Yay! School is out and it's the first full week of Summer Break! What do you think I'm doing with my time?
I'm spending a couple of days with a thousand-plus of my closest teacher-friends, learning about the research questions listed above. You might think I am dreading spending the sunshiny days inside a cold convention center, but I couldn't be more excited!
The following names will probably mean nothing to you, unless you are in the field of education, but they are BIG names in education. Richard Allington spoke at the conference! I've read many of his books, but have never heard him speak before. He has some very strong opinions about literacy education and what teachers should and shouldn't be doing in the classroom.
Matt Glover and Katie Wood Ray changed my teaching life! I began an entirely new approach to writing because of their books and Katie Wood Ray's workshop. Teaching children to write is a huge challenge and there are so many different aspects that you just don't think about, until you are actually tasked with breaking them down into manageable steps for young authors. Matt Glover shared some great writing samples and took his books to a new a level, in my mind.
At every teacher conference, there is always a book table. Sometimes you'll find children's books and other times there will be professional development books. It doesn't really matter which type of books. If there are teachers at the conference, the books will be purchased! This time there were professional development books. I purchased my fair share. (This is where my husband usually reminds me that there is something called a public library and that I should check them out instead. But, public libraries don't carry the most recent teacher-books! It's my duty to stay up to date on current trends and best practices in education!) I bought a few books and put a few others on my wish list.
I didn't purchase this one because I think I KNOW why I teach, but I think it sounds like a good read.
The conference room was so big that I couldn't get a picture with the whole room in the shot. This was well before the conference began and hadn't really even started filling up. I'm just floored with the realization that most of the people in this room paid $400 out of their own pockets to learn more about best practices in literacy education. Sometimes, the school districts are able to pay but most of the people I chatted with had to pay their own fee to attend and many were from several states away, having to pay their own travel and hotel fees.
Overall, it was a fabulous two day conference. I feel very fortunate to have been able to attend and learn so much about research and trends in literacy education. I wish our legislature would realize the importance of professional development like this and FULLY FUND EDUCATION so more teachers could have the opportunity to learn and become the best possible teachers for their students!
Happy Summer Break!