Grading Contract, 99-00, Sem. 1, Education Minnesota Conference Report, Oct. 99 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Donna Frederickson, Int'l Falls Cohort - Grading Contract Fall Semester, 1999-2000 > > Education Minnesota Conference, A Professional Conference for Educators October 21-22, 1999, Rivercentre, St. Paul, MN > > > I enjoy attending this conference. It is encouraging to hear great keynote speakers, tour the exhibitors to see new gadgets, and attend the smaller sessions. The conference gives educators a shot in the arm and builds awareness of aids and resources for the classroom. I will give a short synopsis of the sessions that I attended that were helpful to me. > People and Cultures: Bringing Them to Life in Your Classroom > I wanted to attend this session because I feel that we are not as culturally diverse as we should be living in remote northern Minnesota and learn of more resources for available to contact and learn more. Jenny Winkler, coordinator for K-12 schools put on the session, MnLINK Project (www. I was not aware that there was a service in Minnesota whose purpose is to connect schools or organizations with representatives from other cultures who may visit a school, suggest programs, lesson plans and activities, and provide background on cultural, historical and religious characteristics. She provided sheets as to the process for bringing someone into the classroom, expenses and teacher training. She also gave us other areas to contact, such as the Minnesota Ethnic Resources Directory and the Peace Corps Speaker Bureau, travel bureaus, embassies, internet, National Geographic, foreign students, Encompass, teacher exchange programs, and multicultural artists. > General Session: Education Minnesota Co-Presidents Sandra Peterson and Judy Schaubach, The 1999 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, and keynote speaker, Linda Ellerbee > Before the speaker, Linda Ellerbee, of the main keynote session was introduced Judy Schaubach and Sandra Peterson related the accomplishments and future focuses of Education Minnesota. Mae Schunk, Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, was introduced and it was a pleasure to see her there and learn that she was attending some of the sessions to observe the conference and listen to teacher comments. Then, Peterson and Schaubach introduced the new teacher of the year, Brett Smith, an instrumental and elementary music teacher. He credited his past good and encouraging teachers for being considered a good teacher. When Linda Ellerbee took the podium, it was interesting to note that she said the same thing. It was a good teacher that she had growing up who gave her the faith in her English and journalism abilities and inspired her that she could make her mark in the world and market her abilities. Linda Ellerbee has had many mountains to climb. Her greatest challenge was surviving breast cancer. She was the free child of the 60's, married, had children and then her husband left her and she had to make it on her own. She remembered that a teacher said she was a good writer, so she wrote letters to all news services that she could think of and got hired by one. Thus, began her career in news, radio and television. Now, she has a production company called Lucky Duck Productions and they have a contract with the Nickelodeon television channel to present news in an appropriate yet informative format. She wanted to have her own production company because she feels that television is too powerful and influential. She challenges each parent to advocate his or her parental right: that each parent has the right to control what his or her children watch. She is a writer of several books, lectures, works for breast cancer awareness and is a mom. In her message, she gave several what she called "survival tips" for teachers. "In order to survive change, one must make change." Her "tips" were: 1. If you believe with all of your heart you are right, then pursue it. 2. The best things in life are not things. 3. The rule of every citizen is to keep your mouth open. 4. If you don't want to grow old, don't mellow. 5. A great teacher is a gift. Encourage and acknowledge. Give hope and reality and present both sides to choices. 6. The time to laugh is any time you can! - She added not to take yourself too seriously and related a story about this to close her talk. She had been invited back to her hometown to give a speech at an all class reunion. She asked if it could be arranged that she meet with her influential high school English teacher. Here Ellerbee had been on TV, on the news and written for 20 years and her old English teacher said to her, "I always wondered what had happened to you." So, laugh and don't take yourself too seriously! > "A Hope in the Unseen": a book by Ron Suskind > Ron Suskind is an author, journalist, a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal and winner of a Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing. He won the prize for writing about the high school years of Cedric Jennings, an honor student from an inner, crime infested school in Washington, DC and his trials, frustrations and challenges on his road to gain acceptance to a major university, Brown. Ron was on assignment for a Washington paper to interview a student in the inner school and write a series about him or her. He was to find a conflict and a question as to whether the student will make it out of the inner city or not. He interviewed several students and did not find anyone with a story to challenge him enough to write a series. While in the school office, a student comes charging in complaining about being hustled for his homework and threatened. Here was Cedric Jennings and Ron's story. Suskind tells of how he wrote the series, but felt that it had to be taken farther, so he writes a book on Cedric. Cedric was black, mother on welfare, had daily challenges to stay alive and not on drugs, and was brilliant. Suskind's wants his writing to be a search for truth and awareness of discrimination. While writing the series and book, Suskind was attacked verbally for not knowing what discrimination was, his reply was that yes, a 5'7" Jewish boy does know about discrimination. While growing up, Suskind's school days were difficult because he was Jewish and too short and small for sports, but he found out he could write and writing becomes his escape. Suskind is also a great speaker because he talks as if he is writing. His use of adjectives and similes is fascinating. He left us with some great thoughts: "We must see others as one to one.", "Be continually challenged to investigate.", and "Tell a student that what they think is important." > The Education Minnesota Conference has so many sessions for teachers. Some school districts are there hoping to attract new teachers and that is good for the many college age prospective teachers attending the conference and those interested in relocation. Some of the sessions this year were on Grad Rule, retirement, new teacher support, technology, grant writing, community involvement, safe schools, critical thinking, academic booster clubs, developing student responsibility, censorship and policies, Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, motivation, tax laws, finance, counseling, teacher stress, immigration and ESL, and several others. This year the conference also had some Friday specialized sessions.

-- Anonymous, January 19, 2000

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