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June 04, 2010 05:54 PM

Summer Symposium Teaches Teachers

Sioux Falls, SD

More than 800 teachers just finished a week's worth of seminars and training sessions at the Summer Symposium.
It's put on by the Sioux Falls School District, and there's plenty for teachers to learn.

Just when you thought school was all work and no play, a group of teachers is finding out how to bring games into the classroom at every grade level. Lennox seventh and eighth grade science teacher Christie Ness attended Summer Symposium this week.

"Being I'm only going into my third year of teaching, I'm still looking for ideas and how to better teach my classroom,” Ness said.

The week included nearly 100 workshops like this each day, with local presenters and national experts.

One of the buzzwords this year is "interdisciplinary" teaching, or teaching across several subjects. So a teacher like Ness could incorporate other subjects into her science lessons.

"I'm bringing math into science, and geography, art and doing the same thing with the math classroom, adding in art," Ness said.

She's also hearing a lot about another new concept called "differentiated instruction."

"It means to look at students' interests, know what they are and teach to their abilities, and change lessons so you're not doing the same thing every day," Ness said.

Ness says like her students, she never stops learning.

"We don't just teach 180 days out of the school year,” Ness said. “We do stuff at night, during the summer with the symposium, work on our curriculum, etc. There's a lot more to teaching than just teaching."

And come fall, these teachers will have the tools and ideas they need to encourage lifelong learners.

This year, administrators say 100 more teachers signed up for the symposium than last year.

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