Report of Education Minnesota Conference, 10/15/98 for Grading Contract, DF : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

A Report on my attendance of the Education Minnesota Conference for part of my grading contract. The 1998 Education Minnesota Professional Conference, A Conference for Educators, Thursday, October 15, 1998, RiverCentre, St. Paul, Mn. 8:00 - Broken Promise: Restoring the Dream This session featured Don Shelby of WCCO-TV. He reported on a project researched by media (WCCO), and the Minneapolis Foundation. The project's purpose was to research young people and adult organizations in the community and obtain ideas of what total community responsibility means to them and what can be done to develop a responsible, total community. He reported that the youth feel that there are no adults who care or that they can depend on. The adults have closed themselves off from youth. He challenged the adults to name all of the children who live in their neighborhood. Mr. Shelby said it never used to be like that. Children of by gone days had been able to rely on a neighbor for help, friendship and confidence. And, adults knew the children by name and would monitor them in the yards, help them and take an interest in them. Now, we only have mistrust. He closed the session with showing us a 15 minute segment from the documentary WCCO aired and challenged all of us to meet with adult organizations and youth to discuss what can be done to develop the total, responsible community in our localities. 9:15 - Strategies for Motivating All Students The presenter for this session was Dr. Crystal Kuykendall and she was hosted by the Minnesota SEED Project. Dr. Kuykendall was a thrill to listen to and the room she was speaking in was packed with educators wanting to hear her charged delivery. Her message centered on the fact that if children do not believe, have lost their dream, they will not achieve. The child loses the imagination to create. Our society is becoming more diverse every day and the differences are not being allowed to mix. Some of her great statements were: "Human decay comes when there is no hope. We must be merchants of hope. If you're different, you're deficient. We're strong because we're different. Take a negative and turn it into a positive." She asked every educator in the room to come up with three positive adjectives to describe every student we teach and to not allow these two stumbling blocks to enter our classrooms: 1) prior academic achievement records, and 2) prior placement and labeling. Educators need to teach with CPR, commitment, persistence and resilience. Dr. Kuykendall is a fantastic speaker and I hope I get the opportunity to hear her again and read some of her books. 10:40 - General Session In the General Session we were given the opportunity to meet the two co-presidents of the newly formed union, Sandra Peterson and Judy Schaubach. They introduced the Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Ellen Delaney. They then introduced the star of this session, Henry Winkler. Henry Winkler, "the Fonz", was just as funny, engaging, cool, witty and charming as he was in "Happy Days". The only difference was that "The Fonz" was gray! His message centered on that he was a teacher's worst nightmare! He had a learning disability and wasn't aware of it until he was an adult. While working on "Happy Days", he narrated a documentary on learning disabilities and discovered that he fit the profile. Through humor, he approached serious problems. He feels that being a parent and a teacher are two of the hardest jobs. He asks that why in the greatest country of the world our children are the least respected. We need to use and teach considerate behavior to others and ourselves. Violence has changed our considerate behavior. We need to depend on the kindness of strangers and not fear them. The energy we put out, we will get back and it is as easy to be positive as it is to be negative. He closed with asking us to believe in three things: 1. Each of us and each of our students are unique and have unique qualities. 2. If we are good to ourselves, then we will be good to others. And, 3. Give back to society! The general session closed with Hubert Humphrey III speaking to us as the endorsed candidate for the Minnesota governor's race. Noon - Luncheon with Former Governor Ann Richards of Texas Ann Richards had been a teacher and said that it was the hardest job that she had ever had, and she had been the governor of Texas! The teachers in the audience thought that the governor's position would have been her hardest job. The thrust of her message was to get us to be aggressive about taking care of ourselves through exercise, proper eating, rest, relaxation, no smoking or alcohol use, preventative care and investigating our health insurance coverage before we need it. 12:30 - Learn and Live Your Community Schools and the George Lucas Educational Foundation hosted this session. Milton Chen, executive director of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, was the presenter. The focus of the session was to show teachers how students learn through visuals. Visuals, art and media, they believe, free children to be more creative. Handicapped children can learn better through technology. Students are so influences by film and they understand the process, so why not use media in an educational way. The Foundation promotes that through the use of technology, media and visuals, students, teachers, parents, community, other schools and colleges can interact for the betterment of education and the student.

I enjoy attending this conference. It is a shot in the arm after beginning the school year. After attending the sessions it is interesting and beneficial to walk through the exhibitors and see what is new and available for use in the classroom. Also, it is pleasant to visit with other educators. I am pleased that I was able to attend.

-- Anonymous, February 09, 1999

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