For our opening moment, Brigid shared a lovely poem written by Billy Collins about a lanyard (and his mother). I had also planned to do a Billy Collins poem, Litany, as our closing moment, so we had a theme going, until something better came along.
Gigi kicked off the morning of Workshops by teaching us (and her students) how to "Show and not Tell" She gave us a variety of strategies to improve descriptive writing in fun and interesting ways. The first strategy used whiteboard kits and hilarious drawing. I will forever have visions of Sugar Plum Fairies falling on their heads. Kids (and teachers) compared their drawings of a simple scene and them their drawings of a more detailed, descriptive scene to learn to improve their own descriptions. Other examples included paragraphs that showed emotion without mentioning the emotion itself, and we got to try our hand at that ourselves.
Next up, Anne led a workshop on creating more interesting sentences, using a range of activities and resources. We re-crafted an article on the Mt. St. Helens explosion, counted and analyzed the lengths of our sentences, explored a room in our homes through writing, and then improved on our work using "mentor phrases" from New York Times articles. Phew, we learned a lot! Anne wrapped up the time by sharing her system of abbreviations and resource sheets that she uses to give feedback on student writing.
We had fun with Lucinda's workshop as she walked us through some of the playful activities in her classroom. We hunted for Easter Eggs, saw a new way to review material for a test, learned the benefits/drawbacks of not cheating, and had a good time in the process. We were introduced to blackboard Baseball, which sounds hilarious and messy and lots of fun. Possible classroom applications of Guess Who? and the Ungame were also discussed, and we came away with a fat packet of materials we could use on Monday morning!
We also were introduced to Haiku Deck as another option for a presentation software:
Over our break for Lunch/Writing Time, a number of us went to Sebago, where we enjoyed tasty food and beverages and talked about... well... teaching! Shocking, I know.
We went our separate ways to write, and when we gathered again, Patricia lead us through a low-key (and musically-themed!) discussion of Teaching the Neglected "R". We filled our dance card with partners for Salsa, Hip-Hop, 80's and Country music, and when each genre was played, we found that partner and compared/shared our impressions and take-always from the sections we had chosen to read. It was a neat way to negotiate the fact that we had all read different chapters of the same book.
For a closing moment, the aforementioned Billy Collins poem was set aside for an amusing (and
apropos) article found by Brigid. It was a list of photos/GIFs proclaiming, "You Know You're A Teacher When..." and included the shock and horror of running into a student at Victoria's Secret, friending by a student on Facebook, and most of all, the tragedy of returning to school the day after vacation.