This week I went to South Bend, IN with a bunch of awesome coworkers and just learned learned learned. I went to 8 awesome sessions, plus keynote speakers, and revived and refreshed my teaching brain. I found so many awesome ideas that I can begin on MONDAY and so many others to store away for later use. I feel incredibly blessed by the brilliant speakers and presenters and so I'm just unbelievably thankful for this conference! Plus, it was so much fun staying up late and chatting with the other teachers. There are some amazing women who work at PCS. We had a great week! But...I came home to a messy, messy apartment, tons of first grade work to check, some interesting and funny notes from the substitute, fleas on Penny (I knew I had seen one before and found two last night), dozens of emails to respond to--regarding school and youth group, and I missed Taylor. Plus, in all of the busyness of last week, I didn't get any of my planning done for next week, so I'll be going in sometime today or tomorrow. I have some setbacks, but I am still loving that we went! Here's an overview of the sessions I attended...
- All Created Unique, Now What? This session was put on by an energetic and funny kindergarten teacher, named Vonda Morgan, who studies the Multiple Intelligences theory by Howard Gardner. She develops lessons that reach all of the different kinds of learners and gave us some great ideas to use right away in the classroom. I learned that I'm a Word smart person, but I have all different kinds of learners in my classroom, so I need to be sure I don't always teach in this way. I have taken so many classes that cover this info in college, so I wish I had picked something a little different, but I did get some great practical ideas.
- Have You Got Faith in Your Class? Another one that I could have possibly skipped. This session was put on by Jon Bauer, a Canadian Christian artist, who also used to teach. He was enjoyable to listen to, but PCS does such an awesome job of working on integrating our relationships with Christ throughout the day, in every subject even, that I felt like I had learned all of this before and already do this.
- Fifty Tools for Teaching in Fifty Minutes Oh WOW! This session was awesome. It was put on by Barbara Newman, an author of books on autism and disabilities and also a school consultant for students with exceptional needs, with the CLC Network. She quickly and excitingly (not a word maybe?) gave us 50 great ideas to help students with reading, behavior, sensory, etc problems. She showed us products we could buy to make adaptions for them, or how to make them on our own. I love the tools she has added to my teaching toolbox!
- The Skill and Will of Complimenting and Correcting Students Dr. Kathy Koch (my new favorite speaker of all time) is such a great speaker. She works with kids and is so right on about everything she spoke on this week. This session gave information on having a classroom culture of fear or apathy or a positive environment. She gave usable formulas for complimenting and correcting students in a manner that makes them understand what they did right or wrong, what to do next time, and why they have to face consequences. She also talked about focusing on the character of the students when complimenting and what the Bible says about that character. This sounds really bland now that I'm writing this, but it was incredible. I can't wait to see my students next week to try her ideas out.
- Meeting the Needs of Millennial Students (2 parts) These sessions were eye openers, by Kathy Koch again. She taught us how and why millennial (this generation which I'm actually included in!) are different and why they need so so so much help being successful. She showed us research on electronic devices and how they've changed the character, decisions, academic performance and behavior of students of all ages. She talked about how this generation is the drop down menu (needs and craves choices and options), control-alt-delete (can drop or delete anything they don't like in their lives), instant everything, relationship-based beliefs, competitive, multitasking (actually semi-tasking), change is constant, and entitled generation. Some of it was depressing, but that wasn't the message. The message also wasn't that kids are bad or that technology is bad. The message was just that this is the culture that we've been forced to live and believe in. She showed us this so we can make changes immediately and be aware on Monday morning of what our kids NEED at school. I felt ashamed that I fit into so many of these categories and I'm so glad I've been made aware of this now.
- Tracking and Assessing Sensory Issues in the Early Education Classroom Candace Meyer, with Minds in Motion, Inc., taught us about how unbalanced some of our students inner ears are. This causes a myriad of problems...including improper eye movement, inability to focus, sensory issues, reading problems, and more. She gave us ways to work on fixing this. This session was the last part of a three part session, and it was just okay. I talked with another teacher who went to the earlier sessions, so I understood what we learned, but I'm not completely sold on using all of this.
- Why Do They Do That? Discover Roots of Problems so Solutions Fit This was my final session of the trip. Kathy Koch spoke on the hierarchy of needs and how when a need, such as security isn't met, the student isn't ready to learn or behave. She gave us ways to help identify and meet the students needs at school, even if they're not met at home, so our students will be ready to grow in the classroom.