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So, believe it or not, summer is just around the corner! I'm interested to hear about the various classical ed conferences that'll be held throughout the country. Which one(s) are you going to? Which speaker(s) are you looking forward to? Educators love to learn and conferences can be a great way to do that. What practical lessons have you picked up from other educators over the years, and did they work for you in your classroom?

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Our school is taking the teachers and some parents to the ACCS Conference (Association of Classical and Christian Schools). It has been a couple of years since I've attended an ACCS conference, but I always try to see Christopher Schlect's lectures. Recently he has been doing more on lesson planning and class lecturing/discussion/exercises. He is a masterful teacher, and is able to communicate both the big idea/theory and its application clearly. He's a must see. I've used some of his lesson planning strategies, as well as (unsuccessfully in too many cases) his maxim to punctuate lessons by having something for the first five minutes to get students engaged, and the last five minutes to either wrap things up, or leave a question for continued consideration.

I also try to see Steve Turley at ACCS. He's usually got a good bit of research behind his talks, and puts things in ways that aren't obvious. His lectures tend to get me to think about what I'm doing differently, rather than change a practice.

Josh Gibbs is also phenomenal. He usually balances between saying things in a way that is surprising, but also having something to implement immediately or over time.

I've only been to one SCL Conference (Society for Classical Learning), but I found the atmosphere to be more intimate and relaxed (in a good way) than ACCS. I had more time to sit down and talk with people at SCL. SCL seemed to cater more to teachers as teachers, whereas ACCS seemed to aim at parents and teachers as members of the Classical Education movement. It is tough to compare because I've only been to one SCL conference, whereas I've been to four or five ACCS conferences (and they've grown bigger each year).

What about you, Paul?

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I'll be attending the ACCS conference this summer (I think it will be my 4th or 5th?), and I'll heartily second that about Schlect, Turley, and Gibbs. Their talks are always very thought-provoking. I also love hearing from Grant Horner, though he isn't speaking this year.

I am actually on the ACCS speaker list this year, and I'll be giving a talk on "Teaching History Through Masterpieces of Art." (Unfortunately, they've scheduled me for the same time as one of Chris Schlect's talks, so I'll have to listen to the recording of that one since I can't be at two places at once. Actually, most of the time at ACCS conferences I wish I had the ability to be at four places at once, since there are so many great topics and speakers.)

I'd love to attend a SCL conference at some point, but have not had the opportunity.

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2 hours ago, Patrick Halbrook said:

I'll be attending the ACCS conference this summer (I think it will be my 4th or 5th?), and I'll heartily second that about Schlect, Turley, and Gibbs. Their talks are always very thought-provoking. I also love hearing from Grant Horner, though he isn't speaking this year.

I am actually on the ACCS speaker list this year, and I'll be giving a talk on "Teaching History Through Masterpieces of Art." (Unfortunately, they've scheduled me for the same time as one of Chris Schlect's talks, so I'll have to listen to the recording of that one since I can't be at two places at once. Actually, most of the time at ACCS conferences I wish I had the ability to be at four places at once, since there are so many great topics and speakers.)

I'd love to attend a SCL conference at some point, but have not had the opportunity.

I've not heard Grant Horner in person (I did watch a video of him leading a class in Socratic dialogue), but he seems like a man with a wealth of knowledge and with the clarity to convey it.

I saw that you were presenting! I submitted something this year, but was not selected. However, just the other day I received an email to participate in a panel discussion on Rethinking Rhetoric (it is about "converting" the senior thesis project to be "ethics based"). Apparently they've added two more workshops on Thursday in conjunction with the panel, which will be at the end of the day. Scott Yenor will be presenting on an "ethical rather than science-based foundation" for schools, and Chris Schlect will be presenting on "declamation as capstone." I'm interested to hear what the other panelists have to say about what schools will be "converting" from, since I have been under the assumption that most ACCS schools have humanities topics more often than scientific research topics for their senior thesis. I'm also interested in what their take will be on the term "ethics based." I could see it going in at least three directions (I even contacted Christ Schlect yesterday to see what his thoughts were on the conversation). The panel is supposed to be about the practical side of implementing "ethics based" projects in the classroom, so I wonder if, as the only non-collegiate-level teacher on the panel I'll be having to bear the load of trying to apply Yenor and Schlect's ideas to high school classroom and scope & sequence constraints.

Your topic sounds very interesting Patrick. I was just speaking with a Justin Hughes the other day about using more art in teaching history. He had been putting together a slideshow for his class and discovered Khan Academy's resources on art history and was lauding their quality and the easy interface. Do you have favorite resources that you'll be sharing during your workshop?

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Khan Academy has some great resources. From what I've seen it's better for teachers than to show to students, but I haven't watched that many. As far as other resources go, it was Francis Schaeffer's How Should We Then Live? book and video series that first got me interested in art and its connection to history. I still love the connections he makes between particular artists and works of art and the history of philosophy and theology, though I think a few of his specific interpretations are wrong. Some of my primary resources continue to be some of my college humanities textbooks, Culture and Values and The Humanistic Tradition in particular. They do a great job connecting the dots between art and ideas and historical events in a way similar to Schaeffer. For more detailed analysis of specific works, I've been enjoying using Art Explained, and I've also been enjoying 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know. I also take my students on a field trip every year to the NC Museum of Art (we just went last Thursday) where they get to spend the day seeing a really great collection of works from the periods of history we've studied in class.

The Rethinking Rhetoric panel sounds fascinating. As we're continuing to rethink our own thesis program, it looks like something I'll find very helpful.

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I will be attending a local start-up conference @Chris Perrin has helped Jesse Smith establish here in Louisiana called, Classical Education Simplified the end of May. I am looking forward to Dr. Perrin's talks,  Heidi White, as well as Brian Phillips.

I will also be attending Circe's Summer Conference in Louisville, KY I think in July. I always enjoy Josh Gibbs as well, he will be there. Wes Callihan is another favorite as well as the perennial Andrew Kern. I actually appreciate Christine Perrin's talks and contributions to Circe's poetic knowledge panels they often do. She is very generous in her encouragement and love towards those of us who are new to poetry. Andrew Adams delivered a fantastic talk last year or the year before, warning of placing a culture on a pedestal rather than the truly transcendent ideals of faith, hope, and love. These things will not pass away and are what scripture admonishes us to seek. I don't think it's necessarily a conflict to seek the true, good, and beautiful but I think he was advocating for balance.

I wish I could afford to attend SCL or ACCS, but homeschool-mom-budget prohibits my attendance at this time! If I ever start a school, continuing ed will be part of the budget! 

I will also be attending Classical Conversations practicums which are always informative and FREE! to adults.  

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I do wish that ACCS and SCL had scholarships available for homeschool educators. I would never be able to go to either without help from the school where I work.

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I have heard from more than one friend that they are very well done and informative conferences too. I had to really work my way up to paying to attend Circe! 

Someday though. I do think it's important for "artists" to collaborate and encourage one another. Homeschoolers need it too though. Especially if they are a part of any sort of co-op. 

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