A couple of years ago a student in my fourth grade class wanted to bring something to show his classmates. I hesitated saying yes because I wasn't sure I wanted to take the time for him to do this. And I thought, what kind of junk does he want to bring from home? Well, I finally relented and said yes. In order to be fair, I asked the rest of the class if anyone else wanted to bring something in to show. Of course, almost every hand went up in the air.
So, I asked, "How about next Tuesday?". The room erupted in a unanimous, "Yes!" "We'll call it Show and Tell Tuesday". Everyone was in agreement that it was a great idea. And that's when it all began.
We continued Show and Tell Tuesday the entire year. Kids brought in lumpy backpacks and mysterious packages. They were always thinking, "What am I going to bring next week?"
Every time I would remind students about Show and Tell Tuesday, they would excitedly tell me about the things they planned to bring. It's something the kids truly looked forward to. We learned so many things about one another. We learned about places we'd been, things we liked, and everything in between. I learned that taking time to show these precious things wasn't wasting time at all. In fact, it was time well spent. It was a great time for me to get to know my students and for them to get to know each other. During this sharing time, my students also practiced listening and speaking skills.
I've continued Show and Tell Tuesday at my new school with my new group of fifth graders. At first, when I announced that Tuesday would be Show and Tell, they looked a little confused. "What? Show and Tell is for little kids." they said. I replied with, "Really? You mean, you don't have something interesting you'd like to share with the class?" Then I could see it. The wheels turning in their heads. Their eyes lighting up. I could tell some of them were already planning what to bring.
I gave them four guidelines:
1. It can't be fragile.
2. It can't be expensive.
3. It has to fit inside their backpack.
4. It can't be alive.
Tuesday finally rolled around and they were READY! We gathered on the carpet in a circle. We took turns, one by one, and showed our items. We had a variety of items... from medals... to hats... to a plastic dragon. Some brought their backpacks and waited to pull out their beloved object until it was their turn. I think they wanted it to be a surprise.
My fifth grade class loved Show and Tell. They are already planning what they are bringing next Tuesday. Now you see, Show and Tell isn't just for little kids. It's for big kids too.