In the fall of 2006 the Cotsen Foundation held its first Annual ART of TEACHING Conference with just over 200 in attendance. The conference’s intent was to jump start mentors’ and fellows’ ideas and motivation for enhancing their teaching practice in both content and pedagogy. To achieve this, the Cotsen Foundation brought in speakers with recognized expertise to share their ideas, experiences and research. The foundation, since then, has continued to engage some of the most knowledgeable and influential researchers and practitioners in the education community.
Each year the Foundation has sought input on the event to make it an occasion when educators can truly grow as a community of leaders and learners. It’s no surprise that 12 years later, for the 12th Annual Conference, the event has grown to 500 educators in attendance at the annual event on Saturday, Oct. 7th, 2017.
During the opening session, Jerry Harris, the ART of TEACHING’s executive director, welcomed the group. “Today is our opportunity as a professional family to reconnect, share a meal, engage in stimulating conversation, and strengthen the ties that bind us together as a family as we continue to grow into a formidable force committed to instructional excellence,” said Harris.
After the opening session, conference goers had the opportunity to attend their choice of three 90-minute presentations. This year’s presenters included:
Dan Feigelson: one of the original members of Lucy Calkins’ Reading and Writing project at Teachers College of Columbia University and author of Reading Projects Reimagined and Practical Punctuation.
Megan Franke: a UCLA Professor and co-author of Children’s Mathematics, Young Children’s Mathematics, and Thinking Mathematically.
Matt Glover: a full time educational consultant on young children’s literacy learning and co-author of The Teacher You Want to Be, I Am Reading, and Projecting Possibilities for Writers.
Georgia Heard: one of the founding members of Lucy Calkins’ Reading and Writing project at Teachers College and author of Heart Maps, The Revision Toolbox, and Finding the Heart of Non-Fiction.
Vicki Jacobs: currently the Yopp Distinguished Professor in Mathematics Education at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and co-author of Mathematics Teacher Noticing: Seeing Things through Teachers’ Eyes.
Ellin Keene: consultant for schools and districts on literacy nationwide and across the globe and author of Talk About Understanding: Rethinking Classroom, Talk to Enhance Understanding and To Understand: New Horizons in Reading Comprehension. She is also the co-author of Comprehension Going Forward and Mosaic of Thought: The Power of Comprehension Strategy Instruction.
After three hours of inspiring workshops, attendees gathered in the ballroom for lunch and a lively keynote address presented by Kelly Gallagher, a high school ELA teacher and author of numerous titles, many familiar to the Cotsen K – 5 teachers.
Drawing from research on the effect of student writing, Gallagher noted that volume is critical. He referenced research showing that the frequency and variety of writing experiences leads to higher student achievement and described the multiple ways he creates writing opportunities.
Peppering the serious with the humorous, he shared anecdotes about high school classroom experiences in writing that, nonetheless, resonated with the K – 5 Cotsen crowd. Including an anecdote about his elementary school teacher mother, he reported that his mother always reminded him that she worked harder than her single subject son. The ballroom exploded in applause and exited for the final session of the day.
Alumna mentor Michelle Baldonado from Park Western Elementary commented, “I was so excited to see the keynote speaker, Kelly Gallagher. He did an incredible job. I’m so thankful for this experience. I was talking to my colleague in the last session about how I already can’t wait for next year’s conference. Thank you Cotsen.”
On reflecting about the annual conference, alumna fellow Theodora Beauchamp from Thorman Elementary noted, “I come every year and I am a firm believer in being a lifelong learner. I love that Cotsen provides these opportunities to continue to grow my teaching even after the fellowship.”
Check out the photo album on Flickr:
Watch video clips from the conference: