Good Teaching Conference Tidbits

    If you have not attended a CTA sponsored good teaching conference you really must put it on your to do list for next year.They have 2 separate conferences one in the north usually in San Jose, and one in the south. This year, in the south,  the conference was in Garden Grove last year it was in San Diego.  Always held in a beautiful hotel, lots of teachers, vendors and exciting things to learn. At this Conference there were over 1500 teachers. In the past CTA had a lot of sessions that were mostly elementary but in the last several years they’ve done an outstanding job of including sessions for secondary teachers as well. I thought this conference especially well rounded. Several teachers attended several sessions about the new generation science standards which is the equivalent to Math and English Common Core standards.
    I was privileged to present two separate sessions. One session was on the activities that I used in my classroom to keep kids engaged and alert. The other session was about writing performance tasks and projects from everyday sources, such as television, radio and movies.  I always try to include some interactive activities during my presentation because whenever I get a group of teachers together I always realize I am NOT alone: we all have the same struggles, we all deal with the same issues, and we all have the same concerns.
     I gave comment cards to the participant in the session and one of the questions was: What is the most difficult concept for you to teach?  One brave participant. at first  said she  could not identify just one so I asked her to give me all of them. She said it’s difficult to get the kids to use their notes, they don’t know how to study they don’t know what the notes are used for they don’t know how to study for a test– they don’t know study skills in general. In fact she said sometimes they just lose them they don’t even consider them important however they are all very good about taking notes in the first place. I love hearing this. Mainly because I have the same issue. My students always want to take notes usually in Cornell note style. and once the notes are taken (if they are an avid class they get credit for them)  then we never see them again. During quizzes and tests I asked them to take their notes out and I let them use their notes most of them don’t even look at notes. I have thought about putting all the answers in there notes hidden somewhere, but I’m not looking to trick them. Although it’s tempting..
    But this gives me a great idea to start the new year off. Since I know this is a concern not only mine but other people’s as well I’m going to look at activities at the beginning of the year to help kids know how to study, create study tools from their notes and understand how to study for tests,  Yes, this will cause me to get a little behind in my pacing guide but I think it is a good use of my time, especially if it makes the notes more meaningful. 
    I also attended another session about using gaming in the classroom to learn. I have several links for games and I’m going to be looking at that this summer and see if it’s possible to use some of these games to help my students be successful.  Another great session presented by Sean Mabey was more  month than money, a budgeting session helping you get control of your finances and start to save for retirement. I actually set up my files the way he suggested and filed some important papers.
    The conference always concludes on Sunday at brunch with a lot of prizes given out in the raffles. Sadly this year I did not win anything.  I did gain new friends and celebrated a recent birthday.

    As promised I will share some of the link to the activities I created for this presentation. I made a presidetial matching card set, President matching cards  
     a treasure hunt featuring Shakespeare’s sonnets, Treasure Hunt
    and a Domino Set with bones…Domino Set Bones

     I also made a matching card set of states and their capitals for those of you who may be teaching lower grades.States and Capitals
     I also posted my latest sampler freebie included is a pi day word search with March words, a cut and paste puzzle  featuring area and circumference of circle, and Irish trivia matching card set in honor of St Patrick’s Day and a blank March calendar for your planning needs. Feel free to download it. The link will take you to the Teachers Pay Teachers store but this is absolutely free so please download it and enjoy. March Sampler Freebie
    Since my right arm is broken and I can’t type,  I didn’t think I would be blogging. But without using my hands.I found a way to manage so expect a little more from me next week.

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