Friday, November 4, 2016

NAGC 2016 Conference Day 1

I was up early this morning to navigate the first session of the gifted children's conference.  I didn't know what to expect, but it was a lot more crowded than I imagined.  The first session I wanted to attend was on math and high ability.   It was absolutely packed, so I chose another one on resources for teachers.  There were some great ideas of what to do with a discovery room and also projects for students.  I arrived to the second session early and was able to get a seat without any problem.  It gave great ideas for conferring with students and helping with high ability social and emotional needs.  I came away with several good resources to use in the classroom.

My favorite part of the conference today occurred next.  We all met to listen to the keynote speaker and she did not disappoint.  Her husband was a member of the shuttle Challenger that was to carry the first civilian into space.  On take off the plane exploded and all members of the crew died including the teacher onboard.  The woman who spoke to us today started a Challenger education program for high ability students through NASA in honor of the crew.  As I remember that disaster well and we had just visited the training site and memorial in Houston last April, her story moved me to tears.

After lunch I attended sessions on identifying minority high ability students and supporting free and reduced students.  My favorite of the day was the last one which discussed math tools for high ability classrooms.  They had us solving math problems which was a lot of fun.  We only had about a half hour before our social event for the evening, so I hustled to the room to get ready.  I managed to get back in time to catch the bus with our group to EPCOT.  Disney threw a dessert party for the teachers which included a free night at the park, three food tickets for the Wine & Food Festival and a dessert/dance party.  I spent my time with Chris Noel, an 8th grade language teacher from WMS.  She had not been to EPCOT in quite awhile so I gave her a tour of the countries and then we rode Soarin'  It was a lot of fun.

We were at the dessert party early.  I was glad as it was packed as well.  Doug arrived in Orlando when we were at the park.  Once he got off the Magical Express he headed straight to EPCOT.  I was very happy to meet him in France at about 9:20.  Only once he got there did I realize that he ran all of the way there.  He had just missed the bus and didn't want to chance not making it.  I was impressed.  We had a great time touring the countries and watching Illuminations.  It was a wonderful way to end a very rewarding day.

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