This morning, I started my day bright and early at the Zone 7 breakfast. We have an election for Zone 7 director this year and have two very good candidates from which to choose. South Dakota was the host and did a wonderful job. One of the cool parts of the breakfast is the state giveaways. Each state brings something from their state (e.g., artwork, book) and names are selected to win these prizes. I would encourage anyone to attend their zone breakfast if given the opportunity.
My first concurrent session for today was titled "Teaching 2.0: Learning & Leading in the Digital Age." The presenter did a very good job of talking about the technology that is being used in his school, but also shared thoughts about how technology can be better utilized. One analogy that he shared showed a plate full of food. The initial idea is that our plates are too full already to try and use technology in education. His point is that technology should not be another piece of food but should be seen as the spices that go into making the food taste better. Technology should be a way to enhance, not add to, education.
The Third General Session speaker was Jeff Corwin. He is the well-known conservationist who, amongst other endeavors, hosts the TV show The Jeff Corwin Experience. Before he began speaking, the new chief executive director for the National Parent Teacher Organization, Byron Garrett, briefly greeted the group. Wow! I have to tell you that I was very impressed. I was able to give him my business card-I thought the national PTA might like to include some information regarding PTO in my state association publication.
Corwin shared his passion for our world and especially the natural resources that, in his words, "our world has been blessed with." He encouraged principals to do all that we can to help promote the cause of conservationism through education in our schools.
After lunch, I attended a session titled "When Consequences Don't Work: Succeeding With Difficult Students." This may have been one of the more practical sessions I have attended regarding useable strategies. I am very interested in getting Conscious Classroom Management, a book written by the presenter. A major premise is that behavior should be taught step by step, just as in teaching mathematics. When expectations are clear, the art of effective instruction can begin.
My last official activity for the day was to attend the National Distinguished Principals Reunion. I had the good fortune to have been named the 2008 NDP for North Dakota. I can't begin to tell you how impressed I am with my peers, and after getting to know them better I was even more humbled to have been given the opportunity to a part of that group. Thanks to NAESP for lining up this reunion!