NJEA Conference

I just came home from the annual NJEA convention in Atlantic City. What a fun day! This is the first time I have attended the convention, but I am adding it to my list for next year.

I drove down for the day, so I didn’t have time to attend any professional development workshops. Next year, I will definitely check out a few. They are all 2 hours long, so they just didn’t fit in with my schedule today. But I read over the list and there were some awesome workshops and presenters!

I did end up with a ton of free stuff. I still need to sort through it, but I received a lot of info for future field trips, which is great. I also got some samples from Prentice Hall. I have a sample of a new vocabulary program and a new reading program. I picked up a new Ticondergoga “comfortable” pencil and I can not wait ot try it out. It’s one of those triangular pencils that are supposed to be better for your fingers and hands. I stopped by the EIRC display area and got to see Erik and some other MTN teachers, which was great. Picked up a new MTN “Got Milkweed” bumper sticker and a new bookmark. Both items are hot off the presses and they are great! Of course, I entered a ton of contests so maybe I will be lucky and win one!

I also ran to the outlets while I was in AC, because they were only a block away. Needless to say, I now have to add another store to the list of places I would spend all my money. The store in question is the Borders outlet. I picked up 2 moleskine notebooks for $2.99 each, which is amazing. Moleskines are my notebook of choice for writing, so that was a good find. I also bought a GIS book for Chris, to add to his collection. I found “The Other Boleyn Girl” for $5.99, Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Twisted, “Searching for Snow”, and a new Darren Shan book. My kids will be thrilled, because they are loving Darren Shan right now.

Oh, and the most exciting? I met Walter Dean Myers and got a copy of “145th St. Stories” signed by him! He was extremely nice and talked with every teacher he signed for. He told us that no matter what he writes and thinks he focuses on, the kids always focus on what’s important to them. For example, he wrote “Hoops” as a basketball story and ‘boy’ book. Yet he always has kids telling him they love the book about the friends, “you know, that one! With the two friends!”. Yet he said, that’s what is important. It’s what the reader gets from the book, not just what the author wants them to get. Meeting him really was amazing. (Thanks to BMI for bringing him down to the convention and giving the teachers in attendance free copies of his book!)

Next on my list? I want to figure out a way to get to the Teaching and Learning Celebration in NYC in March. Jane Goodall, Jean-Michael Cousteau, Ann Curry, and more are going to be presenting! It’s awfully expensive, considering I would be paying for it myself. But it sounds so worth it!