Monday, October 15, 2012

Learning & growing

Students are not the only ones who get to learn interesting new things! I feel very fortunate to work in a school where professional development for teachers is so strongly supported. In the past 10 days I've had exposure to a number of incredible, inspirational minds!

I got to spend the first weekend in October at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, the oldest town in Tennessee. Thousands of people from all over the US and abroad showed up to hear an incredible line-up of diverse storytellers sharing everything from traditional Lakota tales to memories of Okinawans who survived the second World War to family stories from rural 1950s North Carolina. Storytelling is a wonderful vehicle for instruction in the classroom - as well as being an activity that teaches students a variety of skills connected to those all-important executive function traits. I do storytelling with students regularly in addition to reading books, and in the upper elementary grades also give them opportunities to practice these skills themselves. Attending the festival gave me the chance to learn at the feet of masters and gain inspiration for my program here at OWS.

This past Friday was the PNAIS Fall Educators' Conference at Annie Wright School in Tacoma. It was a day packed with incredible speakers! I was especially impressed by Kathryn Schulz, who spoke about her book Being Wrong; Rob Evans, an entertaining and engaging speaker who talked about risk and resilience; and Ashley Merryman, whose writing I have enjoyed for some time and whose work always challenges me to reconsider my "obvious" assumptions.

I highly recommend all of the above authors! And if you are interested in storytelling, check out events sponsored by the Seattle Storytellers Guild, or do a keyword search of the public library catalog for "storytelling" with "book on CD" as your material type.

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