Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Celebrating Learning

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Last week, I celebrated learning. My mind was stretched by many new ideas. garnered through various professional development opportunities. I connected, reflected, and grew as a learner. Perhaps, you have had a week like this also. 

Created by @timneedles
My week of learning started with #NYEDChat's convo on "The Homework Dilemma." I was proud to co-moderate the conversation, so I decided to write a poem, "What if?," for the evening event to shed light on my thoughts. You can read the poem here. The educational chat was amazing. There were so many different voices providing their views on the issue of homework and best yet, the convo trended on Twitter.

Midweek, I attended a Long Island Language Arts Council workshop, sponsored by Marty Vainder from The Chapters Group, presented by national literacy consultant, Dr. Katherine McKnight who delighted the audience with her sense of humor. She introduced the important topic of self-regulation in learning in her workshop entitled, Closing the Achievement Gap: Self-Regulation and Adolescent Literacy. With a generous spirit of collaboration and connectedness, Dr. McKnight graciously provided the group with a QR code to access handouts online. You can find her materials here. She began with the premise, "Children who possess a strength of resilience are more likely to be well-adjusted, and self-regulated toward success." (Bucknere, Mezzacappa & Beardsle, 2003) Therefore, "instruction in reading, writing, listening, speaking, and language must be a shared responsibility across the curriculum." Dr. McKnight continued with a look at the structure of the balanced literacy period and introduced the concept of centers to allow students to to develop self-regulations skills. She provided sound resources and inspired many to try some of her ideas. I was so impressed with her materials that I shared them at a professional development workshop that I presented yesterday. 

Following this workshop, I attended Nassau Reading Council's professional development session with Carol Jago, distinguished English educator, author, and former President of the National Council of Teachers of English. This session was sponsored by Heather Herrero and Jennifer Glennon from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Carol Jago's presentation, entitled Closer Reading for Deeper Learning introduced strategies and resources for helping students develop mental muscle. An interesting part of her presentation led the audience to reflect on the paintings of Chuck Close. She also allowed participants to explore videos and poetry to uncover meaning, for she believes that close reading is a habit of the mind. Some informational texts that Carol Jago referred to are: Locomotive by Brian Floca, Titi Puente Mambo King, Barbarians, Wild TracksInvincible Microbe-Tuberculosis by Jim Murphy, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Traci Kidder, The Good Soldiers by David Finkel, and Beyond the Beautiful Forevers that reads like a narrative. A thought that resonated with me is "Reading isn't a subject it is verb."

Besides these engaging workshops, I participated in several chats on Twitter. As always, I connected with many educators and people from the business world to broaden my perspective on life and learning. My week ended with the Poetry Friday authors, poets, and educators who always broaden my horizons and stretch my limits in writing, as exemplified by my post, showing the zeno poem that I created for #NYEDChat. Ending my week with Diane Mayr's call for the Poetry Friday Round-up rounded off a week of growing as a learner.

Because of an unforeseen tragedy written about in the post for #SpiritualJourney Thursday, I was unable to complete my blog for Ruth Ayres' Celebrate this week so this post will serve a dual purpose: linking my thoughts for both the Celebrate this week and Slice of Life writing communities. 

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