Saturday, March 15, 2014

NBPTS Teaching and Learning Conference - March 15, 2014

My district paid for me to attend this conference today. As the alarm went off at 5:30am on a Saturday, I thought about not going. But then I rolled out of bed and now, after returning back home 12 hours later, I am glad I went. I always get so much energy from hanging out with really smart people. Here are some highlights of the day:

Tony Wagner - I've heard him speak at TC before but it helps to be reminded of his ideas.
Three Challenges in Education:
1. Knowledge is now a commodity; a teacher is no longer necessary for a person to learn so now we need to ask, What is the role of the teacher? the school?
2. Work is changing profoundly; graduates need to ask What can I do with what I know?
3. In 4th grade 8 in 10 students are engaged. By HS, 4 in 10 are engaged. HS students. How can we keep students engaged?

After interviewing LOTS of major companies, he says the seven major skills that companies value the most are:
1. critical thinking
2. collaboration - in person and virtually
3. agility / adaptability
4. initiative / entrepenurial spirit
5. can communicate strongly both orally and in writing
6. ability to access information
7. curiosity and imagination

There are contradictions between the culture of schools:
  * measures individual achievement
  * classroom is passive
  * kids are measured and failure is frowned upon
  * rewards are given to motivate students
the culture that creates innovation:
  * emphasis is on students producing and creating
  * teacher acts as a coach
  * innovation demands that you fail "Fail early and often" motto!
  * intrinsic motivation occurs
  * emphasis on play, passion, and purpose

Based on the above, he suggests that teachers:
1. Advocate for portfolio assessment (e-portfolio!)
2. Just as Google and 3M, eachers should provide students with free choice time to PLAY! Give them time to work on their passion.

Tony shared a 7 minute preview of a documentary he is making that shows strong 21st century teaching. Look for it soon at a neighborhood theater.
Here's the link to the trailer:
More info can be found at his webpage

Doris Kearns Goodwin
Entertaining storyteller! I could have listened to her all day long! Very enjoyable hour, ending with a standing ovation.

She grew up listening to the Brooklyn Dodges play baseball on the radio and would meticulously keep score, recording all the plays. Then when her dad got home from work, she would tell him the game, play by play. This experience was her first with telling history as a story. When asked if she was a Jackie Robinson fan, she shared this story. His line after a game to get an autograph was always very long. But one day she waited with her autograph book that most girls had at that time. Each page had a silly quote on it. When it was her time, he took time to look at her book and in the spirit of it, signed, along with his name, "Keep your smile a long, long while"!

She took seven years to write this newest book. Its book jacket states:
"The gap between rich and poor has never been wider...legislative stalemate paralyzes the county...corporations resist federal regulations...spectacular mergers produce giant companies...the influence of money in ploitics deepens...bombs explode in crowded streets...small wars proliferate far from our shores...a dizzying array of inventions speeds the pace of daily life.

These unnervingly familiar headlines serve as the backdrop for Doris Kearns Goodwin's highly anticipated The Bully Pulpit - a dynamic history of the first decade of the Progressive era, that tumultuous time when the nation was coming unseamed and reform was in the air.

I bought a signed copy of this 8oo+ page book. I tend to spend my reading time reading picture books and YA novels... but I'm inspired by Doris today to push myself to read her newest book. It is said we can go forward by looking back. Doris' book is about a time that matches much of what our nation is dealing with now. I'm motived to see how Teddy and Taft solved the problems of their time.
Click here to go to her website

I also attended two small workshops. One where two teachers shared how they are having their MS and HS students publish their stories. I enjoyed hearing their process. Another was all about Literacy Design Collaborative, a website that offers resources to help teachers teach reading in content areas to meet CCSS.

Vicki Kennedy also spoke about the creation of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate. I definitely want to plan a trip to Boston soon to tour this Institute. Click to go to the website

National Geographic shared their launch of the Geo-Educator Community, a plan for teachers to meet and collaborate in our global world. Click here to go to the website

I spent the day at the Teaching and Learning Conference being inspired by things going on in education that are bigger that me. This gives me energy to keep working hard as a teacher!!

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