So last time I wrote about how I was attending seminars during RSCON3, a global e-conference educational event. All of the sessions I attended over the course of those three days were fantastic, however I want to especially take a moment to talk about two of them that really stood out in my mind.
The keynote speech on Day 2 by Prinicpal Salome Thomas-El, award winning educator and administrator, and author of two best selling books "I Choose To Stay" and "The Immortality of Influence" was phenomenally inspiring and encouraging. Best known as Principal El, his speech also titled the Immortality of Influence, focused on the importance of leadership, mentoring, parenting, and service to others. While I can not relay all of the brilliance of his speech here, (thank goodness the amazing presenters of this conference have recorded and are archiving all of the RSCON3 events, because this one most definitely needs to be shared) I can mention that one of the things he mentioned that really struck home for me was the idea that students can choose their behavior but not the consequences, and when speaking about diversity that the students must be able to see themselves when they look at some one else. What a beautiful sentiment, to encourage our students and each other to recognize the common thread that runs between all of us as humans and individuals. I am honored to have been one of the educators in that "room" with such a brilliant, well spoken, passionate man, and after a stunning speech he then spent an additional 20 minutes answering questions live from the audience of viewers across the globe, and continued to amaze us with his wit, humor, and honest humbleness. You can visit Principal El's website at http://principalel.com/ to learn more about this warrior for education, and if you get the chance, find his speech on the RSCON website and take the time to listen to his words, be inspired and share them with others.
The next seminar I want to mention was led by Elizabeth Peterson, 4th grade teacher from New Hampshire, strong advocate for arts integration, music lover, blogger from The Inspired Classroom, and all around phenomenal woman. I am lucky enough to have connected with Elizabeth as my mentor through Lisa Dabb's Teacher Mentoring Project. If you are a new teacher, I seriously suggest that you check out the site and take a look at the incredible resources she has provided us in the means of experienced, passionate teachers who are willing and ready to help guide us through our first years. I am very grateful to have connected with these amazing women in this way, and I think they deserve a huge round of applause for all that they do, along with the rest of the mentor teachers out there willing to help. On behalf of my fellow new teachers, we sincerely thank you.
So anyway... Elizabeth led a seminar on day three of RSCON3 on the parallels between Listening to Music and Reading. She spoke with elegance, enthusiasm, and such excitement on this topic, and her passion for both teaching and music and integrating them together in the classroom really came through and inspired all of us lucky enough to be in the room with her that day. While discussing her use of "listen alouds", visualization, and the "BME Rule" the parallels between reading and listening to music became very clear, with Elizabeth reminding us that "the more we listen the more we enjoy, the more we read the more we understand." We all came out of that seminar feeling energized and excited to try out her suggestions in our own classrooms, and shared their own ideas on ways to continue integrating music into the classroom. It was a lovely session filled with what felt like kindred spirits, and I made many wonderful twitter connections in that room.
Elizabeth wrote a book entitled Inspired by Listening which she calls a: "Complete Resource for classroom teachers and music teachers includes information, activities to advance students’ listening skills, ready-to-use lesson plans for both art and core curriculum based lessons, vocabulary usage, project ideas, reproducible worksheets, rubrics and a list of practical resources you can use to implement active listening strategies into your curriculum. Suggestions for teacher collaboration are provided to encourage integration of subject areas." and which I most definitely need to get a copy of!
So thank you Elizabeth for being such am amazing, inspiring influence, and for sharing your talents with the rest of us.
And thank you to the presenters of RSCON3 for organizing such an incredible event, and to all of the educators who led seminars and gave speeches. I am so proud to be a member of this community.
The archives from each seminar will be available at http://reformsymposium.com/ within a few weeks so keep checking back.