Every year my district’s awesome parent advocacy group for gifted students offers scholarships to go to either the National Association of Gifted Children Conference as well as the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented Annual Conference. Every couple of years I apply for a scholarship so that I can continue to grow in my teaching of gifted students and try and stay on the cutting edge. This year the conference was in Houston, TX and I got a scholarship to go. I came away with three thoughts on my time there.
- I love hearing about the different G/T programs that are offered around the state. This conference is a melting pot of people from all levels of gifted education from all over the state as well as the nation. Every time I go, I hear about how different districts provide services to their gifted students and I’m always amazed at the variety of programming. I made a point this year of asking people to explain their programming so I can become better versed in all the shapes and sizes of gifted education. I’m particularly fascinated, this year, by hearing about district’s magnet schools for gifted children. This totally makes sense, but until this year’s conference I’d never hear of such a thing.
- I’m lucky to be in a district that is so forward thinking when it comes to technology. Every time I go to a conference I’m interested in learning about the newest and greatest technology that people are using. Outside of Dr. Brian Housand’s technology presentations, I really didn’t find too many new things this year. I know that this has a lot to do with the technology specialists on my campus as well as my district’s push to put as much technology as they can in our classrooms. One of the presenters was throwing out everything she could think of to try and stump me, but I’d heard of everything she had. I’ve had the opportunity to see Dr. Housand a couple of times this year and I really enjoy his presentations because I always learn a few new things to try out. This time it was some new techniques for designing presentations as well as geosettr.
- I made the decision to attempt to present at the conference next year. I’m going to talk with a couple of my co-workers to see if they have any interest in presenting as well. I’m mulling over my topics that I might present on, but for now I’m thinking it would either be on narrative feedback in the classroom or student voice and choice.
The tail end of my trip to Houston was possibly the most memorable part of this excursion. North Texas was in the midst of one of the largest snow/ice storms I’ve been around for. I left the conference a little early to try and beat the ice freeze on Friday, but unfortunately I didn’t leave early enough. It took me around 3.5 hours to travel south to Houston from Dallas. On the way back it took me 8+ hours to drive to Dallas, and I still didn’t make it all the way home. Memories.