I love walking away from something I've done with the feeling of enjoyment. Saturday ended that way. It was a great day of learning, visiting, connecting, and reflecting. There's something about spending a weekend day with individuals who are willing to give up their personal time to grow professionally. The building was just filled with positive energy. I didn't attend any sessions specific to kindergarten but I walked away reflecting on my room and my own personal growth or that of my daughters. I know my smart blogging friends will be sharing their reflections so I'm going to touch on the biggest idea I reflecting on from each session and how it can relate to my room.
If I could send my daughter to Kelly Gallagher's freshmen class I would do it. His energy, passion, and understanding of education just radiated from his keynote. He urged the audience to build prior knowledge and experience to help guide reading. I think this is natural for working with emerging readers as we do a book introduction during guided reading but I'm not sure we do a great job of it in content reading or in whole class reading settings. Kelly said, "what you bring to the page is more important than what is on the page." His examples clearly made me feel this way in trying to read during his session. He also said, "all of our students should have 50% of their reading be recreational". I found myself reflecting on my own daughters and am thankful they all do this naturally. He also repeatly urged us to have our children write more, I can do that with my students.
Patrick Allen is a wealth of knowledge and insight for conferring. He believes conferring holds our workshop together and helps us think more about the pieces. He urged teachers to record themselves conferring and listen to what actually happens. I've never done this and think I should give it a try to understand more about my conferencing. Some of his key points for conferring are; talking to kids makes an impact, during conferring we are listening with all our heart, and we are doing small group work when we are conferring. The children sitting near are listening in and thinking. Patrick shared a wonderful clip of his students sharing various thoughts related to their own reading and ideas of independence. You could tell they understood the expectations, took ownership for their own learning, and were able to create meaning while reading. I wasn't able to attend his second session but his book, just moved to the top of Kindle list.
Scott Sibberson did a great job explaining and introducing Web 2.0 tools to teachers. I wouldn't consider myself a very tech person but when thinking about twitter, an igoogle page, blogging, and that I had just dabbled in sharing a google doc the night before I am using these tools. I had not even attempted to use any sort of bookmarking tool but Scott motivated me and so willingly answered questions that night to help me get started with diigo.
I love listening and spending time with authors and illustrators. Brian Pinkney said something that I think is really important for anyone working with young learners and learners of all ages to consider, "my thinking is with my hands." He also encouraged us to use "traveling time", the time it takes to get from point A to point Z and to trust that time. I think I will quote him for a long time during writing workshop, "if I start with sketching, I see where things are going - I don't with words."
Amy Krouse Rosenthal is one creative gal! She was inspiring as a person to think about life, making things, doing things simply, and being observant. I loved the sharing she did of her work with books and video and people. This sticks with me from Amy, "train your mind to think differently."