New York State English Council Conference: “Empowering our Students and Reclaiming our Passion for Teaching”

Albany, NY

Today Mac and I presented about how we transformed the curricular structure at our school from a very scaffolded, traditional ELA class into a deconstructed, student driven, modern and responsive workshop model. We presented on a lot of what we have posted here, our structures of group reading, independent reading, responsive lessons based on student work, 1-to-1 conferencing and small group instruction.

I have to admit that we were very nervous about presenting our work at such a large state-wide event, not knowing what to anticpate in terms of who our audience would be and how it would be recieved.

However, we did it!

AND… we also got a lot of great feedback as well as what type of follow-up the attendees would like. Samples of specific activities, such as teaching word parts, what our interventions look like, etc.

The great thing about our class (one of them, LOL 🙂 ) is that this does not just have to work or apply for ELLs. Although that is our specific focus, these strategies work for all students, including native English speakers. We were able to show how teachers can use this student-drive approach within their own classes in part or in whole, for all students, or for specific groups with specific intentions.

In addition to getting positive feedback from participants, we found out later in the day from new people we were meeting that they had actually heard about our workshop from others! It was so validating and exciting to experience all of this. We met so many amazing new people from all over the state and are excited to continue the conversation around how to provide students with the most high-quality and relevant education that we can. I highly recommend attending conferences such as these when you are able. Seeing others who are keep pushing themselves to evolve as educators and always do better, for themselves and therefore, for their students, is really inspiring!

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