A few highlights:
- Overall, there were close to 600 attendees with Thursday being the largest attendance day.
- The line-up of breakouts included 22 first time presenters – teachers willing to take a risk and share their ideas.
- We learned from general session speakers Jen Serravallo, Kate Messner, Kathy Bumgardner, Dr. Ernest Morrell, Linda Hoyt, and Julie Coiro. As I sat with these speakers, it was so gratifying to look out on the sea of faces, all hungry for learning.
- Attendees were invited to join a mini EdCamp during lunch on Thursday. Although many teachers were unfamiliar with the format, somehow it seemed to work. Teachers grouped themselves to discuss such varied topics as literacy coaching, vocabulary, struggling middle school readers, conferencing in the workshop format, and argumentation. Ideas were shared and contacts were made in a relaxed setting.
- Sara Holbrook, Michael Salinger, Janet Wong, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, and Barry Lane led a rollicking evening of poetry fun.
- Some early risers started their day having breakfast with Barry Lane, A.S.King, and Peter Catalanotto.
- Over 20 authors were on hand to talk with individuals and small groups during the author Round Table on Friday.
- 45 exhibitors shared classroom resources as well as children’s and professional books.
- Many, many preservice teachers attended as student ambassadors or simply as participants. They were professional, helpful, engaged, and energizing. This is the future of education, and I’m glad they were there to learn from the best.
Those are just some of the things that made the conference a special experience. But I have to say, the highlight of every day for me was meeting teachers who stopped me in the hall and said how much they were enjoying the conference, or shared with me how much they were learning. I took on the role of conference chair partly because I know how invigorating it is to be around like minded people at a conference and share new learning.
Planning and participating in the 48th Annual KSRA Conference is an experience I will never forget. Now it’s time to catch up on some rest!