This afternoon, three teachers I know from Twitter and the English Companion Ning had a virtual chat to help Karen test out Adobe Connect Pro. There was some initial awkwardness and lots of laughs as we tried to figure out how not to sound like intergalactic aliens (a result of feedback into our mikes from our speakers). Karen had a headset and Teresa, Jen, and I now have one on our wish lists.
Once we got the audio situation mostly figured out the conversation began in earnest. We talked for over 2 hours and covered a range of topics. We also watched a VoiceThread Karen created to show it to a member of her department and to share some of her ideas about education. The conversation turned to high stakes testing. Jen and Teresa impressed me with their ability to create an atmosphere and lessons that engage students even while shouldering the pressure of being told that improvement must be made in student test scores.
Kids close your ears for this last bit- We all agreed that we secretly delight in students stealing books from our classroom libraries. Jen shared that creating a reading culture at her first school was actually easier because books were such a rarity. Words soon got out that she had them (many purchased with her own funds) and soon students were knocking down her doors for Great Expectations and The Scarlet Letter.
It was such a privilege to get to chat with these amazing teachers. I’m even more excited about attending and presenting at the NCTE Convention in Philadelphia in November now that I know they will be there. Thanks for the laughs and the great conversation, ladies!