An amazing, feel-good event

Jenna Alt is the co-president of Pi Epsilon Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi at UW-Stevens Point.

KDP Christmas Cookies 4Pi Epsilon Chapter is in the process of transitioning new inductees into officer positions. We all wanted to get to know each other a little better, so we decided to decorate Christmas cookies for the School of Education staff and for a local housing facility here in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

KDP Christmas Cookies 5On the evening of December 10, the chapter decorated 19 dozen Christmas cookies. We put the decorated cookies in small serving bags and delivered about 50 cookies to the School of Education staff. The rest we took to the Stevens Point Housing Authority for residents of the facility to enjoy.

KDP Christmas Cookies 2Many of the residents have a hard time getting around, so when we arrived, only about 10 of the 75 residents were in the lobby. One of the residents offered to take us around to all seven floors so that we could personally deliver the cookies to those who could not come down. We rang the doorbells of each and every door in that facility, and when they opened their doors, we told them we were an honor society and that all of us were going to be future teachers. They were all so appreciative and grateful. The smiles on their faces were absolutely priceless!

At the end of the night, we ended up in the lobby again, and one of the elderly women started talking with us. She asked what “fraternity” we were with and we explained that we were actually part of an honor society for future teachers. Her eyes got big and she told us she was no “future teacher,” but was a “past teacher!” She had taught for 65 years and had many stories to share with us. We sat around listening to stories of how teaching has changed from her day in age to now ours. Her biggest piece of advice to us: Have fun!

What an amazing, feel-good event! It was something so very simple and I know I can speak for all the chapter members who helped when I say that last night will not be forgotten any time soon.

Brooklyn College Chapter Hosts Boro-wide Professional Conference

Francine Canin is a Reading Teacher at I.S. 238: The Susan B. Anthony Academy in Hollis, Queens. A former Chapter President and Literacy Alive Coordinator, Francine is currently serving as Membership Vice President at Brooklyn College.

On November 7, Eta Theta/Brooklyn College, along with the Brooklyn Reading Council, co-hosted the 34th annual Brooklyn Boro-wide Professional Conference. Educators, a day of workshops and professional networking. The event opened with remarks from Brooklyn College School of Education Dean April Bedford, whose message of “Bring the joy back to reading” resonated with educators.

Jason Leinwand explains the relationship between Stop-Motion Animation and Literacy to a group of educators at the conference while Dr. Tova Ackerman, Director of Puppetry in Practice at Brooklyn College

Jason Leinwand explains the relationship between Stop-Motion Animation and Literacy while Dr. Tova Ackerman, Director of Puppetry in Practice at Brooklyn College

Topics included Bullying, Reading in the Content Areas, Encouraging Creativity and Thinking Skills, Understanding the Data, Drama in Reading Instruction, Forging Relationships with Parents, an introduction to ELL topics, and more. Presenters included principals, teachers, and BC faculty members, several of whom are KDP members. Dr. Tova Ackerman and Jason Leinwand amazed teachers with their Stop-Motion Animation, a vehicle for activating literacy in children. The cartoon created by students using this technique was amazing!

I presented a workshop on Teaching the Reluctant Learner, where I shared some of the strategies I use to motivate and support students. I am hoping to bring this workshop to Convo 2015 in Orlando!

Dean April Bedford

Dean April Bedford

Author Stephanie Calmenson gave a presentation about her career path as Kindergarten teacher and children’s author. Scholastic, Inc. donated free copies of Ready, Set, Dogs! No Dogs Allowed, which Ms. Calmenson co-wrote with Joanna Cole. I particularly enjoyed seeing slides which were motivations for her writing. One was a photo of her first manuscript, or what was left of it after her dog ate it! Afterwards, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Stephanie Calmenson as she signed copies of Dinner at the Panda Palace. You can hear her read this delightful PBS StoryTIme book.

Chapter President Barbara Buchholz presents Chancellor Carmen Farina with a gift membership and gold clad pin.

