Chase Elementary Fourth-Graders Host Press Conference to Showcase Knowledge

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A different approach to test preparation, students in the fourth grade at Chase Elementary School hosted an unforgettable press conference-style event for parents and community members on March 20, 2018.

Students answered questions based on the material covered in the past quarter, also engaging fellow classmates in constructive debate.

Upon entry, parents and guests received a “media kit” detailing conversation topics for the hour, including early American history and relations between European settlers and Native Americans, the Harlem Renaissance and current affairs in Libya. The media kit prompted parents, acting as the media, to ask questions about concepts such as treaties, the barter system, and uses of inference or context clues.

The media kit also had personal student rubrics detailing what that student was working on, such as making eye contact while speaking, citing facts while making points, and not fidgeting. Students were spread out at tables around the room with name tags and some young men even dressed up for the occasion with dress shirts and ties.

Even though the press conference material covered periods of conflict in American history, Ms. Harper encouraged students to brainstorm solutions together.

“Wrapping up a unit in this way allows our students to express themselves differently than just with a paper and pencil,” said Michelle Harper, fourth- and fifth-grade reading and writing teacher. “It helps them get into a more relaxed mindset, too.”

Chase Elementary is a Vision 2020 School, focusing on Arts & Culture. Teachers take any opportunity to make the curriculum experiential for students by encouraging them to express themselves through different mediums (written, spoken, performance, etc.), think critically and, most of all, work collaboratively towards solutions.

While the topics dealt with serious matters and conflict, Harper encouraged students to bring the class conversation back to a potential solution.

“Don’t bring up a problem without bringing a solution with you,” she advised.

Keep up with Chase Elementary School at chase.cps-k12.org.

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