Convention Center 2011

Welcome to the convention center! This is where you’ll come to find the presentations for the Virtual Conference this July.

Please, participate in the conference. All you have to do is respond to the prompt on your own blog and fill out this form to let us know. Teachers, administrators, students, and parents are welcome to join in and present. If you don’t have a blog yet, consider starting one!

We’ve gotten things started here with four eight keynote speakers. You can take their posts as inspiration during a particular week… or not! You do not need to pre-register, although I do of course recommend subscribing!

The Program

Week 1: July 2 – July 8
July 2 Arne Duncan “Finding Our True Center” on The center of a classroom is not a test, a textbook, or the posters on the wall. It’s not a state or district policy, and it most certainly is not a federal law…Programs don’t change people, relationships do.
Michal Eynon-Lynch “Student Scmoodents – Let’s Talk About Stuff That Matters” on While students are undoubtedly a central and important part of the classroom, are our student-centered classrooms putting the focus in the wrong place?
f(t) “Mistakes are Made” on f(t) How I deliberately, non-threateningly, bring student mistakes front and center. Two specific strategies for getting erroneous thinking out in the open.
Jason Buell “I betcha think this post is about you” on Always Formative It’s not about you. It’s about me.
Sameer Shah “Virtual Conference on Core Values: The Heart of my Classroom” on Continuous Everywhere but Differentiable Nowhere” The heart of my classroom is trying to get kids who see math as impossible to see math as possible. It’s about pulling them away from thinking “I’m not a math person” pushing them towards “I can be a math person.” I am not a success at this, but merely by being conscious of it, I am already making long strides.
Chris Ludwig “An Open Letter to My Colleagues” on Science Education on the Edge If we say we want to create a student-centered learning community, we must consider the greater school-wide environment in which our classes operate. The reform efforts of any one teacher pale in comparison to the changes that can be made if everyone, staff, administration, and student body, work together to change how learning takes place. In this post, I argue that the next step in the evolution of our school as a learning community is to ditch the traditional bell schedule and instead implement an “open door” schedule and learning practices.
July 6 Jose Vilson “How “I Don’t Get It” Is The First Step Towards Mastery” on The Jose Vilson It’s specifically about a math teacher who, upon realizing that learning wasn’t linear, was going to extract some thoughtful responses from his students about the math they were learning in the classroom. That, my friends, is the basis for my speech today. If we continue to perpetuate the myth that learning somehow comes from one test given in two hours, then we’re cheating ourselves of too many opportunities.
David Cox “Treat ‘Em Like They’re My Own” on Questions? Teaching is like raising a child: We are preparing them to leave.
Scott “Assumptions” on I Taught My Dog to Whistle This post is about giving students who have previously failed a class the chance, and hopefully the attitude, to see that they can learn and do well.
David Coffey “Do You Trust Yourself?” on Delta Scape The central role of reflection and trust in teaching and learning.
John Golden “Centering” on Mathhombre How eventually I got to considering the conditions for learning, what they are and how they guide my teaching.
Bret Benesh “Comes a day you’re gonna have to decide whether it’s about you or about the work” on Solvable by Radicals Students should be given more autonomy than they are. Here are some small ways to give them more.
Week 2: July 9 – July 15
July 9 Shawn Cornally “Virtual Conference on Core Values: Suplexes For Everyone!” on ThinkThankThunk Values are prickly things, especially when challenged. But how else will you know what you actually care about?
Dan Goldner “Smart and Free” on Work in Pencil What’s at the center of my classroom? A bulls-eye.
July 13
Breedeen Murray “A Mathematics Manifesto” on The Space Between the Numbers Struggle & success. These are two sides of the same coin. Neither one has meaning without the other.
Week 3: July 16 – July 22
July 16 Scott McLeod Dangerously Irrelevant
gasstationwithoutpumps “Skills at the Center” on gasstationwithoutpumps “Student-centered” or “teacher-centered” misses the point. My classes are about developing skills.
July 20 Dina Strasser “In the Center of My Classroom” on The Line Sometimes, the center of your classroom– and your response to identifying it– will surprise the heck out of you.
Sophie Germain “VCCV: Belonging” on a brand new line Middle school is tragic, I am hoping to make it a little less so by giving students a place to belong.
Alvin A. Davis “Virtual Conference on Core Values” at Ed Out The Box Through student monitoring and expectations of academic success I explain how my classroom center and motivational goals keep me focused on the larger picture of providing a world-class education by preparing our students for competing in a global economy.
rhlyon “At the center of my classroom” on Study of Change This is my first blog post, the first of many and my introduction to the online world of math teachers. If you think I should change anything, let me know! I really appreciate the opportunity this conference has given me to debut. Thank you!
Week 4: July 23 – July 29
July 23 Holly Graff “The All-You-Can-Learn Buffet or How learning is a lot like eating your vegetables” on Unschool Days An unschooling mom explains how learning is just like eating your vegetables; it’s a matter of trust.
John Berray “The Throne of Balance” on Altering the Course The essence of what rules my classroom is my attempt at keeping it balanced. This balance is the result of choosing to make small adaptations to produce a thriving learning environment.
July 27 Frank Noschese “The Tower” on Action-Reaction How an ice-breaker activity becomes a symbol for success, failure,
risk-taking, and feedback throughout the school year.

The Prompt

What is at the center of your classroom? What ultimate goal or question motivates your work in education?

You’ll see articles with titles like…

  • It’s about relationships.
  • Challenges and successes leading a student-centered class.
  • Is there a place for teacher-centered classrooms?
  • Why I keep teaching even though it’s hard.
  • Leading a flipped classroom
  • How I made projects the keystone of my class
  • Giving meaningful feedback
  • Using computers to let students explore
  • The Matrix: Seeing the constructs for what they are; learning the rules so you can break them.

Some of these first set are more specific than others.  They all give glimpses of their authors’ basic pedagogy. That basic pedagogy is what this conference is about: the hearthstones of our classrooms.  Specific advice and experience is always helpful, and there’s also room here for philosophy and general values.

This summer’s conference will focus on the bigger questions of “What do we hold most important for our classes?” and “How can we better focus on that?”

Write your response and submit your post via THIS FORM

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