Some of you may know I went to the annual GCTE (Georgia Council of Teachers of English) convention this weekend. It was great, but the numbers were down — probably the economy. I know lots of the schools systems have probably told teachers they would not pay to send them to conventions this year. For instance, my children’s system is not paying for field trips this year, so it may be they are also not paying for conventions. I presented a session on Using Blogs and Wikis for Professional Development. I was at first disappointed that it was somewhat sparsely attended, but I think that was the norm. Several sessions I attended were like that. I had six folks, which I think is just about what I had at GISA. It makes sense that the folks who attended the Folger TSI except for Mike LoMonico, who was awesome moral support, didn’t come as I had presented some of the technologies I shared with them over the summer. Lots of my fellow TSI participants were there, and it was good to see them again. I was also grateful that my friend and colleague Rebecca came to my session, even though she didn’t have to because she works with me, and I was thrilled to finally meet Clix after working with her online for a couple of years. She also came to my session even though she already knew everything I was sharing (thanks!). Aside from my three friends, I had three other attendees, and I hope they found it interesting and learned something they can use. I do think the presentation went well. I used Keynote instead of PowerPoint, and I basically wrote down everything I wanted to say in my notes and created the presentation from that so I could avoid crowding my slides. I’m learning! Keynote has such beautiful templates!
I went to Mike LoMonico’s Folger presentation, and it was good as always. Julie Rucker and I covered some of the same ground, but our focuses (foci, if you want to be a pedant) were different, and it was good to meet her as well. I also attended Buffy Hamilton’s presentation on multigenre research projects, and I am most excited to try one. Multigenre research projects are something I had heard about but didn’t know much about, so I saw Buffy’s presentation as a great opportunity to learn more. She created a fabulous wiki to share her presentation. I found it so inspiring; I think I’ll work some more on the wiki I created for mine.
Aside from the wonderful presentations, the best part of GCTE was seeing everyone again. Gerald Boyd, who is our state Language Arts Coordinator, used to be the Language Arts Coordinator for Houston County when I worked in that system, and we had crossed paths on several occasions. It was also good to see Peg Graham again, who was not my professor when I went to UGA, but whom I knew through my own professor. Of course, all the Folger folks were fun to see again. I also got to meet Jim Cope, with whom I have exchanged e-mails and who really saved my rear-end when he loaned me a cable I didn’t realize I had forgotten to pack.
I had a great time, and I hope Rebecca did, too. I feel excited and energized!
Last week, I had one of my classes present their scenes from Taming of the Shrew. I have some great comic actors in my classroom. This coming week, another class will present scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I am looking forward to seeing these scenes as well. My ninth graders will begin preparing to present scenes from Romeo and Juliet, too. I am so excited to have finally figured this out. I have used some Folger stuff for years, but I shied away from performance because I just wasn’t sure how well it would help students learn the play. And yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds. After actually going through the process of performance and presentation myself, I learned how much it truly does help foster close reading, critical thinking, and enjoyment of the plays, and the light bulb finally went off. I will never teach a Shakespeare play in the future without incorporating some elements of performance.
Here is my GCTE presentation for those who are interested: