Every fall, members of DAA and Detroit Prep’s staff take a trip to EL Education’s National Conference to gather with educators from around the country and to collaborate, learn, and share great instructional ideas to bring back to DAA! This is always one of the most fun, inspirational, and reflective weekends of the year, and this year’s conference was no exception!
This year’s conference was in Atlanta and focused on themes of equity and educating for a better world. The conference kicked off with an inspirational opening ceremony with a keynote speech by John B. King, President Obama’s Secretary of Education, as well as speeches and performances by students at EL schools around the country and in the Atlanta area.
After the opening ceremony, we broke out into individual Master Classes that were facilitated by teachers and leaders at EL schools around the country and focused on topics of leadership, crew, math, literacy, student work products, and more! This year, I had the privilege of facilitating a Master Class called Creating a Culture of Feedback in the Elementary Classroom, and got to share some of the fabulous resources we’ve created at DAA to help students self-assess, peer assess, and conference with teachers on the multiple drafts of their high quality work.
I also got to attend a few other sessions that were very thought-provoking and gave me some great ideas to implement in the classroom. One session that was particularly relevant to me was about math discourse, which discussed implementing a model where students are given a challenging problem to solve independently and then share with a partner and use specific discourse stems like “I agree with the strategy you used” or “I disagree with you; here’s what I was thinking and here’s how I solved it.” This is a model that we’ve explored at DAA, but it was interesting to see how other schools have implemented it!
At the end of the conference, we attended a reception at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and got to walk through some moving exhibits on Civil Rights Activists, and think about ways that we use education as a means to creating a better, more equitable world for our students!
We left Atlanta with a reinvigorated and excited mindset, and ready to implement some strategies we learned! Can’t wait ‘till next year!