Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Slice of Life - Dublin Lit Conference

It was brought to my attention recently that I never blogged about the recent Lit Conference held here in Dublin in February. I felt really bad about that because that particular day was an amazing day for me. So my "slice" for today will be a quick synopsis of some of the wonderful learning that took place for me the day of the Dublin Literacy Conference.

Keynote address: Dr. Tim Tyson was the keynote speaker, and he had the entire audience in the palm of his hand that day. His knowledge and application of technology was breath-taking. He had me early on with his screencasting of his entire presentation. Then, as he shared other technology that floored me with the possibilities, he also managed to include many smart sound-bites that are worth noting:

" School can be anything you can imagine.
Empowering human potential is the job of an educator.
We should constantly be revising and editing our thinking."
He said much more; this is just the tip of the iceberg.

He ended his keynote by sharing a video created by 7th graders in his school that celebrated the achievement and talents of a classmate. The video was powerful and brought tears to my eyes. In addition, the thinking, collaboration, and creating that went into this video was awe-inspiring.

I then later heard Dr. Tyson speak in a smaller group setting. His vision of where technology can go in education took my breath away! I was glad that I was sitting right behind my principal during this session. There were some ideas we floated by one another that we would like to see in our building. Lots of ideas; now we have to work on the funding.

Ann Marie Corgill: I went to hear Ann Marie (author of Of Primary Importance) speak for one of my sessions. Ann Marie used to teach in the primary grades, but has recently moved into a 6th grade position. What I loved about her talk is that it re-emphasized for me that good literacy instruction looks similar whether you are working with primary students or 6th graders.

Other important take-aways from her session were 1) the idea of keeping a "teaching point" notebook, 2) using share time to have students share what they learned during their conference or in strategy group, 3) using a Writing Journey Folder that contains the entire history of a piece, 4) how great her students' BIG published projects were, and 5) how important honoring children is everyday.

Later on in the day, I got to spend some one-on-one time with Ann Marie which was wonderful as well. We spent some time looking at the tech projects some students in our district have created, we spent some time watching Kevin Hodgson work his stop-motion magic with a large group of students that had signed up for his session, and we also spent some quiet time just chatting in the teachers' lounge (we also nibbled, okay gobbled, some of the best sugar cookies I have ever had).

Finally, the part of the conference that is always fun for me is when Bill (my blog partner) and I shared some of the best new books of 2009 with other teachers. We always have a blast together and the session just flowed naturally back and forth between us as we shared our favorites.

When you get to spend an entire day thinking, reflecting, and being challenged about what is best practice for our students, that is a great day!! Add to that the opportunity to spend time with so many smart people. I am so lucky that the Dublin Literacy Conference is in my own school district!!


  1. You're so lucky to have such an amazing conference taking place so close to home. I hope to attend someday!

  2. I'm glad you wrote about this, as it reminded me of a few things, too, and sometimes it takes a while for ideas to sink in and take root.