|The Wonderful Co-presenter and Friend: Lisa Dabbs|
|I love the hearts of SF!|
|My Very Favorite Session!|
|Meeting My Fabulous PLN: Lisa, Karen, and Angela!|
I just returned from the ASCD11 preconference and conference in San Francisco and, I must say: my head is spinning! Not only did I have the privilege of presenting, Beyond the Classroom Walls, with my good friend, Lisa Dabbs, but I also got to meet, face to face, many of the educators in my PLN, personal learning network.
What were the most inspiring messages that I took back with me to my class today?
- Find the bright spots. Chip Heath, the keynote speaker, talked about how we need to find the "bright spots" in any challenging situation such as education and learn from them. Examining and re-examining problems won't lead us to change. We must seek out those who have managed to overcome obstacles and thrive, and then find out how they have blossomed despite hardship. We must also learn how to motivate others through "heart" and emotion, and help "shape the path" so that our analytical brains will accept and see the possibility. Read more here.
- Kids are always paying attention, to something but maybe (often?) not to us! Perhaps we haven't cultivated the "need to know" or "need to solve a problem" that we, as humans, all have. It's time that we captured the attention of our students through their brains; we must activate the amygdala through the senses, using novelty, curiosity, and signals that give the brain just the right level of stimulation. Dr. Judy Willis, in her wonderful session with Jay McTighe, showed us that students who were exposed to positive facial expressions on faces performed higher on cognitive/memory tasks than students exposed to angry facial exprssions. When stimulated positively, and not overstimulated through stress, the amygdala's connections to the frontal cortex can facilitate learning and executive functioning.
- Relationship is what facilitates the safe environment where kids can think critically and make powerful connections. Over and over, session after session, presenters talked about Carol Dweck's growth mindset, and how an environment that openly embraces and celebrates failure and effort facilitates the learning that leads to success and efficacy. I must say that relationships are also what helps strengthen us as educators. I connected with many of my wonderful online PLN members; it was like meeting old friends! Don't underestimate the synergy of passionate educators.