What I learned about and from the conference experience:
- I need a laptop or full sized spiral. I was trying to take notes on my iPad mini and on a notepad, neither of which was very easy or comfortable for me. I was trying to save on weight, and it wasn’t worth it.
- It really helped to be in a city with easy, affordable transport to/from the airport and to/from the Convention Center. I did the whole event by light trail and foot.
- The range of choices for sessions to inspire, sessions to instruct, and chances to meet authors was overwhelming. What worked for me was to have two-three choices for any given time slot and to be flexible from there. I wound up front and center for a SRO presentation by Kittle, Gallagher, and Santman because I went in early and spent the time reading and reflecting. I prioritized meeting with two authors, one for me and one for my students, and pretty much let the chips fall where they may otherwise.
- I felt like this event fueled me as a teacher, as a reader, and as a writer. I can’t imagine many other conferences hitting all three like that.
- It also upped my Twitter game. I was told ahead of time that the work-around for not being everywhere at once was to keep up on tweets. I still think that the pithy quotes taken out of context are no substitute for the actual presentation, but it was more helpful than I’d feared.
- My family survived without me. It was tense, but they made it. It’s definitely not something I can do very often, but it was a relief to know that it is possible, and that I had my husband’s support.
- I had dinner with my local friend (and her dogs) both nights, which was awesome. In future opportunities, I would like to try to push myself to socialize with other attendees, but for my first, overwhelming conference, this worked out well for my personality, to have downtime with someone I’m really comfortable with.
- It really does make me want to read a book more if the author impresses me on a panel and/or is personable when signing books.
“We all want to be heard. Even that kid in the back with his hoodie up wants to be heard.” (Charlton-Trujillo)
“If you take a kid aside and tell them what they wrote is inappropriate for school, you teach a kid to write for school, not for real.” (de la Pena)
“If you really want to connect with kids. you have to give them something authentic.” (Medina)
“They don’t want to wait to get better, they want it to get better NOW.” (C-T)
“Your past will always inform the future; it doesn’t define it. You define your future.” (Hopkins)
“A lot of things that make you nerdy make you really, really cool as an adult.” (pic book author whose name I missed ARGH sorry!)
“Books are like amusement parks. Sometimes you gotta let the kids choose the ride.” (Alexander)
“Being a reader isn’t something you DO, it’s something you ARE.” (Merrill)
“Reading is intellectual breathing, soul breathing.” (Merrill)
“The choir has to learn the song the best, sing it loud, and be in tune” --Kittle, on preaching to the choir“If a kid is disengaged, people start thinking they can’t do it,” --A. S. King, who was a D- student only because she was on the basketball team so teachers didn’t flunk her.