This past Friday our second grade students participated in an Economics Fair. For the last couple of weeks the students earned money and learned about the elements of what economics meant. Students then created items to sell. They had to determine the cost of labor and materials. They marketed their products with advertisements in the hallways. When Friday came, they were ready with money in hand to purchase their classmate’s unique creations.

Students were given the opportunity to shop and purchase items. The experience was not just about buying up handmade bookmarks and crafts. They quickly began to see if their item was priced at the appropriate price point. They started to adjust as other items were being sold. Some students realized that their item was the hot commodity and sold out immediately. They wondered if they should have placed a higher price point.

These conversations were happening during this culminating activity. After all goods were sold, students were given the opportunity to reflect on their learning and what they would do differently.

Fifth graders have been studying the human body. They also have collected reusable items. The classrooms have started to fill with the most creative random items from students. Today was the culminating activity where students worked in groups to design the human body. They built entire body systems using the reusable materials. They had to work with their classmates. There was debate about what item should be used for what system and part of the system. The creativity and calculations combined.

In both of these stories, our students were given the opportunity to share their learning of units in unique settings. They express themselves through multiple communication avenues. They have to connect all the different days and lessons to create this final product of learning.

It is masterful to see the teachers drop in and out of conversations during these events. I watched as teachers carried their rubrics around and made notes of what they noticed. And I will share that this learning is what makes students connect learning and build the meaning for their own minds and growth.

Every day is amazing to see learning at Joyner. And when it is culminating assessment time, I am truly impressed by the creativity of the teachers and the growth of the students.