This marks the end of my dispatches from the 2011 IL ASCD Kindergarten Conference at the Renaissance Hotel in Schaumburg, IL. I think its safe to say the conference was a success and there were many happy customers. In fact, there were more attendees on day two of the conference than day one. The afternoon of day two saw more great presenters and some who seemed to never stop presenting with a plethora of different topics to discuss.
Judy Kmak was the first presenter caught during the afternoon and she presented “From Research to Reality.” Kmak examined the effectiveness of different reading strategies for different grade levels and different schools settings. She said to improve student literacy, “get parents involved in working with their child.” Truer words were not spoken at the entire conference; that was also a running theme through many of the presentations I sat in on. As a colleague of mine says, parental un-involvement is Superman’s kryptonite. So as Kmak lobbied for parental involvement, she campaigned for the use of doing read aloud exercises at libraries during summer months when students are out of school.
Cyd Moore was next up, and she presented “Creative Thinking, Story, and Art” which relayed the importance of creativity as it relates to reading and story telling. Moore’s presentation was just as much about her wonderful artwork as it was story telling though, and her artwork was the standout. She talked about how she developed her craft through years of practice, which is what young students need as they develop literacy and critical thinking skills.
Following with the theme of fun in the classroom was Karen Graber with her upbeat presentation, “It’s Not Just Another Day in Our Classroom! Using Special Days to Reinforce Math and Language.” Graber told attendees of her “wacky clothes” day that she uses as a tool to boost literacy and phonemic awareness. Students will have themed days to wear wacky clothes, for example: zipper day, and they will focus on pronouncing the first letter of the name of the day, identify its function, and sing a song about it, all while increasing their phonemic awareness of the letter.
The 2011 IL ASCD Kindergarten Conference was a success, and the group is looking forward to being back at the Renaissance Hotel for next year. Executive Director Bills Dodds invites anyone interested in presenting to go the IL ASCD Web site and submit a proposal for next year.
Signing off for now and looking forward to next year; well done to all who put the event together.