Chapter President Barbara Buchholz with Chancellor Carmen Farina.

The highlight of the day was the keynote speech given by New York City Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Farina, a dynamic educator who has not forgotten her own years in the classroom. Ms. Farina began by discussing Common Core, and emphasized that if the texts are not developmentally appropriate, then the students aren’t learning. “Literacy is joy” was a simple yet strong quote that reminded us that we need to find ways to not only meet the standards, but to teach students to love reading. Chancellor Farina supports picture books for all ages, students reading to each other, including older students reading to younger ones, independent reading to build fluency and stamina, and helping parents understand how to set the appropriate environment for doing homework. And who can argue with her philosophy on testing: More testing? No. More sensible testing? Yes! On behalf of Eta Theta Chapter, President Barbara Buchholz presented Chancellor Farina with a gift membership to Kappa Delta Pi.

Kudos to the dedicated professionals of Kappa Delta Pi – Eta Theta Chapter and the Brooklyn Reading Council who worked hard to make this event a huge success. Many thanks especially to our Chapter President, Barbara Buchholz and our Chapter Counselor and Conference Co-Chairperson, Sharon Kohn. Thanks also go to Dr. Victor Ramsey, Co-Chairperson of the Conference and Jennifer Hamilton-McKinnon, President of the Brooklyn Reading Council.

The Eta Theta Executive Board is poised to assist any other chapter needing advice or support in order to create a similar event.

Mercyhurst University Alums Empower Future Educators

Jessica Pepe is a graduate student at Mercyhurst University. She is associate counselor of Alpha Beta Pi Chapter.

Grace Doman (KDP Member), Jessica Pepe (Associate Counselor of the Alpha Beta Pi Chapter), Heather Mills (Expo presenter and former president of KDP)

Grace Doman, KDP member; Jessica Pepe, Alpha Beta Pi Chapter associate counselor; and Heather Mills, Expo presenter and former KDP president.

On November 8, Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania welcomed back 20 alums who have been in the field of education from 1-5 years to present at the 8th annual Teaching and Learning Expo. The Expo brings more than 100 people together who all have something in common; the desire to educate and create bright futures for students.

The Teaching and Learning Expo, hosted by Kappa Delta Pi, allows students to attend a keynote speaker session and then move to three other presentations of their choice. The keynote speakers this year were three Mercyhurst alumnae from the graduating class of 2013.

These women presented, “Challenge Accepted: Teaching in China,” which highlighted a teaching experience of a lifetime. After graduation, the three moved to Ningbo, China, where they not only had the opportunity to teach young children English, but they were also given the unexpected task of writing and designing curriculum. Their presentation truly underscored this year’s Expo theme: “Empower.”

Jenna Gannon, Shana Brown, and Tawney Johnson’s keynote presentation, “Challenge Accepted: Teaching in China.”

Jenna Gannon, Shana Brown, and Tawney Johnson’s keynote presentation, “Challenge Accepted: Teaching in China.”

After feeling empowered from the keynote session, Mercyhurst undergraduates and graduates were able to craft the rest of their time at the Expo from 16 diverse presentations. The chapter’s goal was to have a variety of perspectives by selecting alums with many different backgrounds in education. Presentations on how to be empowered upon entering the field of education came from early childhood teachers, middle childhood teachers, high school teachers, art teachers, special education teachers, gifted education teachers, and behavior analysts. Presentations gave advice to students on how to survive the first year, interact with parents, build relationships with students, make education fun, and so much more.

The purpose of this Expo is not only for education majors to experience what it is like to attend a conference, but for future educators to be inspired and empowered after graduating. Having presenters that have been in the field for such a short time made this Expo a truly relatable experience for future educators. Students were granted the special opportunity to hear and see how far a Mercyhurst education will go.

After much feedback from attendees, it was evident that alums are living out the Mercyhurst University tagline, “Teach. Anyone. Anywhere.”