Local News

Students Use Pizza Boxes to Improve Communication

Posted November 6, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Depending on the grades a child gets, report cards are either a joy or absolute agony. A teacher in Edgecombe County is adding a new routine to his classes to help parents and kids connect when grades go home.

Marian Deaton is having a heart-to-heart talk with her mother. The subject is school: what she's doing, and what she's planning. Her new portfolio helps her show her progress.

The parent-child discussion is a mandatory part of Marshall Matson's seventh grade classes at Martin Middle School. Each student turns an old pizza box into a container for school work and personal goals. Then, three times a year, talks about the portfolio with a parent.

Matson said the portfolio gives parents a chance to hear about what their kids are doing in school.

Part of the discussion is a computer program each student uses to show mom or dad what the class is doing. The program is just beginning, but parents are already excited about the possibilities.

Portfolios, agendas and measurable goals may be new terms to students this age, but supporters say learning them now will make them easier to handle once the classroom and the pizza boxes are a memory.

Edgecombe County leaders are embracing the portfolio idea. This afternoon, the central office released $15,000 in grant money to encourage teachers to come up with similar ideas.