Coming Out of Hibernation with #SHC13 Think Tank!

Those of you that have had a baby will understand when I say that I’ve been in hibernation.  It’s not that I’ve been sleeping my days away, in fact I get less sleep now than I ever have.  My hibernation has consisted of an all consuming obsession with my little girl and watching her grow and learn every day.  As much as that is a very worthy use of my days I think it’s about time that I rejoin the world and remember some of the things that make me ME and not just Mom.  Luckily I was pulled from my hibernation in the most lovely way when I had the pleasure of spending my weekend with these ladies!

BPJRPxxCQAEHCc6What better way to reinvigorate, reintroduce, and renew my passion for teaching than to sit at a table with a group of brilliant women who believe in good practice and changing the profession?  It was a learning packed weekend to be sure.  If you’d like to see the tweets just look for the #SHC13 Hashtag on Twitter where we tried to share our learning.  (Believe me I couldn’t tweet fast enough to capture it all!)

Our morning began with a Twitter introduction for our colleagues who weren’t yet exploring this tool.  We engaged in some great discussion about the power of sharing our learning with the world, accessing learning, connecting with peers, and how we might use twitter in our work as staff developers and teachers.  Then we watched a clip from the DVD that comes with our new book Connecting Comprehension and Technology.  (You know I can’t pass up an opportunity to promote this.  It’s not that I’m trying to get you to buy my book, I really really believe in the value of the work that’s in it and I think (I really hope) it’s going to be the tool that teachers need to connect technology with good practice in the classroom!)  9780325047034Every time I watch this DVD segment I think three things. 1) My students are so amazing!  2) They get amazing because they’ve had great teachers year after year that believe in their ability to take charge of their own learning. 3) My colleagues are brilliant. 4) I know I said there was only 3 but really there is 4, dang was I pregnant!

Once our morning got going we dug into some really meaty topics with Stephanie Harvey like the Common Core, text complexity, and other hot topic issues in education.  These are some of the quotes that stuck with me.

These are literally just a few of the amazing take aways from this brief morning session led by Stephanie Harvey.

We now break for a short commercial.

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We had lunch from an American Indian Eatery called Tocabe.

If you are ever in Denver you will do yourself a great disservice if you don’t eat at this place.  It’s amazing.

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

Our afternoon was action packed.  Kristen and I shared our new book Connecting Comprehension and Technology with the group.  As always our focus was on the transformative power of technology and how it must be grounded in good practice and pedagogy!

Then we were treated to a great presentation on reasoning and argument by Lynette Emmons.  She really emphasized that argument needs to be tied to authentic questions and thinking generated by students.  How can you learn to be a good arguer if you never get the chance to really argue?  Another of her points that stuck with me is that we weren’t brought up to read with claim, evidence, and reasoning in mind so, as teachers, we must really peel back the layers of our own learning so that we can teach it to students.

As if this wasn’t enough for our first day we had an amazing Finale from Anne Goudvis on supporting ELL learners in the classroom.  Anne always has a great perspective on how we can really ensure that our ELL students get the most out of their instructional time.  She shared the power of previewing lessons to help those students be successful in the whole group as well as ways to support their efforts with visuals in the classroom.  I’ve also really been dwelling on something she mentioned which is that ELL students need HIGH CHALLENGE and HIGH SUPPORT to be successful.  Without one they are either engaged in work that’s too hard without the needed support to be successful or work that is too easy and mindless.

We wrapped up our weekend listening to Angel Schroden, author of the staff development book for the Comprehension Toolkit, talk about coaching.  I have to say that since I haven’t really done much coaching this was such an interesting topic to me.  I would have loved to listen to this amazing gal talk more about the ways that we can really support and inspire teachers to be the best that they can be and impact their students in positive ways.

So in all this what do I take away?  What is most important?

  • Professional renewal is so essential to our minds and hearts as teachers.  Whether it be through book study, conferences, online groups, or professional development in the classroom.  Teachers need to keep learning.
  • Keep the current “hot topic” in perspective.  We know what good practice is and we can’t abandon it every time something new comes down the pipe.  As teachers we must be well read and able to look at things from a well read perspective.
  • Students should be at the forefront of our mind at all times.
  • You can never get enough time when smart people are at the table!
This entry was posted in Active Literacy, Collaboration, Conference Presentations, Inquiry, iPad, Professional Development, Reader's Workshop, Self Reflection, Strategy Instruction, Teacher as Readers, Technology, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Coming Out of Hibernation with #SHC13 Think Tank!

  1. Janet F. says:

    Hi,
    I found you from a comment you left on another blog (Two Writing Teachers) about Peter Johnston! I am looking for teachers who have used his ideas with kids to give me a brief comment to put on a flyer to advertise his talk in Sept. I am hoping you can help or maybe connect me to another teacher who could help. I heard him at NYState Reading Conf. last Nov. He will speak at Seven Valley Reading Council in NY at the end of Sept. and I am sure there are many who do not know his work. I love Opening Minds and my friend who is a student teacher supervisor at U of Georgia told me she thought it was the best book ever written on education for teachers. I am retired and work as a literacy consultant mainly through poetry. I don’t have a blog, but follow many. Thanks a lot if you can help. Please feel free to email me at skanny17 at yahoo dot com

  2. Jordan says:

    Comprehension and Technology. Fantastic.

    I have just created a new app for Reader’s Workshops called Stream Reading. It has everything a teacher needs to conduct workshops like ability to record student audio, prompts for questioning, easy to use data collection and a function to export the data.

    I highly recommend you check it out.

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