April 19, 2013

Middle School Career Fair

The Future of America, ya'll!
First of all, I want to share my excitement and relief that I am FINALLY on spring break! Yay!!!

Since we tested last week, the state required us to have four days of school this week for any students who needed to make up their tests. Four days between state testing and spring break = a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, though, the brave duo who led Career Week did an amazing job coming up with meaningful lessons for students in all subjects for the week.

One of the things I really like about my school is how much we stress long-term goals of college and career readiness. So many of our students come from families that didn't even finish high school and the vast majority of them (especially the 6th and 7th graders) have no career plans aside from being professional rappers or athletes. This year, though, we've worked really hard to increase their exposure to different career options with mini-lessons in all subject areas and by consistently encouraging them to make "college choices" each day.

My eighth graders had a special project for this week, which was to host and present their research with poster presentations at the Career Fair yesterday. It was the culminating event for the week, with the potential for being a complete disaster in the final hours before spring break if not carefully planned. I volunteered to take the lead on logistics, including how to keep our 6th and 7th grade visitors engaged during these last two ours before freedom.

I decided to create a Career Passport for each student (I would attach it here, but I have no idea how to do that. Check my TPT store. I promise it will be free!)

The passports passed out by classroom teachers who first went over expectations before bringing each section into the gym. Students were instructed to visit at least 10 posters, listen to the career speeches by the 8th graders, and then to ask questions to help determine if the careers would be good fits for them. After at least three questions, my eighth graders would give each visitor a sticker to place on the passport, as evidence that they had fulfilled the requirement. To take it a step further, the placement of the sticker indicated whether the career is one that the visitor would love, like, or hate. After 10 stickers, our visitors received blow pops (which is a huge deal because we don't usually allow gum in our school) for completing their assignment.

My 8th graders loved presenting at the fair. Most of my students worked in partners for this assignment, which allowed them to take turns recruiting visitors to their boards. I made the assignment a bit of a competition for them, in addition to a grade, because one of the reflection questions asked them to identify a favorite presentation. I promised Cane's lunch for the top choice, so my kiddos were very invested in bringing traffic to their posters.

My last little trick was to ask visiting students to be "spies" for me. I assigned them specific posters and asked them to report back to me on how well they did on their presentation. It kept my 8th graders on their toes, and the 6th and 7th graders loved thinking they had that power!

After they left the gym, the visiting students completed a reflection on the back page of their passports, which were submitted as exit tickets. The overwhelming response was that the career fair was extremely helpful for our students, and I'm happy to report that we didn't have any behavior incidents! I was definitely exhausted after school yesterday (the fair took place during my planning periods, so I didn't have any time off yesterday), but it was worth it to keep the kids invested.

And now I get 9 days to relax! Yippee!!!

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome! I am putting on one as the students final exam and was STUMPED as to how I was going to do this, can you please send me your rubric and any other documents you used for this to be a success.