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’09 TAGT: Educator Perspective by Kim Wootton

December 10, 2009

Comments by Kim Wootton, at New Tech High

1. The whole conference was outstanding, but my highlights are as follows:

a. Jan Davidson: General Session
This was a nice way to kick-off the weekend and a wonderful teaser for the inspiring and motivational information which followed in all the sessions.
b. Elfie Sanderson: “Differentiation and Web 2.0″
Ms. Sanderson’s Internet links weren’t working properly, but she did have some good sites to point us to. It would have been helpful to have been provided with a resource list.
c. Dr. James Webb: “Motivation and Underachievement” and “Stress, Perfectionism and Depression”
Dr. Webb is one of my favorite authorities on “what makes people tick.” I always attend his sessions at TAGT and learn from them each time. He is at once instructive, witty, and insightful. Because of him, I reflect on my learners’ underlying motives and understand them better.
d. Debbie Behling: “Making Social Studies Different”
I went to this session to get some ideas to use in my integrated social studies/English class. Wow! Although it was billed as a session for middle school, I came away with great ideas for my 9th graders and a few history lessons for myself, as well!
e. Curriculum Potpourri: What else can I say but “AMAZING!”
f. Stephanie Tolan: “Change Your Story” and “In Praise of Pollyana”
Since I’ve always referred to myself as a Pollyana, these two sessions really spoke to me. Further, since I heard Ms. Tolan’s talks, I’ve noticed that when I’ve started to have a negative thought, I’ve instead spoken to myself and said, “Change your story, Kim!” ^_^
g. The student exhibits were outstanding and provided great ideas.
h. The Exhibit Hall was, as usual, full of great booths with helpful vendors.

2. I have to refer back to Dr. Webb as providing me with the most helpful information that I can take back to use with my gifted pupils, as well as with all of my learners. The most profound thing I took was this: “Students are NOT unmotivated. They may not be motivated to do what I want, but they are NOT unmotivated.” Keeping that in mind will help me to understand the students and remember their human emotional needs which drive their willingness and ability to learn and produce in the classroom.

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