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A professional organization providing services and events for English teachers

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The SMCTE Spring-Mini Conference
"All the Classroom's a Stage"

"Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater. "--James Anthony Froude

Join language arts teachers from throughout the region for a high-quality professional development experience offering classroom strategies and access to professional speakers in a refreshing, collegial setting. For no more than the cost of membership to SMCTE, you’ll have a choice of several different sessions on a variety of teaching topics. Also enjoy refreshments, door prizes, and more!

Patterson Hall
The University of Memphis
Saturday, April 17, 2010
8:30 - 12:30

Click here for a campus map (Patterson is in grid D-12)

Flex Hours and Professional Certificates Available


Mini-Conference Schedule

Registration, Coffee (8:30 - 9:00)

Opening Keynote Session and Awards (9:00-10:00)

Jennifer Henry, Assistant Director of Theatre Education, leads a hands-on workshop on making drama a little less intimidating in the literature classroom.

Following this presentation, we will award the Carolyn Phipps Master Teacher Award to two outstanding women: Shari Ray of St. Mary’s Episcopal School, and Chris Allen of Colonial Middle School.

Breakout Session 1 (10:00 – 10:40)

A. “Panel Discussion on Differentiated Learning”

Andrea Randolph and Karla Hankins, Cypress Middle School
Tammy Jones, University of Memphis
Jamie Scholik. Bartlett High School and Bolton High School

Even before the term “differentiated learning” became the hot, new catchphrase in education, good teachers have struggled to find ways of reaching all of their students, especially those whose learning styles strayed from the norm or those whose native language was not English. What those teachers learned, of course, was that the strategies that were particularly effective for “special” students worked well for the whole class. In short, good teaching is good teaching. Come hear four veteran teachers share their practical tips and strategies for meeting the needs of all students in our increasingly diverse classrooms.

B. “Teaching Literary Analysis with the Storybooks of Dr. Seuss”

Cathy Dice, University of Memphis

Using the works of Dr. Seuss in the classroom is certainly nothing new; after all, The Cat in the Hat was originally intended for use as a classroom textbook for beginning readers. However, Seuss’ relevance in the English classroom does not end after students leave primary grades, as his storybooks are infused with many layers of meaning, much of which is a direct reflection of the social and political views of Theodore Seuss Geisel. Cathy Dice presents an overview of how Seuss’ life and work can serve as fruitful sources of discussion in middle and high school classes, particularly for those teachers who like to incorporate history into the study of literature.

Breakout Session 2 (10:45 – 11:25)

A. Multi-level Grammatical Analyses for Daily Grammar Practice

Rob Wade, White Station Middle School

We all know that our students need regular practice with the fundamentals of grammar, but lifting grammar lessons beyond the level of simple textbook exercises can be challenging. Rob will present three effective exercises designed to help students learn grammar for its own sake AND apply it to their own writing: (1) multi-level sentential analyses, (2) the précis, and (3) the blurb. These exercises are most effective when integrated, contributing to a holistic approach to not only grammar, but reading comprehension and composition as well. Multi-level sentential analyses are designed to provide a routine practice opportunity for developing knowledge of grammar and sentence structure. The précis provides a research and note taking exercise, one which among other things is helpful for developing a thorough understanding of concepts (such as grammatical concepts). The blurb may be used as an expository exercise, providing students with opportunity to apply their knowledge of grammar and sentence structure and to develop confidence in composition.

B. “Whole Brain Teaching: One Teacher’s Experience”

Jerry Cunningham, Sherwood Middle School

Local author (No Coin for Charon), historian, and teacher Jerry Cunningham shares stories of his classroom successes with Whole Brain Teaching, a teaching strategy designed to challenge students to use all areas of their brains and to engage even the most reluctant students. If you attended the SMCTE New Teacher Symposium in October, you already know that Jerry is a fascinating storyteller whose devotion to the profession of teaching can fan the embers of even the most exhausted educators!

Closing Keynote Session (11:30-12:30)

Dan McCleary, Tennessee Shakespeare Company

Following this brief presentation, the conference will end just as it began—DRAMATICALLY! Dan McCleary of the Tennessee Shakespeare Company will join us once again to share his insights on bringing the Bard to the stage and to the classroom.

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