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A2 Elementary Students Share Literature Revelations with College Students
Sharing literary insights are A2 Charter School
students and their friend from Lakeland College.

The session was part of a morning of literature discussions between students from A2 Charter School and Lakeland College which was matched up by Lakeland instructor Dr. Eileen Hilke and A2 teachers Kathy Nelesen and Sandy Spatt.

"My students gained so much information about how to communicate with students and share ideas about wonderful literature," said Hilke.

The college students and charter school students had each prepared for the day by reading one of four award-winning children's literature books: Esperanza Rising by Ryan, A Long Way From Chicago by Peck, Maniac Magee by Spinelli, and Bridge to Terabithia by Paterson.

Prior to the meeting both groups of students responded to what they read using a computerized message board that allowed them to question the deeper meanings revealed in the literature. Students shared their thoughts about their reading and responded to the writings of others, as well.

Although it was only required for students to read one book, many took the opportunity to read the other choices.

"The excitement generated by the collaboration was highly motivating to those involved, giving the fourth and fifth graders a glimpse of college life, still many years in the future, and a glimpse of classroom life for student teachers nearing the finish line of their studies," said Hilke.

Conversations between the two groups of students crossed the lines of age, education, race, and gender and grappled with topics raised in the literature concerning race relations, death, gender stereotyping and inter-generational issues.

"One of the things I learned today is that people may be different in some ways, but even then, they are alike in many ways, too" said one fourth grade student at A2 Charter School.

A2 students were pleased to report that the discussions revealed that their feelings and impressions of the literature were similar to those of the college students.

Sheboygan Area School District Press Release
November 13, 2008