For the final session of day 1 I went to "The Top 10 Quality Teaching Tools." It was presented by a group of teachers from the area. It was VERY informative if not a bit overwhelming. The presenters were great to listen to and happy to explain what we weren't familiar with (which for me was most of it). I thought the best way for you to grasp it would be to give you the link to the site they gave us where the handout and presentation is posted. I liked some of the concepts, and may put my own spin on them for my classroom (will post when I do). I couldn't help but wonder where they found time to implement all of the "tools." They assured us it is doable, and is best to take it one tool at a time. http://wiki.gkb.k12.in.us/groups/spotlightonliteracy/
Georgia Heard kicked off day two. She had great ideas for showing kids how and giving kids the opportunity to "wonder" every day. She explained we need a permanent place for kids to go to every morning to ask questions, as soon as they come in the door. It can be as simple as a sticky note or as much as a whole area of your room. She then went on to say that we should pick one of these questions every week to make our "Wonder of The Week" ummm hmmm you guessed it..bag overflowing! She discussed that our "pondering time" should be exploring the question and then discovering how people find answers to their questions. Students should participate in shared research and writing projects. In doing that we hit the core standards for language arts.
Georgia explained we need to teach the difference of "heart wonders" in which everyone has a different response to, and "research wonders"-wonders that we can "look up" or "uncover" the information to. She believes that our libraries should be grouped according to heart and research wonders and that the students should be in on the grouping of our books.
I learned a lot from Georgia and can hardly wait to implement my "wonder spot."
Finally let me tell you what I learned about myself that day. I am SHY and not comfortable with initiating conversations with people I don't know, and that I feel inferior in groups of people I don't know (my biggest AH-HA not from a presenter). This would come as a shock to most people that know me, but it is true. And I think I need to change it. I say this because as I sat listening to Georgia I looked across the aisle- down one row, and who do you think I discovered sitting there? DEBBIE MILLER. By herself. Taking notes, like me. And so when Georgia asked us to "turn and talk" did I tap her on her shoulder and ask her what she was thinking??? Sadly, no. I did not. Did I do it the next time we were asked to share...nope not even then. Oh I wanted to, but I didn't want her to think I was some backwoods-country girl, teacher/author/presenter/idol- stalking goofball. And now I think "why not?" It's not as if we would ever see each other again. It's not as if I didn't have anything to say, or wasn't interested in her thoughts. I just...didn't. But next time.....
And so you guessed it the next and last three sessions belong to Debbie. She was WONDERFUL (can you hear the lilt in my voice)!!! It's going to take some planning and rereading of my notes, but I promise I will get it posted ASAP!