Sunday, November 22, 2015

EC Conference 2015

This past Thursday and Friday I was fortunate enough to attend the NC EC Conference in Greensboro, NC.  I took away so much from this conference that I can't wait to take back into my classroom. 

The first class I went to was called Is it Dyslexia and How to Help If It Is!

This session was mainly about how to recognize signs of Dyslexia. The speaker, Brian Smith, shared his story of helping his daughter do her best in school with Dyslexia. 

Major takeaways from this session:

*Difficulties are often unexpected in relation to age and other cognitive/academic abilities
* This students often need to be directly taught before/after, up/down, left/right.
* Word retrieval is hard for these students, so don't call out a definition and expect them to be able to tell the word.
* When students are writing, teach them to not pick up the pencil when they write. They will tend to write backwards if they do.
* Allow these students to read aloud to self.

My next session was entitled "What Children Need to Succeed: Building Self-Esteem from the Inside Out." The presenter, Mark Anthony Garrett, did a wonderful job sharing ways to encourage students to succeed.

 Some quotes I remember were "You can't teach them until you reach them. You can't grow them until you know them.", "Every child, every chance, everyday."  and "When the purpose is greater than the adversity, great change comes."

He gave me an idea I plan to implement starting tomorrow.  I am going to start each day saying a positive to each of my students and give them a chance to compliment each other.

My last session on Thursday was "PBIS- Tracking and Support Student Behavior."  I currently teach in a school who implements PBIS so it was neat to hear fresh ideas from another PBIS school. 

One new idea I heard was to have teachers give students points for negative behavior.  They also have the chance to get rid of the point throughout the day.  If at the end of the day they have points, they go onto a google doc.  If a student gets to 10 points then they stay after school for an hour for homework club.

The school also implemented success celebrations often which included things like a paper snowball fight in the gym.  They had every 5th grader read, pack up or help organize younger students.  The school also heavily implemented check in, check out, as a Tier 3 intervention. They even rewarded students who were doing well with CICO at the end of the week with things like 30 minutes of gym time, 30 minutes in the computer lab, eating lunch with a staff member or being an office helper.

On Friday, my first session was "From STEM and STEAM to STREAM: Content areas reading instruction."  This session was wonderful for giving me advice on how to teach reading within the content areas.  I took a lot of notes on this one to share.

A lesson format was suggested for a 60 minute content area block. 
5-15 minutes of decoding instruction with content area words
10-15 minutes of vocabulary instruction with content area words
30-45 minutes of content area reading with an embedded reading comprehension strategy and discussion

I was introduced to the acronym CLOVER for teaching syllable skills. I found this great poster you can print for free on Pinterest to help students understand syllable types.
6 Syllable Types {FREE} ~ a great chart for struggling readers to refer to when reading or spelling!:

The suggested order for teaching them are Closed, Open, VCE, Vowel team, R-controlled, Consonant-le.

Another acronym given was called BEST. This helps students to divide syllables to read larger words.  It stands for Break it apart, Examine the base word, Say each part and Try the whole word.

The last session I went to was probably my favorite. It was about building social skills.  Some take away ideas were to have a social skills fair, where students teach adults the skills they have learned.  The school that presented did weekly social skills groups with many staff members.  They gave me lots of ideas on lessons that I plan to use soon. Below is a picture of the books they recommended for teaching social skills.