IAEYC Conference RecapMonday, April 15, 2013
***There's still time to enter my Conscious Box giveaway!***
As many of you know, I'm a preschool teacher. This past week, I (along with some of my co-workers) attended the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC) Conference in Indianapolis. I had been once before, but I feel like I took SO much more away from it this year.
When I had gone previously, I had worked at a daycare center/preschool that wouldn't close to attend the conference, so we only went on Saturday. At my current preschool, we close on Thursday and Friday so that we can attend all three days (I didn't attend on Saturday though due to personal engagements). To make things a little easier, we all headed down Wednesday evening so we wouldn't have to get up at the buttcrack of dawn to make it on time Thursday.
The Indiana Convention Center is very large (it takes up an entire city block on its own) and is connected to several hotels and businesses (like the Circle Centre Mall) via Skywalk, so we literally didn't have to go outside at all (which was nice since it was cold and rainy the whole time). Because of a special convention rate, we were able to stay at the JW Marriott. As someone who hasn't spent much time in hotels (and definitely not in fancy hotels, with a couple of exceptions), it was definitely a fun experience for me.
|the hotel as seen from inside the Skywalk|
flowers in the lobby (they had green orchids on our arrival day!)
|complimentary spa water -- strawberry-orange (yum) and cumcumber-lime-mint (not so yum -- for me, anyway)|
|the setup on our floor by the elevators|
|the 8th floor hallway -- we had hoped for a higher floor, but wanted adjoining rooms, and this was the highest we could get|
|my bed :) super comfy cozy!|
That night, we went to the Hotel Bar, High Velocity, and I had a glass of cava for the first time. Cava is a Spanish sparkling white wine that is supposed to be a more affordable alternative to champagne. It wasn't as sweet as champagne, so I didn't like it as much, but I'll drink almost anything with bubbles, lol.
Thursday morning, we made our way over to the convention center to attend our pre-conference sessions. Since 2/3 of my students are Asian immigrants who don't speak English, I chose to attend two half-day sessions: Young Learners in America - New Language, Culture, and Friends, and Land of Opportunity - Building Effective Relationships with Immigrant Families. Both were taught by the same man, who had been a Cuban refugee when he was a child, so he brought a unique perspective to the topic. I learned a lot about how I can more effectively help my students understand English, as well as ways to make their parents feel more involved, and I can't wait to implement them in the classroom!
Friday there were four different sessions and a keynote address. I started the morning off with Identifying and Creating Child Centered Environments, which is a Lisa Murphy workshop (the Ooey Gooey Lady, if you're familiar -- and SHE'S FOLLOWING ME ON TWITTER!!!!!!!! Sorry, that's just exciting for me!). I can honestly say that this session made me rethink the way my entire classroom is run, especially in regards to our daily schedule. While I don't think we'll be changing the schedule this school year (we only have 14 days of school left, and shaking up the routine now would NOT be a good idea), but it's given me a TON of ideas for next year! Plus, Lisa is hilarious and has plenty of stories. If you ever have the option to attend one of her workshops, I can't recommend her enough!
For my second session, I went to Science Surprises, hosted by Dr. Jean. We listen to a lot of Dr. Jean's CDs at school (the kids especially love "The Cool Bear Hunt"!), so I was eager to see what she had to say. It was a very hands-on workshop, and we got to do a lot of projects along with her (including making a paper helicopter, a brown bag birds nest, and our very own Super Science Teacher awards, which you may have seen on Instagram). Admittedly, I've been slacking a bit when it comes to science activities, so I'm glad I got to take a few fun little things for the kids from this session!
After lunch, I attended Plant A Seed, Watch Me Grow: Gardening with Children. I've been thinking about a garden for quite sometime, and this session really helped spur me on. I've got some grant writing to do!
My last session was Doing the Happy Dance of Free Choice Learning Centers. It was an entertaining session, but I don't feel like I really got as much out of it as I had hoped. There are a few ideas I did take back though, like making most of the learning center-based and just letting the kids do the required activities on their own time. I liked that a lot.
It was a busy couple of days (and a busy weekend after I got home!), but it was SO worth it. I learned a lot, and I feel like what I learned is really going to help me be a better teacher.
Now I just have to get through parent-teacher conferences this week!
If you were going to attend a parent-teacher conference, what kind of snacks would you want? We do snacks, and my co-teacher and I haven't figured out what to bring yet!