Curating Student Work

I display work for probably the same reasons that you do. I hope that hanging each student’s work makes them feel a part of my classroom community…. and it makes my walls look nice. 🙂 But, my new goal for displaying student work is to use student work as a motivation for students to create quality work.  I want to move from ‘hanging up’ student work to curating a student gallery. This may mean not having every student represented in each ‘exhibit.’ As long as the student is represented in one exhibit in my room throughout the year, then I think am ok.

The question I can then ask myself is, how can I create more opportunities for students to create beautiful work. This term, beautiful work, was first introduced by Ron Berger, the founder of Expeditionary Learning schools. It is defined as high-quality work that has been through the process of many drafts and critique.  Let’s be clear though. Beautiful work does not have to be art. It can be any work, from persuasive essays to science fair projects, that have been through this process.

If you haven’t seen Austin’s Butterfly in a while, I highly recommend it to see the example of beautiful work.


For people truly interested in crafting assignments that lend itself to beautiful work, I highly recommend watching this section of the Deeper Learning MOOC  (Massive Open Online Course) from a few years ago. It shows a panel of experts who are truly passionate about this topic as they discuss strategies and questions from people watching.

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