True confession: I can’t stand Show and Tell.
There, I’ve said it. I can’t abide the whole thing. It takes a lot of time, mostly it’s only fun for the kid showing and telling, the rest of us just get fidgety.
But I can see the value, the stuff kids bring is important to them. And I see the value of having the chance to speak in front of a group. So what to do?
In my visit to the Portland Art Museum I saw an idea, an installation, an invitation to share, called Object Stories. The museum has invited people to bring an object that is meaningful to them and tell their story in a video booth. These stories are then available to view in an interactive display.
Show and Tell for adults?
More or less. But without the fidgeting.
By putting ordinary things and the public at the center of its inquiry, and calling attention to the things we overlook in our lives, Object Stories ruminates on the ways objects make us as fully as we make objects, and the myriad ways objects speak to and shape who we are—our ideas, emotions, values, relationships, and aesthetics.
Portland Art Museum
I think there is something we can take from this in our work with kids…..how can we think about objects and their meanings in different ways, more interesting ways? What if we re-named show and tell Object Stories and filmed it? Or each child dictated an object story? Or made an audio recording? How could parents be invited into the stories? How could educators share their stories?
And I’d never have to fidget through show and tell again…..