Parent Report: Teachers College Workshop

Once again this year, our teachers are participating in the Professional Development program at Teachers College, the graduate school of education at Columbia University. A workshop entitled “A Day for Families: Supporting a Child’s Literacy Development Takes All of Us” was held in October, and in addition to our teachers, a limited number of parents were invited to attend. Second grade parent Alison Yi kindly shares her notes.

This was a wonderful opportunity. It was great to be able to spend half a day thinking about how to support your child’s development of literacy skills.

I attended three sessions, all structured around important themes but also full of practical advice. The first session began with establishing structure to a narrative and then techniques for elaboration and development of the story. I was intrigued by suggestions on using acting, drama, sensory details, timelines, internal feelings and thoughts to deepen and bring meaning to a story. As a mother of a 7-year-old boy, I’m on the lookout for anything that will help him to give voice to his internal feelings and empathy for other’s experiences.

In the second session, we were presented with many useful ways to support early reading and writing. Sign-making, card-making, list-making, note-taking, letters, games and story telling … a long list. Some games like “Taboo” (a favorite in our family) were recommended for deepening vocabulary and mapping word relationships to concepts.

The third and final session dealt with enriching the reading experience itself to encourage growth and understanding in the developing reader. It covered everything from the what, when and how of the child’s reading to the bigger themes of how the child can use reading material to develop the ability to debate and think critically. At all levels of reading ability, asking the same questions of a reader leads to viewing material through many different lenses as they grow. It made me realize how parents and the family culture play such a critical part in helping children to use their reading to expand their world experience and also to participate fully in the world around them as they grow.

Thanks to Jenny and the staff for continuing to support the Teacher’s College literacy program in the school. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to attend the workshop.

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Teachers College is one of the many beneficial initiatives funded by your PTA. Please help the continuation of these and similar programs by contributing to the Direct Appeal.

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Love Your Child’s Teacher?

Then nominate him or her for a Big Apple Award!

The awards, administered by the NYC Department of Education, recognize teachers who “inspire students, model great teaching, and enrich their school communities.” Nominees must be current, full-time teachers, and anyone – students, parents, teachers, administrators, or community members – may submit a nomination.

Following the nomination process, 1,000 nominees will be invited to submit an application. These will be narrowed down to up to 250 applicants, who will be invited to participate in an interview and who will receive a classroom visit. Finally, a Board of Judges will recommend up to 15 final recipients to be approved by the Chancellor. Recipients will receive classroom grants, will be recognized at the Big Apple Awards ceremony in June 2016, and will serve on the Chancellor’s Teacher Advisory Group.

Nominations are due on January 18, 2016 and may be submitted here. And here is a look at last year’s award recipients.