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Collaborative and Confident in Second Grade Showcase

“If you can teach it, you understand it.”  - Barbara Cippolloni

This is the philosophy that led Lower School teacher Barbara Cippolloni ‘72 to create a Literacy Showcase experience for her second grade students. In this project, students work in partners to dig deeply into one element of literacy they have learned this year. They prepare a lesson to teach their audience skills and strategies that include reading, writing, listening, and speaking.  

“We got to be teachers to our own parents!” – Jenna A.

One of the most joyful parts of this project is when the students discover that their audience will be their parents.  The A-Z Library & Learning Commons comes to life with second graders ready and waiting for their parents to arrive and become their students.  Parents move from station to station, learning along the way, and getting an opportunity to practice many literacy skills.

“It surprised me at how good the parents knew adjectives. They must have paid attention when they were in school.” – Kayla B.  

It was a busy morning for parents! In one group, you could find parents searching for non-fiction text features in books. In another group, parents learned about activist Malala Yousafzai and wrote about their own hopes for the future. Parents wrote poetry, read autobiographies, used technology like Canva and stop motion, and practiced diagraming sentences.  

Each year, several new stations are created in response to timely events.  This year, GA’s new Health and Wellness Center led to the creation of construction journals. From their vantage point in McLean Hall, Lower School students saw first-hand the daily progress of the project. They drew pictures and wrote in their journals about the evolution of the building during the school year.  

“The kids own it.” – Barbara Cippolloni

Students take real ownership over their stations, delivering their lesson to nine different groups throughout the morning. Through the experience, they are tasked with working closely with a partner to develop the plan for their lesson. Teachers see an increase in self-confidence, fluency, and a growing understanding of how to be engaging with their audience. The project builds parent partnership as parents experience first-hand the skills their children are working on in the classroom.  

This culminating literacy showcase is a great way to highlight the literacy program at GA and celebrate all the growth children have made as readers and writers in their early childhood literacy journey. As the event wraps up, the pride is evident on the faces of both the students and their parents.