The real power for me in this conference is attending it with people from my campus. We come to the conference with the advantage of sharing a campus mission and a common language which makes conversations deeper and more meaningful. The Instructional Partner on our campus, Kelly Van Meter, and I spent a good deal of time in the same sessions which allowed us to listen for and share in conversations about concepts that would be appropriate for us to share with our campus. As powerful as that collaborative experience is, even more powerful was spending time debriefing with the two teachers that attended this year, Kaley Coffield and Aimee Smith. Kelly and I have made it a tradition to kick off the week with breakfast at Maria's Taco Stand complete with discussions about which sessions we are most looking forward to. We try to meet up for lunches when we can and we schedule a debrief at the end of the convention as our culminating event. I am always so impressed with the profound effect that this conference has on the teachers we share it with. Aimee told us that she feels like she spends her days between 4 walls with 22 students, but for this week she got to see the world. I wish that all of our teachers could share in this type of experience.
I am really enjoying using the iPad app, Paper 53, to Sketchnote my conference notes. Visible Thinking keeps me focused during the sessions and I have found that I retain information far better than if I had simply typed the notes.
Here are some of my notes from the conference.