On a weekend? Really? I have to look into going to a conference on the weekend? I feel like I already put a bazillion hours a week into my job, so I’m not going to lie, there was a part of me that was not excited about going to Educon 2.3. (Maybe the flight will be canceled due to snow?)  But something happened to change my mind a few days before departure: Twitter lit up with #Educon references. Excitement.  It was contagious; people were Tweeting about getting to see one another, new friends, PLN references, conversations that were hard to choose between, and then of course the weather and packing freak outs (mine). Flight delays, airport meet ups. You name it. By Thursday afternoon, I was infected with the excitement bug as well (and a new pair of snow boots).

While I am relatively new to Twitter, I was excited to connect the small pictures from my TweetDeck to the actual person and meet more people in the field.  And I did a bit – but I suppose I could have done better.  Instead though, I put more energy and was most impressed with the sessions, especially SLA science teachers’ PLCs: Using Common Planning Time Effectively and David Jakes and Laura Deisley’s Why Johnny Can’t Read: A Conversation about What It Means to Be Literate.

The SLA teachers led the PD session as a session (and a classroom!) should be run: lots of ideas, brainstorming, summarizing, conclusions, and next steps. I loved the large white boards

Large whiteboard for group idea sharing

for each group as well as the posters with sticky notes. The attendees were active participants with a common interest.  I left with a challenge: what will I do this week? What will I do this month? What will I do this year? I opened my first Evernote during this session and typed in those words. As I went through all subsequent sessions, I added to the list.  I vow to hold myself accountable to this list that includes polling teachers, changing how I host and share PD information, and finding more time for common planning. (Adding in that annoying Waterboy voice “You can do it!”)

The other fantastic session was on literacy. David and Laura facilitated a discussion that should be taking place everywhere: what does it mean to be literate today? How can I possibly have gone through school and work NOT having had this conversation? I have a B.S. in English and Secondary Ed, I have an M.Ed in Reading Education, and an Ed.S. on the way.  I’ve taught at four different private schools teaching reading or language arts in lower, middle, and upper school;  one of these was a top private school for children with Dyslexia. I now work as a curriculum and professional development coordinator and cannot even believe that this conversation has never occurred in my professional career.  It is on my list. It will be done.  (They also recommended  the book Focus; I’ve added it to my Amazon wish list.)

Educon gifted me knowledge vital to my career, personal and professional learning, and the 800+ students at my school.  I am forever indebted.  (The cheese steaks weren’t so bad either.)

Cheese steaks from Jim's

I may have missed a major potty training “event” for my youngest daughter and a fun party this weekend, but this experience more than makes up for it.  A conference on the weekend? Really? Really. Bring on Educon 2.4.