For a week in July, teachers from Canada, South America, Africa, and all across the United States gathered at Thoreau Demonstration Academy for the 27th Annual International MicroSociety Conference. The teachers attended workshops on dozens of topics, including technology, history, social issues, social emotional learning, inclusivity. All of which were designed to help teachers make the real-world experience MicroSociety brings to schools even more dynamic and engaging for students across the globe.
“We’re here the sharing of best practices, for lessons learned,” MicroSociety CEO Carolynn King Richmond told Fox 23. “We’re exposing all of our audience to the innovations that have been taking place here in Tulsa.”
The schools behind these innovations are Thoreau and Monroe. They both have thriving MicroSocieties that give students the opportunity to put the lessons they learn in the classroom to practice by starting businesses, paying taxes, and running a government. They learn financial literacy and social skills. They also have a court system, which students from Monroe demonstrated at the conference in a workshop led by their teacher Brenda Reyes.
Attendees also celebrated the launch of a functional, student-operated stock market that Tulsa Public Schools teacher Courtney Davison developed with help from Argonaut CEO Steve Mitchell.
Legislators John Waldron and Melissa Provenzano met with teachers to discuss advocacy and the legislative process. They hope to show young students that they can make a difference while they pursue their career.
This use of project-based learning helps students answer the question, “Why do I need to know this?” Students collaborate with parents, businesses, teachers, and each other to become productive citizens and create a successful society.