Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wednesday Sessions

Today featured a full day of sessions, the banquet and some star/moon gazing in the evening. I started with some breakfast. Those of us here already know that we eat fairly constantly though this is not meant as a critique given the yummy-ness of our food. Anyway, by this time I think that those of us who hadn't attended before are fairly familiar with the group so we talked all through breakfast. A good thing about a conference this size is that you get to know some people and you run into the same folks over and again. So if you go to a great session you are able to see the presenter again and pick up on things or see other attendees again and do the same. I have a good number of people's e-mail addresses now too so that I can follow up with them about things.

The sessions I attended were great. I started with a session by Kate Nowak about blogging which was great. I learned about how I could get all of the blogs I want to follow on one page...that is, when you feel like it you go to google reader (there are others) and all the new posts to the blogs you follow are there for you to read, respond to and so forth. OK, this might not sound like a huge deal to some but imagine the time saved by doing this as opposed to going to each one individually to see what was new at each. We also learned about a site that saves your bookmarks (those webpages you really want to use over and again) onto the web so you can access them from any computer (not just your own). Anyway, it was some good stuff and the recommended teacher blogs had some exciting things in them as well.

I crashed the mini-course about linking ratios, decimals and percents by Ben Lindeman walking in about midway through after my first session. They were hysterical laughing as I came down the hall to the room...something about an elastic band and some knitting needles? By the time I got there we were graphing lines with slopes 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 and so on. Only instead of the x-axis and the y-axis we had the denominator on the horizontal axis and the numerator on the vertical one. Every time point on our 1/2 line when written as a fraction instead of a point was equivalent to 1/2. Is this confusing yet? It's rather clear when one is doing it. We then could find common denominators and so forth. There were other activities all aimed at showing the relationship between ratios, percents and decimals and the neat thing is that none required very expensive or elaborate items to set them up and be able to use them :)

Last session was post is already VERY long, huh? Let me just say that Kim and John presented numerous games reminding us that learning when one is having fun is much easier than when one isn't. The games and activities were simple enough to put together and adaptable to various age groups. We played a bit, laughed a lot (thanks to Sue and Donna mostly for that), and walked away with many very useful activities (at least I did!)

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