Thursday, March 12, 2009

Today was a great day at the MAMSE conference!

We started out with keynote speaker Ron Clark. I was skeptical of Clark and his "fame" but watching him and listening to him, I KNOW why middle schoolers love him! He is energetic, funny, and motivating. I thoroughly loved listening to him speak.

My first session was cancelled which usually would mean just scoot to another session, but since Clark's keynote had run over, we thought initially the speaker was running late. By the time we realized no one was coming, it was too late to get into any other sessions.

I was disgruntled and went to get lunch. Then I headed to a session presented by 2 teachers from White Pine Middle School where the conference was held. They presented a variety of techniques for working with struggling students. It was an interesting session, but many of their ideas would not work in my small school which has fewer students in all three grades than they have in one grade. Still, overall, I got some good ideas to try with my students.

The next session I went to was a hands on math session. It was intended to reach all middle level teachers, with a strategy for each grade level to take back and use. The 3 presenters did a great job. I learned a very easy trick for teaching students to balance 2 step equations. I can't wait to get back on Monday and share it with my kids!

I had planned to attend a session on social studies next thinking I would get some ideas for incorporating some new strategies in the one section I teach. When I got the handout, the speaker had constantly used "GLIC" instead of "GLCE". I decided quickly, this was not where I needed to be.... maybe I was wrong, but a Michigan teacher who does not understand GLCE stands for GRADE LEVEL CONTENT EXPECTATIONS.... I just do not think she is going to teach me anything.

Heading into a packed room, I wondered if I should have stayed where I was. This session was supposed to a presenation on Kagan cooperative strategies presented by CMU middle level preservice teachers. It was GREAT! I left with some ideas of how to use these tried and true methods in new and exciting ways.

Off to my last session, I was curious to see the presentation that had been recommended to me as a good one. The session on tiered assignments was relevant and interesting, using many of Rick Wormeli's ideas. Having been a Wormeli fan for a long time, I was thrilled to see his work cited and used practically. One vocab activity was especially intriguing and I will use it in my social studies class!

The day ended talking with MAMSE president Teresa Sutherland and Shawn McGirr. Then off to dinner with a crowd of MAMSE attendees.

All in all... a worthwhile, educational day!


Laurie W said...

The situation you described was all too familiar to me about workshops that are cancelled or full, that I was so looking forward to at a middle school conference.It is also frustrating to sit through a presentation and realize the speaker doesn't know what the heck they are talking about! On a more positive note: I am so glad Ron Clark was a great and entertaining keynote. I also cannot thank you enough for sharing the vocabulary pyramid! I have already printed it out and plan to share it with my 6 mainstream colleagues that I team teach with!Laurie

Shawn said...

Woot! It was great chatting with you at dinner. Dexter?