Day 3 – July 29, 2015

After a very long day Tuesday, I had to gear up for another day! I had a lot of thoughts going through my mind from the pervious days. So much new knowledge was just embedded and I was still filtering it all. Wednesday started out with Chris Sperry who was a very engaging presenter. His topic was Integrating Media Literacy. Of course this topic was engaging, it included many pictures, slides, and deep questioning. I have attended a professional development with Chris before so I was very excited to see him again.

Chris works with a grant-funded project called Project Look Sharp. Their website is projectlooksharp.org which includes many, many resources for teachers. The organization wants teachers to teach critical thinkers and decoding skills by using multi-media. We tend to look at things in a single manner but we need to teach people to question, to criticize, and to find truths and misconceptions. Chris focused on the fact that we need to teach students and people to question the where the source of material came from, the validity of it, who made it, why was it made, when was it made. These key points will help build critical thinkers and will expand our minds.

The second presentation I attended was called Conservation of Biomass to Energy presented by Tammy Morgan. Tammy was a very moving presenter and her ideas and philosophies are natural. Her goal was to create a better and environmentally friendly community. She realized that her community was spending money on shipping material wastes away and this needed to be changed. She used her school and many other programs to achieve many things. In the school she works in, they changed the way they recycle and what they trash and compost. She led this change because she realized that if the school and community started using anaerobic digestion, there would be less waste and less money being spent trucking garbage to another town. Tammy didn’t want to just stop here. She has big plans to install an anaerobic digester, a green house that will use some of the output from the anaerobic digester, and other compost materials. Her vision will be a complete cycle of bioenergy. This project has finally become funded and is in the engineering stage and will be started by 2016.

Listening to the first two presenters opened my mind up to what we the people are capable of doing if we put our minds and energy to it. Tammy had an idea and solution to a problem she saw, and she is acting on it. Chris is creating critical thinkers. People who will constantly question things they see and here versus just agreeing with whatever they hear. These two main points can easily be brought into my elementary school and would have a huge impact on the community eventually.

There were many more presenters and activities throughout the day but I was unable to attend them. Every topic sounded intriguing and innovative. Next year, I will try to plan better so I am able to attend the entire workshop.

by Katie Vann
Reading Specialist and WEDC Instructor