Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 6th annual Celebration of Teaching & Learning in New York City. There were over 150 exhibits to explore and many workshops to attend. Some of the world's best thinkers and practitioners spoke, and educators joined together to gather ideas and resources to use in their classrooms. It was an incredible experience, and I truly wish I could have taken you all there with me!
Check out the wonderful organizations, incredible speakers, cool sites, and innovative resources that stood out on this very busy day.
Highlights From the Celebration of Teaching and Learning
Dr. Mehmet Oz
During the conference, I was fortunate to attend a presentation by Dr. Oz. It was inspiring to watch him speak with such energy and passion. He encouraged teachers to make learning fun, kick bad habits, and live healthy lives. I'd love to share a few of his tips on healthy living.
Adjustments YOU Can Make to YOUR Life
Waist vs. Weight
Do you want to lower your risk of health complications? Take your height in inches and divide that number by two. That will give you your ideal waist size for staying healthy. (Go ahead and grab your measuring tape!) This formula works for women, men, and children. Now, take a look around you. . . . Are you at risk? Your students? It is so important that we encourage our students to eliminate some of the junk food and cola from their diets and get them to participate in physical activities. Maybe we can make some improvements in our diets and lifestyles along with them?
Dr. Oz is so passionate about healthy living that he founded an organization to "reintroduce health and physical education into the core curriculum of the American education system." If you teach high school students or know someone who does, I encourage you to check out HealthCorps.
Let’s face it, if we do our best to eat right and take better care of ourselves, we'll have more energy, feel better, and be better teachers. The same goes for our students. Healthy readers and writers will have lots of energy and get the most out of their learning.
Fortunately Dr. Oz's presentation is available as a Webcast. It's about an hour long, but I encourage you to make time to watch it. It's smart, it's inspiring, and it will make you feel proud to be part of the teaching profession.
The Teaching Channel
I was really blown away by a presentation that took place right before Dr. Oz took the stage. Andrew Bethell introduced us to the Teaching Channel, a unique resource for teachers that's officially launching in September 2011.
The Teaching Channel was inspired by Teachers TV, an incredible 24-hour-a-day digital television channel from the UK. You can explore the many resources they've made available to teachers online.
The Teaching Channel will offer videotaped lessons of great classrooms in action. They already have hundreds of high-quality videos about teaching and learning filmed in schools throughout the U.S. The site will include lesson ideas, time-saving tricks and tips, advice on managing classroom behavior, and help with the new Common Core Standards. You'll be able to access it on TV and on the Web, as well as on YouTube and Facebook. (Dr. Oz also talks about the Teaching Channel in his Webcast.)
The Jewish Museum
The image of Peter in a scene from The Snowy Day stopped me in my tracks as I approached the Jewish Museum's booth: the museum was promoting an exhibit on the art of Ezra Jack Keats that will be up in September 2011. What a great connection to the literature we use in our classrooms.
You don't have to live in New York to enjoy the museum's resources. Check out their online resources for teachers, which include information on topics such as immigration, Curious George, the Holocaust, and more.
In addition, students can enter the "Kid Zone" to create works of art, play online games, and learn about the exhibits featured in the museum.
They offer guided tours, student workshops, teacher workshops, overnight visits, themed dining (yum!), special performances, and vacation programs for students, held during school breaks and the summer.
I hope that these resources will inspire you to check out museums in your area to see what they offer educators, students, and parents.
This booth had quite a buzz. As I walked over to their poster advertising free educational resources, I understood why. Thinkfinity is an amazing "digital learning platform" that offers resources and professional development opportunities for teachers who want to enhance their lessons on literacy, the arts, math, social studies, and science.
Thinkfinity focuses on getting students to become critical thinkers, problem solvers, communicators, and collaborators while encouraging creativity and innovation.
On their site you'll find plenty of resources to get you started. There is SO much to explore here, from interactive story mapping lessons to lessons on how to create board games based on books your students have read. Have fun checking out all that Thinkfinity has to offer.
One More Story
I had the chance to revisit One More Story's booth and thank them for providing us with a great resource for online read-alouds. The students and teachers at my school love using this site. As titles are added to their bookshelves, we gain new classroom favorites.
Check out my post "Online Read-Aloud Library" to learn more about One More Story and how to use online read-alouds in your classroom.
Idea Paint is a pretty interesting product. This special paint can be applied to surfaces in your classroom, turning them into dry-erase boards. For example, imagine turning your students' desks into permanent dry-erase boards. Instead of having lots of scrap paper around, kids could work out problems or test out the spellings of new words on their desks and simply wipe them off when they are done.
Pretty cool, right? Check out their Web site to find out more.
HEART: Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers
If you’ve been following my blog this year, you probably know that in addition to teaching literacy skills, it's important for me to teach kids about giving back to others and making a difference.
When I approached HEART's exhibit and found out that their mission is to foster compassion and respect for people, animals, and the environment by educating students and teachers in humane education, I knew I needed to hear more!
You'll find links that will allow your students to "Shadow a Swan" as it lives its life on a pond, trek through the rain forest in interactive WebQuests, and access EarthCams for Kids. You'll also find resources to help you plan for character education, including a list of bullying resources.
I’ve just scratched the surface of a resource that seems endless. Have fun exploring their site and tell me about the projects that touch YOUR heart!
Attend a Conference Near You!
Are you ready to get out there and gather some resources for yourself? Find out about events happening near you and invite a teacher friend to come along. This was the second year that Ms. Kim Kissag and I attended the Celebration of Teaching and Learning. Check out who we bumped into this time around! No, unfortunately, that's not the real Johnny Depp. It's just the wax figure at the Madame Tussauds exhibit. But hey, you never know who you might meet!
I had such a great time learning about new products, organizations, and Web sites that will help me to become a better teacher. If you have the opportunity, attend a workshop or educational conference near you. You'll be inspired by the energy and by the endless list of resources for educators.
Is there an educational event or conference coming up that teachers should know about? Or one we shouldn't miss the next time around? Spread the word!