Teachers have the luxury of being able to improve on a unit year after year. I say luxury, however, sometimes it can be hard to keep bring your all, remain fresh, and at the same time constantly improve your work. Here is where the conference enters the scene. As I look toward Seattle, this years host to NCSS, I am filled with excitement. I find conferences refreshing. They allow me as an educator to really listen to other excited and talented educators present their very best units, and reflect on what others are doing. I not only pick up ideas at conferences, I create new ideas as well. My creative juices start flowing, when I am listening to presenters talk with vivid detail and passion about their work.
I am lucky to be a member of one of the best Social Studies teams on the planet. Chuck, our 8th grade American History teacher, is a power house who keeps bring his “A” game every day. Brian, the 7th grade Econ teacher, has created a fabulous curriculum which excites kids. Lastly, Will, our 5th grade World Culture teacher, skypes people into his classroom from around the globe, has kids climb Mt. Everest, and has integrated the ipad into his classroom. Every year, our team has attended NCSS together. While there, we have learned both from the conference as well as from each other. Each night we discuss what Chuck calls “pearls of wisdom,” which are the little bits we can use in our classroom. Our discussions often include what we are doing in our classrooms already, and how we may incorporate what we have just learned. By attending as a group, we are able to cover more ground. Mapping out what we will be attending that day maximize the conference experience.
This year I would like to challenge myself and anyone willing to join me to the Conference Challenge. This five step challenge will help apply what has been learned at the conference. Go ahead and give it a try. Take the Conference Challenge at your next conference, no matter which one your attend. It is a good way to stretch yourself and really apply what you have learned from fellow educators at the conference.
- Find a pearl.
- Share it on twitter, mine will be #historyteacher and #sschat.
- Write up a reflection of your time at the conference.
- Then apply what you have learned to a lesson.
- After, share your experience at the same twitter feed.
Good luck, and I hope to see your tweet the Conference Challenge.