CLINTON – Content Area Literacy has been a focus in the Clinton Community School District for a number of years. The current high school freshmen, the Class of 2019, participated in a group discussion, often called a “Collaborative Conversation.”

In English class, the students read one of two non-fiction biographies about the Cambodian genocide orchestrated by the Khmer Rouge during the 1970’s.

After completing this book, students learned about the many genocides that have taken place throughout history. They studied the political, governmental, and social effects in their Global Studies class.

The collaborative conversations were held in the high school gymnasium. Students were divided into smaller groups and met at tables to complete literacy activities and to discuss the leading causes and consequences of genocide based on what they had learned from the book and in their classes. This collaborative conversation allowed students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

Students were receptive to this activity. Some commented that it was similar to the literacy circles they had taken part in last year at Clinton Middle School. They liked that they were grouped with students from other class periods so that they could hear somewhat different perspectives than what they heard in their own classroom.

One student commented, “I liked learning others’ opinions and thoughts.” Another student commented, “I had a really good group. We all took turns talking and we all understood everything.”

Conversations I

Courtesy photos

Jason Bomkamp, Jaret Washtock, Cora Laatz, Maddie Diderick, and Eric Espinoza discuss the causes and consequences of genocide during “Collaborative Conversation,” after reading about the subject.