Swag bag.

Me, geeked-out preschooler before geek was cool. circa 1969
Me, geeked-out preschooler before geek was cool. circa 1966

Never Start a Post Like This: Back in the day…

Back in the day, I used to work in a small but potent marking company designing and executing trade shows for medical conventions. It’s still run by one of my first, and best, bosses. One thing that was always fun about those conventions was the swag –however, most of it was useless to me, not being a doctor or pharm rep, so it wasn’t until we did a booth for the American Booksellers that I got things that I really wanted — and I still have some of those books today. But that was long before I became a teacher. But these past three days, I have been to the mountain, and I am now going to do my utmost to share the treasures I looted, the swag I bagged, and the privileges of pillaging. The only thing is its all digital–and it’s awesome. Yes–I got to attend the NCCE.  Aside from leaving my classrooms for three days, and planning on going in on Sunday to get caught up, prepared for my post-eval meeting, reading story entries for my writing contest, fix some posts for another student blog (yet to be publically shared), and update the old grade book, and figuring out what is the first thing I’m going to use from this conference. (deep breath: we’re all busy)

Nutshell View: Here’s Who I Saw And Heard

 Chris McKenzie chrismckenzie.weebly.com Twitter: @mckc1 Chris’s presentation “Technology in the English Class: Ideas to Support Deeper Learning” showed me that students can write thesis statements that would make the ivory-est of ivory tower professors weep with joy. He showed me that themes and thesis can be taught with depth. He taught me, or rather validated, that my approach of trying to layer technology and not let technology instruction invade, interrupt or eviscerate content instruction is doable. Also, his literature blog in the voice of one “Mr. Cornelius McKenzie” is an engaging way to teach voice. (Sorry, I don’t have a link to this.) And– ultimately– that when listening to a poem, it can be a thousand times more powerful when viewed through Google cardboard.

…brother lead…and sister steel…

Thank you, Mr. McKenzie. Brian Cleary http://oldbrainteacher.com Twitter: @oldbrainteacher Brian spoke to my heart of my teaching philosophy: the story is the key. How many administrators have the past few years had to cut out science, play, social studies, play, PE, etc. so students could attend double or triple time in reading and math instruction? There was never any need for that, except for the draconian, punitive measure of NCLB. Not going to lie: makes me sick to my stomach. Why can’t every district, building, etc. have innovative librarians that know how to embed reading, science, history, and math at the same time? No more. Look up his website, go to his 90% lessons, and don’t ever tell me again you can’t teach with story telling again.  Morgen Larsen @MSLibrarian Lady Morgen is a wonderful speaker, who also spoke to me via my love of ‘whose story is it?’ in history. I knew we made a connection when we understood that we both think Pocahontas got a raw deal. Even in the Disney version. (Or perhaps especially.) She shared the Stanford History Education Group website — amazing source. Leslie Fisher http://lesliefisher.com @lesliefisher A force of nature. I am going to spend hours this weekend simply curating those amazing things she shared. Couldn’t download apps fast enough, or sign in or up quick enough. And yes, I have my Leslie lanyard. Or should I say “Lesyard?” No no no….however… We are a Cult of Leslie now. SBA, Now What?  @GEMalone The last presentation I went to was with Dr. Glenn Malone–from a sheer data and assessment standpoint, this was invaluable. I appreciate his candor and ‘what we can do’ approach more than I can express. Thank you, sir. He’s the current president of WERA, so I strongly suggest if you want your voice heard in data and assessment, pay attention to what these folks are doing. Twitter The other benefit of the days was buffing up my PLN again – lots of new Twitter followers and follow-ees. Sift through my list to check them out: @mrskellylove Okay all — I’m tired. It is Friday night. I turned 52 this week, and am feeling it. Yes, my birthday was spent at the NCCE, and for sure — I receive some great gifts. Thank you all!