Preshil might not be a traditional school, but we are a school of traditions, and in Week 7, with much fanfare, we were able to reignite a tradition that had a period of dormancy; our Arlington Anthology Week!
Many families will not have experienced an Anthology, and many will delight in its return. Our staff were over the moon to see it back. Anthology is a week of creative expression which will culminate in a published book in which each child is represented by a work of their choosing.
At its heart, Anthology is an expression of student-led, child-centred learning. The children bring their imaginations to the week, and spend time with their peers across all year levels writing, drawing, painting and sometimes sharing their stories. These stories often emulate the narratives that they are drawn to; of friendship, suspense and, of course, the crowd favourite; the ‘choose your own adventure story’.
Child-centred learning is about accepting what a child can produce, acknowledging the individual’s effort and perspective, and where they are on their own learning continuum. This is essential in building and maintaining strong relationships with our young learners. But child-centred learning is also the gateway to tremendous challenge. While our teachers accept and support the work that the children produce, they will now enter a period of intense workshops and feedback on the children’s pieces. Our teachers will work with our young authors to consider how to improve their contribution. What spelling are they unsure about? How can punctuation help the reader to understand the story? In what ways can language paint a picture, set a tone or create the urge to turn the page?
The investment that our children have already made in their writing will now be rewarded by a process of feedback for improvement. Our children will then invest in a process designed so that they can measure their growth, and reflect on how they undertook a process of refinement. What you will see in the printed Anthology will be the culmination of this work.
Ron Berger from EL Education demonstrates the transformational power of models, critique, and descriptive feedback to improve student work in his book “An Ethic of Excellence” (2003). He elaborates on this in this video clip (click to open) where he tells the story of Austin’s Butterfly. First-grade students at ANSER Charter School in Boise, Idaho, helped Austin take a scientific illustration of a butterfly through multiple drafts toward a high-quality final product.
We are delighted to share that the compiling of the 2022 Anthology will be undertaken by a team of Year 11 Diploma Programme students as part of the compulsory Creativity, Activity and Service component of their IB curriculum.