Show + Tell

Collaboration with Jesse Bott, Christine Loehr and 600 elementary school students.

This project began with the simple premise of asking: How can the value of a student to a school move beyond the myopic focus on achievement data to encompass the multifaceted character of each individual that is part of the school community? Everyday in our classrooms we see earnest, inquisitive, persistent, resilient and engaged learners that have great pride in their accomplishments. Unfortunately, these characteristics are difficult to capture in metrics and often not part of the evidence used to build student growth models that are then used to establish the quality rating of our schools. The gap between what we see everyday in our classrooms and what the pie charts and graphs say about our schools is what we wanted to take notice of because the stories of our schools are complex and compelling, deserving of more then a simplified numerical quality rating. Each of the 600 boxes contains an object of importance donated by the students. The boxes were stacked on top of each other so that the viewer could explore each object. Along with each display cube we recorded the stories that students shared with us about the objects they donated. This recording was played during the exhibition so that viewers could hear the stories about the objects. Each object was cataloged in a ledger along with the academic performance data for the schools. This hand written ledger brings together the data from the schools and the stories of the students presenting a more complex portrait of our schools, our students and our teachers.

With this project we hoped to share what we see everyday in the classroom by enlarging the lens with which we recognize our learners to include the messy, chaotic, and unquantifiable characteristics of learning.