By Frank Wells
CTA members engaged in entertaining workshops during the Good Teaching Conference South in Anaheim.
On the same weekend as CTA's Pink Friday, over 1,200 educators gathered in Anaheim for CTA's Good Teaching Conference South. Many of the members attending the conference had just received pink slips, but were still motivated to improve their skills and share new ideas to take back to the classrooms.
Barbara Sihilling, Tustin Educators Association
Sihilling attended the double-length workshop "English Language Learners: Culture, Equity and Language - Practical Strategies Module for Closing the Achievement Gap" because she wants to explore ways to keep her students engaged. "We have a high percentage of English learners in my school, and I want to develop more strategies to give them access to the core curriculum and keep them motivated."
George Amaya, Hawthorne Elementary Teachers Association
"Sing-Along Science" gave Amaya some innovative ways to engage his fifth-graders with fun songs about the scientific process set to familiar tunes. "It's harder these days to find time to incorporate music. This will be a fun way to get students to participate more as they learn about science."
Heather Irwin, Orange Unified Education Association
Irwin attended "Literacy Comes Alive With Drama," where participants performed exercises designed to help students with content retention and speaking ability, among other skills. Irwin thought her kindergartners would take well to the techniques practiced in the session, as she already uses a lot of participatory activities with her students. "I learn better by doing and so do most students, which was what this workshop was all about."
Patsy Lockhart, New Haven Teachers Association
"Best on the Web for Your Students" offered an exploration of sites that students could use to enhance the curriculum. Lockhart has computers in her classroom, and her eighth-grade language arts, history and journalism students make frequent use of the Internet. "Of course, we all use sites like Google - but once you get past that, there is so much out there that it's good to hear about and share quality websites that can help our students."
James Staples, Coachella Valley Teachers Association
Staples attended "Teaching Creatively in a World of Standards" and was impressed by the ideas and activities discussed. "This workshop was really worthwhile. I teach kindergarten, and I'm always looking for ways to keep my kids actively engaged."
Melody Moran, Tustin Educators Association
Moran attended "How to Tickle Your Student's Funny Bone." Says Moran, "I use humor in my classroom already, because I find it helps keep my students interested and retain content. In this workshop I picked up some good ideas for writing prompts, which I'm definitely going to use in my second-grade class."