This conference, Get Your Teach On, was probably the most useful professional development experience I have ever attended. Because the entire 2 day conference was geared specifically to kindergarten and first grade classrooms and teachers. For this reason, all the wonderful ideas shated, materials and activities are fully appropriate for every group of first graders I have ever taught or will teach. I have already used 3 of the many games we were shown and the section on writing in the K/1st grade class will be a model for my approach to writing with young children for the remainder of my career. Because this conference was not just focused on a single discipline, they shared wonderful ideas for curriculum across all disciplines in the early childhood classroom. Well worth the time and expenses, and so much fun to boot!
Professional Development Fund Testimonials
VSRA (Virginia State Reading Association)
I never have had the chance to go to the state reading conference and I couldn't pass it up this year. A new requirement for teachers to renew their teaching license is that we must be trained in Dyslexia. I was able to acquire this training on the first day of the reading conference and will now be able to renew my license. In addition, I went to many sessions that will enhance how I teach reading and writing. One session taught me the best way to teach vocabulary instruction, another session showed me how do "decoding webs" to make it easier for a child reading to decode words, another session showed me how to use STEM projects to promote writing, another session showed me how to use graphic narrative writing to teach beginning, middle, and end and various writing skills while making it appealing and doable for young writers. The keynote speakers were celebrities in the reading and writing community, so it was nice to hear from all the people whose books I've read and use to teach with. I walked away from this conference with a host of new ideas that I am already using in the classroom.
GYTO (Get Your Teach On)
As a first grade teacher it is hard to find conference that focus solely on the Kindergarten and first graders. This conference was able to provide a level of understanding of young children that most conferences cannot. At this conference I learned the cutting edge and hands on techniques to teach reading, writing, science, and social studies. Deanna Jump was the main speaker for the conference and she is a legend for K and 1 teachers. I was great to hear how she teaches writing and I no longer feel confused on the most effective way to teach writing to first graders who are typically are very needy writers. Deanna Jump's reading techniques are also easily incorporated into my reading instruction. I also loved that Deanna Jump brought in a speaker who was an expert in teaching science to K and 1 children and a speaker who was revolutionizing techniques on how to make social studies more relate able to young children. I left this conference feeling valued for the work that I do and re-energized for my classroom. I cannot wait to use these new ideas and techniques in my classroom.
Thank you for providing myself and my students this opportunity!
Creating mental imagery is extremely important for comprehension. The course I took, Visualization and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking, uses imagery stimulation and questioning to teach students to understand what they read. Students who have difficulty with language processing learn to visualize and comprehend language. Language comprehension includes being able to recall facts, understand the main idea, make inferences, conclusions and predictions, and evaluate what is read. Visualizing and Verbalizing is also valuable in teaching students to organize information in order to remember and discuss it. It does not just test separate details, but focuses on teaching the gestalt. Nanci Bell, one of the creators of Visualizing and Verbalizing, writes that gestalt is, "a complex organized unit or whole that is more than the sum of its parts. A weakness in creating gestalt interferes with connection to and interpretation of incoming language." I am very thankful to have taken part in this course so I can integrate this instruction into my teaching.
-Jenny Crocker, 2017
The Elizabeth Berg Writer's Studio Weekend was an experience that surpassed even my highest hopes -- the intimacy of the setting afforded the other six attendees (now my friends and writing group!) and me exceptionally close interaction and engagement with Elizabeth and each other. The hours we spent together were joyful, intense, challenging, enriching, and affirming. I learned so much about myself as a writer, as a listener, as an encourager ... about writing ...about character, place and dialogue...about being an observer, a detail-gatherer, a celebrator and expressor of the grit and beauty of the everyday (note: read any of Berg's novels and see that I was at the feet of a master!). I experienced what it feels like to be in my students' shoes -- asked to write on command, to open myself up and take a risk, not only to pen my thoughts but also to share them aloud -- the vulnerability in receiving feedback from peers and from one who's immeasurably more experienced and accomplished than I -- the empathy in listening and giving feedback to others who've opened themselves up, as well.
I returned from the Writer's Studio filled to overflowing with all that I'd experienced and learned -- deeply moved, enriched, inspired -- excited to share with students and colleagues fresh ideas and insights -- and forever grateful to you, PTO, for your amazing generosity and support.
Bonnie Carey - 2017
Andrea Brewer attended the SHAV (Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia) Annual Conference on March 16 - 18, 2016:
Nancy Ealy attended the VCTM Conference in Fredericksburg on March 4-5, 2016:
Kathryn DeAtley attended the Ron Clark Academy Experience on Nov. 6, 2015:
Steve Gissendanner attended the Twisted Math conference on 11/19/15 in Charlottesville:
Betsy Bell attended the Wired Differently Conference on December 8, 2015:
Andrea Atkinson attended VSTE 30th Annual Conference: Honor the Past Imagine the Future on December 6-8, 2015 at the Hotel Roanoke Conference Center:
Andrea Atkinson attended the VMI Stem Conference, October 6-7, 2015 at the Virginia Military Institute:
Fourth grade teacher Meghan Brodie talks about what she hopes to learn at a technology conference she is attending in Austin, Texas. Your contributions to the MLS PTO Annual Fund make this happen! Thank you!
Betsy Bell shares about an important conference she will be able to attend this year specifically because of funding provided by the MLS PTO Professional Development Fund. Your contributions to the MLS PTO Annual Fund make this possible. Thank you!
The MLS PTO Annual Fund campaign is underway! We hope you will consider joining the families who have already sent in a contribution. Please listen to Kindergarten Teacher Meg Franco explain how she will use the PTO Professional Development Funds this year. Your support makes a difference! Click here to donate.
Have you participated in the MLS PTO Annual Fund campaign? We are thankful that more than 70 families have already given to the fund to support our major funding initiatives at Meriwether Lewis. We hope you will join these families by giving online or by sending in an envelope via backpack mail or regular mail. These donations help support the MLS PTO Professional Development Fund and help teachers attend national conferences. Watch here as our Librarian & Media Specialist, Andrea Atkinson, shares her excitement about the conferences that she is considering.