Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Workshop with Kelly Gallagher

I spent two days this past week in a workshop with Kelly Gallagher. If you don't know who he is and you teach middle or high school language arts, you really need to read his books and if you get the chance, hear him speak. I have been teaching for 20+ years so you can imagine how many workshops I have been to and I have to say this was one of the BEST and most informative. I couldn't believe when 3:00 p.m. rolled around and he said it was time to leave. I felt like I could sit there and listen to him forever. He spent the first day talking about the importance of writing and using mentor texts. He also spoke of the importance of modeling for the students. He gave us a plethora of ideas to work from. He talked about how you don't have to grade everything they write, in fact, you don't even have to READ everything they write! He uses somewhat of a workshop type of organization, but a bit more structured. He stressed the importance of having students read and write EVERY DAY! Less us talking and more them working! I highly recommend: If you look on Amazon you can find them used for much cheaper than list price. These are 4 books that every middle and high school teacher should have in their library. I also met a lovely woman who teaches in a different district than I, and we exchanged lots of great book titles and she gave me some wonderful bulletin board ideas! We are both on Goodreads, so we will follow each other and we have exchanged email addresses too! It is always wonderful to find someone who has the same love of reading myself. I have another workshop in July through the Illinois Holocaust Museum. This is a week long workshop. Its topic is Genocide and Racism. I am really excited about this workshop because I already teach the Holocaust and now I will be adding this unit to be taught in conjunction with To Kill a Mockingbird which I will be teaching to my eighth grade LA class. I know this class and they are bright and motivated and I think they will do a great job with both the novel and the topic of genocide. In August I am attending an inquiry based reading 2 day workshop through the Great Books foundation. Anybody out there ever been to one of their workshops? I don't know much about it but I am hoping that it will be good. Then that will take me right to the start of school! No, we don't have any vacation plans. Last winter we went to St. Maartin over Christmas break and we loved it so much we decided to do another island vacation this coming Christmas break. It is so nice to get away from the cold Chicago winters in December!!!

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