Friday, March 7, 2008

Reflections -- 2008 CLAS conference

This year's conference theme is "Literacy Now" and, appropriately, the icons that are on the program and tickets feature rockets. Here are a few reflections on what ideas have "launched" me into inspiration for my classroom. I hope to expand on a few soon...

  1. Ralph Fletcher - His humorous presentation last night focused mostly on boys and writing and some of the little things that educators can do to help shrink the gap. Choice, humor, and violence (to a point) were the three main allowances that we can provide our male writers in our classroom
  2. Dan and Dawn Kirby - Their humorous presentation (it is so nice to laugh!) showed me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel if writer's workshop doesn't seem like the only "good" way to teach writing. Their discussion of memoir in a studio format was enlightening.
  3. Nikki Giovanni -inspired her packed audience with her humor (yep...lots of laughing there too), poetry, and the story of Rosa Parks
  4. Technology - I focused two of my breakout sessions on technology and received great ideas on how to use web 2.0 in my class
  5. writing - I learned about brain gyms and how some simple, short exercises could help students get over the fear of writing or the dreaded writer's block.

Tomorrow...Leonard Pitts, Katie Wood Ray, and more inspiration.


ms. lehuu said...

Hi--I'm a first year teacher in Charlottesville, Virginia, and was doing a little search on ideas for doing an identity unit. I'm teaching challenging students, and if you had any ideas you could share, I'd be so grateful! I've earmarked some form of a multigenre project coming out of this. I'm curious about the alternate texts you've used (film, picture books, etc.).

A.M. Strzyz said...

One big idea that was a hit with my most reluctant readers and writers was when I had them create a google map based on either their lives or their hopes. It's easy to use - go to and go to the google maps. Then, you can create a map of anything you'd like. There are spaces for you to add annotations. Some students tagged places they've lived. Some created a map of places they wish to travel to. Other students mapped out family trips they had taken. When I gathered the assignments as part of their multigenre identity project student's maps were tagged with places ranging from only a few square miles to the whole world. Their annotations explained why they tagged each place. It was a success, and as long as your school has computer access, it's free!