Could the people of Atlanta be any nicer? When I first landed, it was midnight and I took the MARTA rail into the city. When I got downtown I wasn't quite sure where my hotel was and the nicest homeless man helped me out. The receptionist at the hotel was as sweet as pie, lady at CVS bubbly and kind, people called me ma'am, would hold the door open for eachother, smile kindly, say hello....I miss southern hospitality. Californians need to watch southerners and pick up some of these amazing attributes.
The Food...oh sweet angel kisses...the food. I had BBQ pulled pork, collard greens, grilled pork chop, whipped potatoes, fried chicken, fried okra, fried green tomatoes, pralines. They have a Waffle House! Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint had the MOST delicious food for a decent price and the ambiance was incredible (live music). Our server, Eddie, was so nice!
For the most part, every single session I attended was awesome. I think I broke twitter with how much I tweeted. I'm not gonna lie, I almost had to run from one session to the next because of how large the conference hall is, but I made it on time to my sessions. Wi-Fi pretty much sucked at the conference (as always). So, writing my blog as "live" as possible was a bit challenging.
The exhibitor hall was fun and the exhibitors brought an engaging energy and excitement! However, I am going to rat out an exhibitor from a pretty big science publisher (I won't use the publishers name...your welcome, publishers). I was talking to this gentleman who works for the publisher about NGSS. He indicated that he used to be a teacher then stated that lots of teachers don't like NGSS because the standards are missing things like density. I responded that if people don't like the standards and are upset that density is missing that they didn't really understand NGSS. He looked at me funny, and disagreed. I had to walk off because it was evident that he didn't understand NGSS. Here's my unsolicited advice to science companies: If you are going to have someone sell a product for your company and you have a line of NGSS materials, it would behoove you to make sure your employees understand the standards they are selling products for. Very disappointing.
I had amazing conversations with teachers from across the world...yes...WORLD! Being around all of these educators is inspiring. Hearing their stories, their successes, their struggles...so inspiring and a nice reminder that I'm not alone on this journey. It is interesting to see how many people are doing NGSS, transitioning to NGSS, struggling with NGSS and even defiantly ignoring NGSS. One lady told me that she is glad her state is not adopting NGSS. It's just, "standards we've always had, rebranded." Wow. But, it took me time to finally understand NGSS, so I will try not to judge those around me for not knowing and experiencing the awesomeness of NGSS.
I met the incredible Em who is doing standards based grading in her classroom and was willing to share all of her resources. THANKS, Em!!!!! Their website is www.trysbg.com
I chatted with a k-12 science coordinator about how the struggle is real with the implementation of inquiry based learning.
I talked to a middle administrator about her concerns and transitions to standards based grading in their classrooms. She had so much insight.
The leaking pipe in the exhibitor hall! BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
I made a bunch of new Twitter friends and look forward to following them in the Twitter-verse.
At one point my amazing educator friend and I got to meet Ted Willard! Even took our pic with him!
I got to watch the HHMI movie: The Farthest Voyager in Space Listening to the team from the Voyager talk after the movie was truly a gift. THESE people are famous. So inspiring!
Overall, this was a PHENOMENAL educational experience. I have learned so much. I have so many tools and ideas to bring back my school district to share with my coworkers. I will write up a proposal to present next year...maybe on a unit of study, maybe increasing students talk, maybe standards based grading!