To begin with, my blog entries are definitely running a bit behind I have a ton of information to post from various activities and lessons I completed in the past month. However, I am going to focus on my attendance at the National NSTA conference in San Antonio. This was my first science teacher’s conference. It was one of the best PD experiences I have experienced. I’ll summarize my experience, to go into detail would actually take more than one blog entry.
The conference actually started on Wednesday the 10th with pre-conference workshops and NSTA PD Institutes. There were a ton to choose from. I however, decided not to attend any pre-conference workshops. I didn’t arrive in San Antonio until late that night. Workshops were offered throughout the conference. I did not attend any because I didn’t want to take a half day to attend one session. I don’t regret this, it ended up being a good idea for a first timer. There were tons of sessions going on at the same time and this can get a bit overwhelming for anyone.
To ease the confusion of scheduling different sessions, I downloaded the app for the conference. It was great. Using the app I scheduled sessions that were grade level appropriate. There was also the strands being highlighted at the conference: Next Generation Assessments, Next Generation Elementary Science, Next Generation Special Populations and Next Generation Technology (I summarized here). I stuck with grade, it seemed easy to me. There were times I did look at my hard copy of the program. When you registered you received 4 large books with all the information you needed for the conference.
I tried to attend a session every hour, except when I went to the exhibitors. Which is a discussion by itself. There you could spend hours going to all the exhibits and talking to everyone. Overall I enjoyed the flipping the classroom sessions. They were very helpful, the Do’s and Don’ts of flipping. I really gathered a ton of information to use to improve my flipping. Another session I enjoyed was the NOAA sessions that discussed climate change and gave teachers resources for this topic. The presentations addressed different topics about climate change and how to present this topic in class. Presenters also addressed Climate Literacy ideas.
I finally got the opportunity to meet everyone in the NESTA (National Earth Science Teachers Association). The share-a-thons were great and I left them with tons of new lessons to use. I did attend a first timers sessions with NSTA council members. Fun and informative, the session introduced the conference and where to find information in the program books. The other sessions I attended talked about the Next Generation Science Standards, all were very informative and helpful in understanding standards. Overall all the sessions I attended were informative and I left each session with tons of materials to take back to the classroom.
San Antonio was awesome. Beautiful city. The riverwalk was something to experience. During my time at the conference, I meet up with some NASA educators. This was the highlight of the week, we had a good time catching up with each other and collaborating about different topics. Bottom line is this, if you can attend the National Conference. Do it! Well worth the money and time, you learn a great deal and bring back tons of information to your classroom to enhance your lessons.