not feasible, and switched it with the hanging streamers that you see in the final picture.

Chamber of Challenge

  • The plan was to have 2 groups face off against each other in a instant challenge. As soon as the first guests walked into our station, we realized this wasn’t going to work and we quickly changed it so each group was an independent station. Overall this worked a lot better and made the station and our entire exhibit flow much more nicely.

There were many other times where we had to problem solve new solutions, but I hope that gave a small insight into the chaos and quick decisions we had to make when setting up the Exhibition.

During the exhibition, it was my job to talk to the guests coming through, and lead them through my activity. This went a lot better then I expected, as normally I’m pretty shy and don’t like talking to people. However at this exhibition, I managed to get over that fear and had some pretty interesting conversations with people.

Look at me actually Talking to people

In the end, the Spring Exhibition was a very tiring, chaotic, and stressful project. However I think it showcased some of my best team work and collaboration skills this year, and our final exhibit actually looked pretty cool. I’m proud of all the work we put into it, and it was a great way to send off the grade 9 year. 

If you want to see the entire exhibition in full (with the exception of the grade 10,11, and 12s), you can check out this video that Alicia made!


See you next time,


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