April 1: Wrapping it up
Today is a mixure of business and pleasure. This morning I heard testimonial from some of the other educators’ visits with their representatives. From what I heard, not all offices were as encouraging as the Oregon offices were. The president of the National Writing Project gave the message of hope. She told us not to give up in our efforts, even if the end result is not what we want to see. She is very inspirational.
Our keynote speaker was Kelly Gallagher. He is a 9th grade teacher from California that publishes books on writing and reading. The book he presented is “Readicide”. In it he talks about reading in schools and how to engage reluctant readers. I found that I already employ some of his suggestions, but have some improvement to make. His methods are interactive and engaging. I will be reading his book and pulling out those suggestions to try to have a more effective reading class.
After the keynote, I met with the other 3 teachers in the group and we went on a staff-guided tour of the Capital building. If you get a chance, take this tour. It is very informational. The staffer (as they are called) that took us around is a self-proclaimed history geek. He gave us an enthusiastic tour and actually quizzed us on a few points during the tour. We also gained a ticket into the Senate gallery (which was closed so we couldn’t use them), and the House gallery. We sat in on 15-20 minutes of debate about the constitutionality of H.R. 1. I believe the session that I heard was H.R. 1255. I will be checking into this further, due to a vote that they were having. I do know that School House Rock was on one of the posterboards presented (the one titled “I’m Just a Bill”), and the book “House Mouse and Senate Mouse”. It was quite interesting to see the proceedings.
I finished my day with a trip to Georgetown. I was able to see the National Cathedral at night. It is immense and beautiful. It sits on a campus as there is a private school located at the site. Georgetown is the hub of activity and it was a fun walk down the main street.