writing to remember, reflect and continue to learn.
Friday, June 25, 2010
MidSouth Reading and Writing Conference
For the last 8 summers I have had the great pleasure of attending this conference. Once again, I was not disappointed. Richard Allington was the keynote speaker on Friday and spoke quite plainly about the things that need to be changed when working with struggling readers. He pointed out that children have not changed, we have. Instead of finding a way to help these children, many now label them and define them with titles like ADD, LD, etc. Although these are real issues, the labels have been overused and often assigned to children who did not deserve them. We have to stop making excuses and do whatever a child needs to help them progress.
Saturday was a another great day of learning and thinking lead by Peter Brunn. He spoke about the intentions teachers have to keep in mind while fostering thinking. Many times we praise and judge student responses during discussions and in turn squash the chances of other students sharing their thoughts because they are afraid they are not going to share what "we" are looking for. We simply need to say "thank you" and leave students feeling validated and others feeling safe to share a thought that may differ from a fellow students. I do this! I'm a thought squasher and I didn't realize it! ugh... It was unintentionally, but I do this! My thinking is not the only thought on any book or poem. I left Saturday a changed teacher. This year, I will strive to plan lessons and discussions that foster questioning and thinking in an environment where all students feel safe to share their thoughts, support their ideas and share ideas that may be different from their peers. I can't wait to finish reading Peter Brunn's book The Lesson Planning Handbook. It is great!