Wow! Tuesday felt long & education-filled (#LDAOrlando – Tuesday Roundup), but I was only there for a part of the day. Today felt exponentially longer, but I also feel like I learned even more. I’m grateful to all the speakers for their humor, their energy, and for the occasional prize :º)
Once again, I couldn’t be everywhere, naturally, and each presentation was so dense it warrants a post of its own. However, I will try to summarize the most “bang for your buck” parts. So without further ado, here is my *drum roll please*
#LDAOrlando – Wednesday Roundup
- Laura Rowden (from the H.E.L.P. Center at Marshall University) gave a wonderful session about explaining learning disabilities to kids. This is a topic I am passionate about because for too long psychologists and/or parents thought young children (i.e. elementary aged children) were too young to know about their diagnoses. However, this is harmful. They simply feel stupid, and all kids are interested in learning about their brains. Plus, knowing where their difficulties lie also comes with validating strengths. She provided a 4-step process for helping students understand their brains with the acronym “KEEP,” which stands for: Know, Explain Empower Plan.
“You can’t leverage a strength you don’t know you have”- Laura Rowden
She spoke about making a visual of a child’s strengths, needs, and likes with them to help them understand themselves. Positive role models (including ones from your community who are more “real” and who could potentially act as mentors) and books about individuals with ADHD/LD are also a useful part of a child’s understanding. Her presentation made me think of two other valuable resources: for more on strengths, check out Understood.org‘s strengths checklists or strength rope, and for more on mentorship, visit Eye to Eye (website, Twitter).
- Jill Haney from Saddleback Publishing led a session about hands-on reading comprehension strategies and these were great. First, she introduced us to Dr. Dooriddles, which were a great warm-up about puns/multiple meaning words. The reading comprehension strategies were very much in line with what’s in my book and my presentation tomorrow (which felt validating), but they were all no-tech (which may be necessary for some classrooms). She talked about teaching the process of reading, including explicitly teaching how to skim (look for answer about Who the book is about, Where the book is set, What is going on, Why you chose the book, and Why you want to keep reading). I liked the goal-directedness, the fact that it worked with fiction & non-fiction texts, and the focus on student choice was also excellent to see. Her during reading strategy was visualizing, so she read a short story (from the incredible Weighty Word Book) and we were asked to draw a picture with labels & a caption for each part of the story (which she strategically picked at 3 easy-to-visualize and crucial parts of the story). Finally, to summarize, she shared the 4-part Who-Wanted-But-So structure (which is very similar to the Somebody-Wanted-But-So-Then summary keychains I’ve shared). All in all, it was interactive, and very research-backed. I enjoyed it!
- Carol Cao spoke about using technology for global collaborations. Her work is predominantly with high school Science students, so not all of the content was relevant to me, but she was right to point out that the underlying frameworks and ideas that she shared could be used by all grades. She shared the pros and cons of international collaborations, then shared some resources for finding people to collaborate with, including Global Teacher Connect, Education Beyond Borders, and ePals, to name a few. She also encourages teachers to sign up to collaborate within the U.S. on her site at tinyurl.com/gcpartners.
- I gotta tell you; I almost didn’t stay until the 4pm sessions, but I’m glad I did because Jennifer Hasser of Kendore Learning did a very interactive session with games for teaching diverse skills– from phonological awareness and decoding skills, to higher level social studies content– anything that requires students to automate what they know. There were even toilet brushes and beach balls! All of her engaging materials can be found here under Multisensory Activities.
Looking forward to tomorrow’s short day & my presentation (yikes!).