Sunday, March 8, 2009

Channel Thirteen Celebration of Teaching and Learning

Here it is, Sunday night, and the to-do list for school isn't getting any smaller. Two presentations, one for students and one for faculty, and a day of classes to plan. I spent Saturday in NYC at the Channel 13 Celebration of Teaching & Learning. What an inspiring group of speakers were at the conference!

Keynote: Temple Grandin, to talk about her autism and the best ways to teach and reach students with autism. "Teach to their strengths" instead of "pounding away at the deficits." Another great quote, "I am what I do more than what I feel." Dr. Grandin is an inspiration because of her achievements and also because she makes difficult topics more easily understood, in her writing and her oral presentations.

Closing speaker: Alan Alda. He's just filled with amusing anecdotes from his own life, his work, and from his new series on PBS that will air in the fall - "The Human Spark." The clips he brought were excellent; promises to be a terrific series. Think about this: What does make us human?

Some of the other sessions I attended were about Darwin (Olivia Judson) and Google Apps for Sharing Best Practices. The teachers and administrators from various NYC schools in the Empowerment program were very impressive. Their descriptions of collaborative work ought to have been heard by Congressional leaders and parents so they'd know how important the public school systems in this country really are.

Last, but not least, let me mention The Electric Company... The "new" Electric Company. My two children were raised by Children's Television Workshop and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Well, those TV shows definitely helped. Sesame Street, TEC and Mr. Rogers reinforced thinking skills, literacy skills, respect and good manners. I'm looking forward to hearing about the part TEC plays in my grandsons' lives!

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