MISSOURI EARLY LEARNING CONFERENCE
Early childhood and primary educators from across the state gathered at Tan-tar-a on November 1st and 2nd for the 2012 Missouri Early Learning Conference. The conference, co-sponsored by Missouri State Council of the IRA (MSC-IRA), featured such well-known speakers as Susan Zimmermann, Matt Glover, Debbie Diller, Jerry Pallotta, Brod Bagert, and Jill Molli.
Susan Zimmermann, co-author of Mosaic of Thought and 7 Keys to Comprehension, opened the conference with a keynote address on Thursday. This keynote, entitled "The Joy of Reading," emphasized ways to engage young learners and teach them to be passionate about reading. Zimmermann then shared strategies for reading comprehension in several breakout sessions, highlighting the significance of modeling each of the seven key comprehension strategies: using schema, visualizing, inferring, questioning, summarizing, determining, importance, and monitoring.
Matt Glover switched the focus from reading to writing on the second day of the conference with his keynote speech, "Nurturing Young Writers." In his discussion of writing in the primary grades, Glover outlined methods for making the youngest learners excited about writing independently in Writer's Workshop. Through video clips and writing samples, Glover engaged, entertained and enlightened the audience with examples of proficient young writers who are passionate about writing.
Another highlight of this year's conference was two author luncheons sponsored by MSC-IRA. On Thursday, Jerry Pallotta, author of nonfiction children's books, presented strategies for getting students to read and write nonfiction in his session entitled "Writing a Tidal Wave." Friday's luncheon featured children's poet Brod Bagert, who shared ideas for getting kids excited about poetry in "The Poetry Revolution and the Classroom Teacher."
St. Louis Suburban IRA was represented at the Missouri Early Learning Conference with break-out sessions led by two of our board members. Dr. Betty Porter Walls, President 2010-11, shared strategies for integrating math and literacy. Sarah Valter, current President-Elect, spoke about content-area literacy. Other break-out sessions during the conference featured topics such as math and literacy stations, the Common Core State Standards, science, classroom management, and the social-emotional development of young learners.
The 2012 Missouri Early Learning Conference provided a wealth of new knowledge for primary and early childhood teachers in Missouri. Make sure to look for information this summer for the 2013 conference!