First day

Well, it’s cold and dry. It snowed in the foothills last evening, and I did see a person or two walking along with umbrellas, but have yet to feel any precipitation. (Knock on wood!)

Our presentation was this morning and it went very well. I had only a tiny part to do, although people did seem interested to hear about the NWP, and it meshed well with the rest. The presentation was about a digital storytelling project that Judy Rance-Roney and her writing project and non-writing project colleagues worked on together. I loved hearing about it, and wow, did they ever give good handouts! The room was packed and people were so receptive to it. Certainly the best thing I saw today.

After the presentation, I went to the Exhibitors Gallery and to see the poster sessions. In these sessions the presentors are given a 4’x8′ bulletin board on which to display their information. They stand next to it and answer questions for an hour and fifteen minutes, at which time they take it down again. At least I think they take it down – they definitely only stand there for the hour. While the poster sessions are up, people crowd around taking pictures and you can’t really see what the board is about very well for all the photographers. The presentations all sound so good…it is disappointing to just see the board and not get to really hear about it all. It’s kind of like a “not-yet-ready-for-primetime” presentation. I did one of these with a couple of colleagues about twelve years ago, and remember it being kind of a letdown. I was excited to be doing something at TESOL, but then it turned out to be not so much. It looked good, but we didn’t really get to talk about it. My feelings are mixed about these.

From there I went to a couple of sessions. One was a workshop about creating three-dimensional graphic organizers for pre-writing with adults. The genres of writing they had devised organizers for were descriptive, narrative, persuasive and research writing. I’ll take some photos of what I made and post them on here if I can figure out how. It was fun to make them, but I don’t really think I’d consider them all that useful. I have to think about it. The adult students apparently liked them, and they could certainly be used at any grade level, I think.

The next session was about a SIOP-based ESL program in El Paso, Texas. It sounded like it would be about how their ESL program is designed and scheduled, but the original presenter was unable to present and the Principal of the school filled in. She did well, but her focus was probably a little different from that of the original presenter. I was surprised to hear how much Texas (or that school, anyway) focuses on the state exam. I thought it was becoming extreme in California, but I think Texas has us beat. It’s kind of scary, actually. So much focus is placed on test scores today that a lot of important aspects of education which really can’t be measured by a test score are being neglected or undervalued, it seems like.

Enough for today. I have to begin working on tomorrow’s schedule. It is hard to choose what to do next – there are so many sessions to choose from.

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