Type III Investigations ~  Focus on Expression Styles & Alternative Audiences

This month’s Best Practice comes from Ms. Theresa McKeowan, grades 3-5 Gifted & Talented Teacher from West Hartford, CT.

One of the most exciting phases of the Type III Investigation process is creative production! Students love the time when they get to pull together their learning with a creative end-product for sharing. Think about your students “Expression Style” preferences. How many say “Power Point” or “Display Board”?  NONE! And yet over and over again, teachers require these formats for their students. And then the big question, who to share it with?

Considering Products

Share the Renzulli Learning Product Ideas sheets with your students (linked here and also available from the Teacher Site under Resources/Professional Development Resources). You might make it into a large poster for your classroom wall or have students brainstorm and chart different product options in groups by Expression Style.

The Renzulli Learning Expression Styles include:

  • Artistic
  • Audio-Visual/Display
  • Commercial
  • Dramatic
  • Hands-on
  • Musical
  • Oral
  • Service
  • Technological
  • Written

Have students consider their personal Expression Styles and how they overlap with the categories on the Product Ideas page. There is nothing wrong with a multimedia presentation or an exhibit board!  But be sure to let them consider their options and how they can combine various product types. When creating “exhibit boards,” encourage students to “Think Beyond the Board” – whether it is their personal product choice or it is required for all in order to display basic project information. What can they add to their display? Think table coverings, colorful images, three-dimensional, hands-on products, legos, sound, video, website, maps, objects, interactive activities… make that display POP!

Case Examples:

    • Rose, grade 7: Social Media Marketing for Heifer International
    • Olivia, grade 7: In Your Dreams
    • Shara, grade 8: Inclusive Playgrounds
    • Charlotte, grade 7: Black, White & Endangered
    • Noah, grade 6:  Trojan War – popsicle stick Trojan horse!
    • Bridget, Grade 6: Managing the “Challenging Behaviors” of Autism
    • Chris, grade 6: Sleep Deprivation and Adolescents
    • Ashley, grade 7: Life Out there
    • Julian, grade 7: Building Development Program

Considering Audience

Who will the students present to?  Share the Audience Ideas list with them (also linked here and available from the Teacher Site under Resources/Professional Development Resources). Have them brainstorm – who would be interested in the work they are doing? An evening event for parents and other members of the school community, in combination with sharing in-school to classmates is often a part of the celebration of student work. But is there anyone else they might bring their work to?

Case example:  Max, 7th grader, studying Music Therapy.  As part of his investigative process, Max composed an original song to perform at a local senior center. Before performing, he surveyed the residents to see how they were feeling, then performed for them, and then surveyed them again. Max used Excel to chart and graph his results. He shared his findings with the administration of the senior center, with suggestions for including more music – live or recorded – to the daily living environment for the seniors. Now that is an authentic audience!

Additional examples:

    • Adolescent Sleep and School Start Times presented to Board of Education
    • Coral Reefs Picture Book read aloud to younger class

Combining it All Together

If you are hosting an evening event for the community, you might have a room for a “Movie Theater” with scheduled showings, as well as a “Performance Theater” for readings, musical, dramatic, or Ted-Talk like presentations.

Exhibits might be displayed in a “museum” setting with various subject areas clumped together, such as the Science room, the History room, etc.

Let’s go back to Max for a moment. For his Type III Celebration event, he had an exhibit on display with his basic project information and findings, including colorful charts, photos of the day he performed at the senior center, as well as a tablet running the video of his performance. He also performed his original composition live in the Performance Theater.

Have fun getting caught up in the excitement of your students as they delve deeply into the creative production phase and prepare to share!