The Art of Teaching Literacy Asia Conference

So, the conference this weekend was pretty great.  I came away having some things reconfirmed, but also questioning some things.  Isn’t that what learning is all about?

Matt Glover and Katherine Bomer were both excellent, passionate presenters.  Matt has me thinking about the place of illustration in the writing workshop.  How much is enough?  How much is too much?  I think we probably need more of it in our workshops at TAS, however, I’d hate to see the overall volume of writing decline as a result.

Matt also talked in different sessions about all the possibilities for units of study that exist beyond units we are covering.  Some of his ideas got me excited!  I think now that we have a solid foundation for understanding the ins and outs of writers workshop, we could expand the ways in which we use the workshop structure to deliver different content, perhaps engaging some of our less engaged students along the way.

I think the best part of the conference was actually spending time talking about literacy outside of the context of our school walls.  At lunch on Sunday, I had the best conversation with a grade 1 teacher, two grade 3 teachers, a grade 4 teacher and a grade 5 teacher… all about writing workshop.  It’s really pretty amazing how similar the challenges, structures, and opporunities are across the grades.  Because we have a common understanding of the principles that underlay workshop instruction:  transferable strategies, teaching for independence, student choice, etc…, we are able to have rich conversations that span grades and even span subjects.  It’s all about what makes for good teaching!

Thanks to all the colleagues who gave up part of their holiday weekend to continue the conversation about literacy.  We are lucky to be part of a community that is committed to and excited about using best practice in our classrooms.

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