I am writing to you from the NTPRS conference! It has been so wonderful, and I am so happy to get a lot of new ideas. Truly, one of the best things that you can do is attend a conference as an educator. I wanted to write a few tips for any new teachers about to attend their first conference. I also wanted to give a few ideas from yesterday that I heard from the presentations.
I am a conference junkie! I attend unconferences in addition to regular conferences every year. I quickly learned a few tips (and some are from my mother who was a teacher!)
- Even in the summer, those rooms are cold! (Especially for me because I frequently get cold.) Don’t forget a sweater! I also bring some snacks for the long morning/afternoon. Finally, if you are like me and prone to headaches, don’t forget any painkillers! (Learned that the hard way)
- Be thankful if you learned ONE good idea that will help you from a session. Not every presentation or idea will work for you or will be for you. However, if you learned at least one thing from each session then it was worth it.
- Try a new session just because it sounds fun! Do you always go to the technology type of sessions? Vary it up! You never know when you will be inspired to try or learn something.
- Talk to the people next to you. I always get excited to talk to everyone around me in the beginning of a session. Don’t stay too attached to your phone that you miss meeting people face to face.
What are your suggestions when attending conferences? Share them!
Finally, I wanted to add two ideas that I learned from Alina Filipescu. She is a dynamite teacher. One teacher tweeted how much he would want her as a teacher, and I totally agree! Can I go back to school in Orange County?! (Although hopefully this time, I wouldn’t be so awkward in middle school!) The first is a brain break activity called “Soy Yo.” The teacher reads many sentences aloud such as: I am a boy, I am a girl, I am a brunette, I am a blonde, I have a dog etc in the target language. You can think of a lot that would interest and pertain to your students. Every time the sentence pertains to the students, the students have to say “Soy Yo” and move. The moving part is easy. If you are standing, you must sit, and if you are sitting, you must stand. I started sitting and when she said “I am a girl.” I said “Soy Yo” and stood. Then when she mentioned having a blog I said “Soy Yo” and sat. It was a really fun activity!
One of the other topics that she touched on was MovieTalk. If you aren’t familiar with MovieTalk, Martina explains it really well. For those of you who use it, Alina suggested showing 70% of the clip to the students. This way, they get the gist of what is going to happen, and they are interested. She found that if she stopped to ask questions about the part of the clip too early, the students became frustrated. I felt that I enjoyed seeing 70% of the clip (pretty much up to a cliff hanger) because I was interested and wanted to know more, but I still had a little clue about what was happening. Another teacher mentioned showing the whole clip and have students shout out in the target language what they can say the first time through. Some teachers said on Twitter that it did not work for them to show a large part or the whole clip before asking questions. What do you find in your classes?
There was so much more, but it is time to go off for day 2!