English teachers focus on technology

Annual gathering features presentations by Maine teachers for Maine teachers.

English teachers can use blogs, poetry slams and graphic novels to craft engaging lessons that appeal to students who don’t learn best by reading books and writing papers.

A teacher in the southern Maine town of Sanford can teach Advanced Placement English to students located almost 400 miles to his north, in the town of St. Agatha.

And teachers can make their classrooms virtually paperless by using Google Apps for Education.

Middle- and high-school English teachers from across Maine learned those and other lessons March 25 at a conference focused on the technology they can use to bring their instruction to life for students.

The nearly 200 teachers who attended the annual conference of the Maine Council for English Language Arts — an increase from the 50 who normally sign up — had 18 sessions to choose from, including a primer on the transition to the Common Core State Standards and a crash course on avoiding copyright infringement while using widely available online resources.

Those who presented were largely teachers who work at middle and high schools across Maine, said Patsy Dunton, the English Language Arts specialist at the Maine Department of Education.

“You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to bring in an outside expert,” she said. “We’ve got homegrown expertise.”

Maine author Monica Wood was the conference’s luncheon speaker. Her forthcoming book is “When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine.”

The council’s 2012 conference is scheduled for March 23, 2012.

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