Friday, January 25, 2008

Live From The Creek

Every year about this time, a few of us from The Creek, set out on an educational journey to the annual America's Choice National Conference to share ideas and network with other educators from across our nation. The conference location alternates from West Coast to East Coast and this year the destination is Hollywood, California from Jan 30-Feb 2. (Are you jealous yet?)

In the past, we've done several break-out sessions, presented a Virtual Tour of our school, and attended a Demonstration Model School mini-conference. We return to The Creek to share the news of what we've learned. One year all the rage was their Using Rubrics to Improve Student Writing after we participated in a session by Sally Hampton. We now have copies for every teacher in the building. We use it to analyze student work against a rubric, compare our student work to the sample pieces, and to write organized teacher commentary for Standards-based Bulletin Boards. One year we discovered a math intervention program, Math Navigator, after attending a session by Phil Daro, that we swiftly put in place to further increase our math scores. Now, our special education students and our regular education students with gaps in math skills and concepts or misconceptions built in earlier grades get a much needed and focused safety net. This module delivered safety net is a must have in every building with struggling math students and compliments a core math curriculum.

This year, we are taking a larger group, about ten teachers, and instead of waiting for us to come back and share, we are going to blog and twitter live from the conference. By logging onto our Live from the Creek blog, teachers will be able to get live access to our session topics, summaries, and thoughts. We are hoping to also UStream or Skype our own presentations so our teachers can log on and watch live or go back to the recorded session from home in the evening. Cross your fingers that we have a good internet connection!

In addition to our Virtual Tour which has turned high tech thanks to our techie models, Melanie Holtsman and Eric Blair, CCE teachers will be delivering sessions on technology integration in science, vocabulary developed units within a PLC, standards-based bulletin boards, Math Navigator, and our own dayle timmons, special education teacher and primary literacy coach, will be delivering the closing keynote. Our principal, Susan Phillips, will also be sitting in on a panel discussion. We can't wait to interact with our America's Choice peers.

We are hoping that although we cannot take all of our K-5 teachers (we have so many!) , they will be a virtual part of our journey this year. We can't wait to get started!

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