Monday, September 16, 2013

Summer Institute 2013: A Marathon of Learning

Shari Hales

Summer Institute 2013 was a marathon from start to finish! The teacher participants and facilitators all learned from one another and grew together in strides. Our summer’s journey began by discovering that inspiration can come from the most unlikely places, like a discarded shoe in the middle of a crossroad.

SI 2013 Icon

All of the participants gained momentum as the summer progressed. Maryann Dreske started the institute strong with an informative presentation about cross-curricular writing. Kevin English not only introduced many of us to Twitter, but also demonstrated the importance of having students use narrative to ground their argument writing. Erin Umpstead and Martina Vit engrossed us in writing activities, causing us to focus on the question: how do we reach all our students? Julie Harden sparked a great debate about validity in assessment of student writing.
SI 2013 Group Photo
Chelsea Lonsdale focused our attention in genre study and introduced many of us to the art of zines! If you want to talk about engaging students, talk to Rachel Talbert and Matt Tootalian; they not only gave us many practical tips for increasing students’ interest in reading and writing, but also generated our creativity and curiosity about activities like book passes and genres like graffiti. Diana Martin was thoroughly enchanting as she drew us all into the elementary mindset, kindling ideas about digital writing and collaboration that we could use in middle school, high school, and college. Rebekah Moeller and Amy Perry jumped bravely into their demonstrations about collaboration in digital writing, teaching us how to blog and use collaborative documents when we workshop; both mastered technology tools new to them for their demonstrations.
SI 2013 participants Chelsea Londsale and Amy Perry

Shannon McLeod spurred us to reflect on our teaching practices and reminded us that no matter how long we’ve been in this race, there is always room to grow and improve our teaching and writing. Our growth as writers, researchers, and presenters was obvious as the finish line of the institute loomed on the horizon.

With added encouragement from Cathy Fleischer and Kris Gedeon, we all learned (or remembered) that we each have a story to tell and our own inspiration to give.
SI 2013 Leadership Team

We pledged to use our OUTSIDE VOICES and take what we learned back to our schools: administrators, fellow teachers, parents, and students. Walking away from this leg of our marathon triumphant and energized to continue the journey, participants finished the institute looking forward to our continuity meetings and spreading the word about this life altering summer event.

No comments: