A2 Charter School was alive with creativity and excitement, as students guided their families from one activity to the next to demonstrate the evidence of their learning over the past several months. At an all school conference called “The Invention Convention”, students acted as presenters for their family members who came to view the products and performances the students had prepared, much of it based on work they completed concerning the inventions they created.
Different than traditional conferences where teachers and parents discuss a child’s learning, the student-led conference features students speaking about their own progress, using different pieces of their work to demonstrate growth in a wide variety of reading, writing, listening, and speaking tasks. Unlike past practices when letter grades were awarded in subjects like reading, math, or language, students now articulate their progress in very specialized tasks like forming solid conclusions in persuasive writing, recognizing relationships in historic events, accurately analyzing and interpreting scientific data on charts, or understanding and applying math formulas.
A2 students are learning Spanish and had the opportunity to act as instructors in that language for their parents in the presence of Spanish instructor Mrs. Erica Brown.
Students also presented the results of research they had conducted over recent months, giving parents a firsthand look at what only their teachers and classmates usually have the opportunity to witness.
Refreshments added to the celebration atmosphere at the school as students became docents, showing off artwork and computer presentations, giving speeches, and reviewing their work in “Table Talk” sessions with their family members. Teachers, Sandy Spatt and Kathy Nelesen circulated among the families providing clarification and anecdotes to round out the information presented by the students.
Parent, Cynthia Braun commented, “My daughter is able to talk about her own learning, and I think that teaches responsibility as well presentation skills that are important to have.”
Fourth grader, Ella Gerstner reported that her parents said they “liked this kind of conference because they got to hear right from me what I am learning and doing in school”
“My brother liked it because there were snacks,” Added Camille Staats.
A2 Charter School is a school for accelerated fourth and fifth grades. It is located on the city’s south side and shares a campus with Jackson Elementary School.
Pictured: Samantha Braun at right, talks with her mother and father,
Cynthia and Tim Braun, describing the details of her learning as part of
the Invention Convention Conferences.