Keynote - The Keynote speaker this year was Marc Brown. He was so wonderful to listen to! I loved how he framed his presentation in the form of questions that children have asked him. Mr. Brown also shared a few of his upcoming projects. I can't wait to see them once they are completed!
Session 1 - Early Interventions: Just-in-Time Word Work with DeeDee Wills
I was a smidge late getting to this session. The Keynote ran a few minutes late, but I still got lots of great ideas. First of all, I have to say that DeeDee is funny, like really funny. She seemed to be having so much fun during her presentations. There were two ideas that really stuck out to me during this session. The first one had to do with cookie sheets and magnets. She made a set of cookie sheets that have the letters written on them and put magnets on top of that. She has these set up ready to go to make words during her groups. Great idea to have them to ready at all times! Another great idea that I loved was to have students listen to you say sounds, blend the sounds together, and then draw the matching picture. Brilliant! What a great way to assess whether the students are able to blend the sounds or not!
Session 2 - Assessing on the Go! with DeeDee Wills
DeeDee started out this session with the following video. I thought it was hilarious! If you've never seen it before, take a few minutes to watch it. Trust me!
Ok, now that that is over, I'll continue with my post. ;) DeeDee shared a great app called Running Record Toolbox. This app is available on both Android and Apple devices for $.99. I think that it looks like a great way to quickly calculate your students' reading levels. So much easier to plug in the numbers and let the app do the work! I loved her writing goals chart where her students picked the goal that they felt they needed to work on. I am definitely going to implement this idea in my classroom this upcoming school year! I also liked the idea of putting the skill that you are assessing on an address label and walk around while students are working to see if they are mastering the skill. Another great idea to implement!
Session 3 - Reaching Gifted Learners with Catherine Kuhns
I really enjoyed this session. The session description changed a bit from when I signed up to when the conference actually happened. I'll be honest - I wasn't quite sure this was the session for me, but I learned a lot about the gifted population as it pertained to Kindergarten students. I know this sounds simple, but a trick that that she gave when questioning in the classroom was to do a high order question, then a low order question, then a high order question, and so on. That way the gifted students are still challenged and engaged while the non-gifted students can also be successful. She shared a great list of characteristics of gifted children that I thought was very helpful.
Session 4 - A Circle of Learning: Differentiated Whole-Group Games for Little Ones with Kathy Griffin
This was a great session! I just loved Kathy's presentation and positivity! She is so super sweet! I just loved that her circle of learning idea took approximately 5 minutes of the day, but packed so much into it. She shared some great songs and activities with the group. I loved her idea of Battle of the Bands - so fun! She also shared her "Did You Ever Have the Wiggles" video that I will be using at the beginning of the year.
Session 1 - We're Ready! Guiding Your Little Ones Through the Writing Process with LeAnna Wolkis Goldstein
LeAnna is a such a fun presenter to watch. She has loads of energy and tons of great ideas! I loved her idea of cooperative sqiggle drawings. Each student has only one crayon. The students decide as a group what they want to draw. Then each student draws a different part of the picture. So fun! I also liked her idea of have a basket for publishing that students could take back to their tables to complete the process. Great idea!
Session 2 - Language Arts Interventions for Little Learners with Deanna Jump
Deanna is a great presenter and super sweet and humble. She shared so many great ideas for working on phonemic awareness. I loved her idea of putting magnet counters down to segment words and then using a magnet wand to swipe the counters as the child blends the word together. She also shared ideas on how to build alphabetic fluency and how she has her her students help keep track of their fluency progress.
Session 3 - Good Morning, Students! Starting the Day with Positive Vibes with Kathleen Pederson
Kathleen did a wonderful job in her presentation! She shared how her class completes their morning routine. I loved that the students had "jobs" to do when they came in each day. Her chart she made was so cute! She also shared her favorite morning meeting ideas such as using cards with students' pictures and names to do a greeting. Such a great way to have students be able to greet their friends even before they can read!
Session 4 - Dice, Dominoes & Decks of Cards...It's Math Time with LeAnna Wolkis Goldstein
This was another great session from LeAnna! My pen didn't stop jotting down great game ideas during the whole session. A great tip that she gave was to cut the tips off of markers so that students can easily make dots when showing a math problem. She showed a ton of games to play with dice, dominoes, and cards. I can't wait to teach my students some of these wonderful games!
Wow! That was kind of long, but I hope you enjoyed my highlights from the first two days. I'll be back in a few days for Part 2!