This was the first time in 4 years that I was invited to join and learn during any core content professional development. I took it as a great opportunity to learn some of the latest strategies and kept my gears turning, trying to think of ways to integrate the technology.
There were several speakers that shared their reading programs with the group. I was most impressed by Yoko Matsumoto from the Arlington Public Libraries. Why all these programs for the community and parents? Want a better reason? Yoko said, "parents are their child's first and most important teacher/role model". She presented literacy programs that were available for parents of children ages 0-4 and teen parents. They had volunteer reading buddy programs, summer reading clubs, and a partnership with the local school district to offer each child a free library card and services to deliver books to a school for checkout.
First 21 Days to Small Group Instruction
I learned a lot in this session. They provided a plan for effective small groups. Lee Wright, an early education professor, was our dynamic presenter. Teachers shared that centers or workstations should be purposeful. They should be backed up with the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills). Strategies for successful independence of students in
centers/workstations included, showing instead of telling students, modeling correct behavior and implementing the four phases during the first 21 days.
Phase 1-Rules & Procedures, Building Independence, Teaching Procedures, Whole Group, Monitoring
Phase 2- Menu, Must Do/May Do, Transition, Monitoring
Phase 3- Must Do/May Do, Teacher Group, Reteaching, Debriefing
Phase 4-Multiple Flexible Groups, Differentiated Instructions, Exploration, Inquiry
My Connection to Technology
After attending First 21 Days to Small Group Instruction, I'm thinking all of the ideas in Phases 1-4 can be applied to include the iPad in centers/workstations. The key to remember is that the activity should be purposeful and backed up with a TEK.
A phrase was repeated a few times during the day, "What is learned here, leaves here." I loved it, because to a technology integrator, that means we tweet it, blog about it, and tell our PLN. I couldn't find a hashtag for this event or a twitter handle for our awesome presenters. We need these awesome literacy educators in our PLNs. Where are they? They don't even appear in a Google Search. I collected a few email addresses today. I am challenging myself to email them and tell them how dynamic they are. I hope they will model, "What is learned here, leaves here."