Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What I learned at my Conference..

Dear Dialog,

I was probably one of a few who signed up at my conference to receive 500-level graduate credit for attending the conference. Now just because I attended the conference, doesn't mean that I got the credit that easily...  

Just like I tell my students... "Having your butt in a seat does not earn you a grade, the work that you do, does."  

The same applies to me here. I have four assignments I have to complete by November 3rd with an 85% or better on all four assignments to receive a passing grade. This is only for one quarter credit too!

I completed and submitted my first assignment last night. My assignment was to state what each of my workshops were about and what I learned from each. 

The first workshop I attended was called "Empowering Students Through Action Research and Storytelling to Transform Classroom Culture" This particular workshop, I was not fond of. In this workshop, I felt, based on the description, that we were to learn about how to Action Research and Story Telling in our classrooms and how that would change the dynamics of a teacher oriented classroom to a student orientated classroom.  I felt like the presenter was not prepared and used this workshop to get feedback towards her Master’s thesis rather than how to use Action Research and Storytelling within the classroom.

The second workshop I attended was called "Contemporary Issues that Inspire Historical Fiction".
I found this workshop to be very informational. This workshop demonstrated how to turn characters in real life stories, whom you may not have any information about, and create a back story to them. In this particular session, we read the transcripts of an NPR session about tomato farmers in Florida. This story dealt with illegal immigrants and the hardships that they face on the fields.

The assignment for this workshop included first writing a short story about an experience you had with a tomato. The leaders of the workshop then played for us the transcript from the NPR session. After that, we discussed the audio clip and had the assignment to write a story about one of the characters involved in the clip. For my assignment, I wrote about a young girl named Esmeralda who was taken by a coyote and forced to become a domestic servant for a local family in Florida.

The third workshop I attended was called “Minds Matter: Case Studies in College Counseling for Low-Income and Underrepresented Students”. In this workshop, I learned about the Minds Matter Program and how it has been an asset to low income and underrepresented students in the Portland Area. In this class, I learned several different methods in how to help students identify what they want to study and where they might want to go in college. I was also given information regarding different schools who specifically gear programs towards first generation and low income students. Schools like that of Western Oregon University or Southern Oregon University.

Some of the questions I learned to ask are:
  • What are areas you might want to study?
  • Do you want to be in state or out of state for college?
  • What are your study habits like?
  • What are some strengths and areas that might need to be improved upon?
  • What is the cultural diversity you are comfortable with?
  • What is the educational background of your parents?
  • Are you willing to talk about family struggles in college essays?
    • Reveal single parent, homelessness, teen parents, talk about school struggles, jobs while working and going to school?
  • Should we look at no-loan schools?
While there are always going to be pros and cons about any conference and any workshops that you attend, there is always a learning experience. I feel that I learned a lot in this conference and I am glad that I went. I hope to attend this conference next year.

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