Skip To Main Content

Stiky Header


Search Button

District Header

Lakota Local School District

Local Schools


Search Button

Trigger Container


Shawnee Poster Project More than Meets the Eye

Shawnee Poster Project More than Meets the Eye

Following a recent unit all about communities, Shawnee ECS teacher Lydia Scott’s first-graders have quite the masterpiece to show for all their hard work. But one might say the strategy behind the masterpiece is even more masterful. 

“It’s more about the process than the product,” advised Lakota Innovation Specialist Libby Brown. Scott took this advice from her “thought partner” to heart and ended up with a student-led, project-based lesson that even incorporated a real world connection - all the makings of a personalized learning experience. The final product: A poster, designed and assembled by Scott’s students, as a colorful collage of all the things that make Shawnee a special place.

The process started with a book they read titled “This is a School,” by John Schu. “Picture books are springboards to spark creativity and encourage imagination,” said Scott, who followed up the class read-aloud with a series of open-ended questions and discussion to further spark her students’ interest and put the next step in their laps. Called inquiry-based learning, it’s an approach used by teachers to drive more personalized learning by giving students ownership in the process. 

And so, the poster project was born when, as one student explained, “we were inspired” by a poster they discovered in the book. This sparked their interest and an obvious passion for sharing their love of Shawnee with the larger school community. It was never part of her original roadmap, but following their lead, Scott jumped on board with their idea to create a poster that captures the spirit of Shawnee. 

“As a class, they became invested in how they could accomplish the goal of celebrating Shawnee,” said Scott, explaining that choice and voice hold tremendous value when engaging her students. “They each took ownership and their investment in the project was the driving force that made all of this possible. It was more magical than I could have imagined.” 

Knowing that the end goal was for each student to understand what components make their school a special location within their community, Scott introduced a “thinking web” to give each student “an opportunity to voice their ideas and know that their contributions were valued and needed.” 

Smiling students standing in front of a colorful poster

They worked together to establish a group vision and formed “expert groups” to make sure everything from the building, the teachers and the students to the school’s mascot and even their unique nature trail were represented in the finished product. Students were able to choose their team and even though they were working within a specific category, “they were in charge of how they, individually, wanted to express that on paper.” 

“Their individual ideas blended to create a final product that expresses their shared appreciation for our school family,” Scott said. 

Adding to the experience was a special visit from a member of Lakota’s communications team to present on graphic design, which sparked even more interest and helped answer students’ technical questions about the process of making a poster. “Tangible experiences matter because they conceptualize abstract concepts,” Scott said. 

And while the lesson started with a very specific learning standard about communities, Scott welcomed every opportunity to reinforce soft skills and other standards. For example, students asked and answered questions about details in a text and read other books to compare and contrast two texts on the same topic (both language arts standards). They used venn diagrams to support their writing, wrote thank you notes, and even engaged in the democratic process when voting about where the poster should be displayed. 

“I am confident my students gained more flexibility , creative thinking and will be more inclined to promote thoughtful compromise when working with others,” Scott reflected. 

Ultimately, the class masterpiece earned a prominent spot in the school’s main office, where Shawnee Principal Traci Hummer has since been inspired to start a student art gallery. “You inspired me,” she shared with the class. “Because of your vision and hard work, it led to another great idea. You should be so proud of yourselves.” 
The beaming smiles on their faces suggested they were, in fact, proud of what they had accomplished together.

  • personalized learning
  • real world learning