I stare into the eyes of Amelia Earhart. She hears the click of the coin into her cup, and she comes to life beginning to share her life story. I accidentally interrupt her with clarification of a word I obviously misunderstood. This makes “Amelia” begin to giggle. She looks me in the eye with such an intense look that tells me that I shouldn’t make her laugh. But we can’t help it. We both begin to giggle together. After the ripple of laughter fades, “Amelia” gets back on track and continues to share her story.

I am at a wax museum that Ms. Young has helped her students create. Parents and teachers wander around meeting historical figures like Betsy Ross, famous Americans like Sally Ride and pop culture icons such as Andy Griffin. I also meet other powerful members of our history like a Cherokee woman. Students not only had their history facts down and their presentation well staged, iPADS sat before them with video clips they had created to provide another tool to communicate their learning. Often parents and teachers broke quickly through the “wax” and wanted to talk further with students about what they had learned.

These moments of showcasing learning are opportunities for students to be assessed through performance. There are many ways we check for student engagement of content. These performance opportunities are one way.

One of the joys of my work is being a part of these performances. Students have the opportunity to take their learning to another level. But I also love the side gift of having moments like I did with “Amelia”. We laugh together. And students are allowed to see that their learning is fun to share and we are eager to learn from them.

I followed up with one of the Wright brothers today about a question I asked him yesterday. He was eager to fill me in. I challenged him with something else. We will continue to banter with this learning.

Performance assessments are not just opportunities to take pictures and see our kids do something. But it is another way to celebrate learning at Joyner. It is an opportunity for the adults of Joyner to enjoy learning from all of our students.