Sunday, March 15, 2009

Friday the 13th at MAMSE was a lucky day. I started out in the session Healing a Staff in Conflict. Nic Cooper did an excellent job of explaining conflict, why it is a good thing, how it can be used productively, and gave some easy strategies to ease the pain of these situations. I would love to have him come to our school to implement some of his strategies.

Session 2 was my only disappointment. The guy meant well, but almost his entire presentation, word for word, was on his PowerPoint. The content was fluff, and I left looking to make sure I was NOT attending any of his other sessions.

My next session was probably my favorite overall, though it is hard to choose just one. Active Learning Strategies in the Middle School Classroom sounded great on paper, but it was a presentation from a Glencoe textbook rep so I was a bit leary. WOW! I am thrilled I went. DJ West gave us a plethora of activites to use with kids. Some of these I had used, but others were completely exciting and new. His active reading strategies will be engaging for my kids and help them remember content. He described some activites like foldables I already use, but showed new ideas I will apply. The entire 55 minutes, he had us working, engaged and excited. His short, quick ideas will keep middle schoolers wondering what is coming next!

Lunch time was spent in the wonderful cafeteria at White Pine Middle School. I love the setup of this school. The sprawling grounds, the separate buildings, the large gym and cafeteria... It just feels welcoming, despite the fact it is an older facility.

After lunch I was able to meet my regional director, Tim Hall, who is the Sault Middle School principal. It was fun to connect with him, talking about the various people we know as our networks overlap.

The last session of the day was a Web 2.0 session, with William Merrill from Central Michigan University. What an energetic speaker he was! He has a dry wit that captured the attention of everyone in the audience as he explored using blogs, wikis, social bookmarking sites, podcasts, mashups, etc.. with us. When he was still talking at the magic minute the session should have ended, no one got up to leave. I left thinking, "Wow, I should be doing some of this stuff more often. My kids would be so geeked."

Overall, MAMSE was a wonderful 2 days of making new friends, catching up with old ones, and putting faces to virtual ones. I left energized for the last stretch of the school year, ready to go back to the classroom and try the new ideas I learned.

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