Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Leaf in Learning Conference- Day 1

So, it is 12:30 in the evening.. well I guess technically in the morning. That means that 29 minutes ago Hunger Games opened (no.. I am not writing this from a movie theater) It also means that I am finally back in my hotel room forming my thoughts from today.

I am so thankful for all of the amazing opportunities that I have had this year. This conference is another AMAZING opportunity! I know that I say this often.. but if you know me I am completely sincere and mean it!

Because I am mobile, I will not be able to add in all of my links like I normally do (but then again.. I don't really know how many readers.. if I have any readers actually use my outside links :)

I flew into Chicago late Wednesday evening and was lucky to have Elaine chaperone me to the hotel. Elaine has done so much for me this year! Because of her my students have been able to skype via the iPad 2 that she donated our classroom rather than crowding around the camera set up to the projector. Then again, that is a whole other story! Anyway.. I digress.. Elaine picked me up at the airport and took me to the most lovely hotel in Schaumburg the venue for the Follett New Leaf in Learning Conference 2012. I was bummed that I missed Kevin Honeycutt as the keynote, but enjoyed his company along with Kay, Lori, and other new found friends at dinner Wednesday evening.

This morning (well.. technically yesterday morning) I was excited for a full day of sessions. When I say full day of sessions.. I mean it was JAM packed! It was nice to start off with a fabulous breakfast followed by a inspiring keynote. Ian Jukes was a great storyteller. He challenged us to figure out how we were going to be the change agent. It is important to go to professional development, but how are we going to inspire others, how are we going to be the change. I LOVED his TTWWADI (that's the way we have always done it) I spent the rest of the morning getting ideas about standards based learning and the flipped model classroom. Both of these sessions had great ideas, but I was hoping they would be a little more interactive. Then agin.. every audience is different with different expectations. Lori and I present tomorrow (well... okay today in about 8 hours)

We had a Fabulous lunch! Yes, I took picture of the food (my husband would be so proud) The afternoon sessions were fast and furious. Usually the session after lunch is tough. You eat, you start to digest.. you get tired. I had the chance to learn about Cranium CoRE. This is a website that is just budding. I was impressed with the presentation and look forward to looking more into this company. The next session that I sat in on was Training Teachers to Use New Technology. No, I am not a trainer of teachers in my district, but I do present. I tried to attend sessions and strands that would help me when I try to move up out of the classroom. What was cool about the presenter in this session was that he was a previous 20 educators to watch for the National School Board Association... how cool is that!

The last session of the day was my fellow friend and Sisterhood of the Traveling Mac- Kay Tibbs. I have known Kay for about 3 years (only met in person about 5 or 6 times.. thank goodness for the power of a PLN) but hadn't had a chance to see her present. What a fabulous session over QR codes. It was not a sit in get, but a get up and collaborate. I enjoyed watching participants communicating with others. It was great session. I loved how she talked about the importance of collaboration and that you have to ask 3 before me. By setting the standards of the students had to wok with 3 other individuals first they had more time to collaborate and work it out for themselves. You know those 4pm-5pm sessions are hard, but she did a great job of keeping us engaged.

So.. Lori, Kay and I unwound by spending time in the hot tub and then eating dinner with friends. The conversations were lively, comical, and at times intense. How great to be able to have tough conversations with greatly varying opinions in such a safe environment.

I learned so much today. I have been sharing a TON of pictures on twitter! Make sure to follow the hashtag #NLIL12. I must sign off. My eyes are very tired.. and I present in the morning! Excited about another full day, seeing some sights in Chicago, and flying home.. PadCampDallas is tomorrow!

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