Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Sunday, December 02, 2007

NCSS Convention

I'm home tonight, after several days away. I was fortunate enough to attend the National Council for Social Studies annual national convention, which was conveniently held in nearby San Diego, California.

I won't go into much detail about the convention at this time, but I will be sharing some of the ideas and things I thought were neat, useful and I am looking forward to trying with my students.

I will say this however. IMO, anyone who is selected to present a workshop at a National convention should at least do two things; SHOW UP and have enough handouts for their workshop presentation. There were several workshops I wanted to attend, and after waiting a bit for the presenter to show up, joined the exodus of other disappointed teachers who had also made the decision to attend THAT workshop in lieu of a number of other workshops.....oh yes, we could hustle to a secondary choice workshop, but who likes to walk into a workshop 10-15 minutes late ?

And, hearing such "greetings" from presenters as, "WOW ! There are A LOT OF YOU ! I only brought 20 copies of my handout. Maybe you can share ?????? AAAACCCCKKKKK! These are supposed to be PROFESSIONALS ????? I personally would be embarassed asking attendees for their contact information so I could send them the materials THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED WHILE ATTENDING MY PRESENTATION. Is this just me being picky ? By the way, I have presented workshops at national and state coventions in both science and social studies. I made it a point to have what I really hoped would be too many handouts for those in attendance, because I wanted them, if they liked what they learned, to be able to take another handout back with them to share with their fellow teachers; saving them the hassle of making copies themselves. In my mind, THAT is the way it is supposed to be, the way it should be.

My last criticism of this event is the selection of the presenters. Way too many of them were NOT teaching students using the materials they were presenting. And why is this? Because they were college/university/publishers people. Browsing through the convention program, I'd guesstimate only about 1/4 of the workshops were actually presented by practicing classroom teachers. Personally, I prefer to hear about activities, ideas, etc. from someone who is doing these with real kids, not from some ivory tower of "research says", or they are presenting material from something they'd like to sell you. Am I being too harsh about the presenters?

Oh, there was good. LOTS of good stuff too. As I said earlier in this post, I will share some of it with you later. I did get to briefly say hi to a well known edublogger who presented about using wikis, I met lots of people from all over the place and got to hear a short talk by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner ( a native Zonie like me ! ). I also got lots of "loot" from the various educational publishers, groups and organizations that were in the exhibit hall. I got to suggest to the guys at the History Channel booth, that The State of California has NO educational standards related to UFO's and I wish they'd show more HISTORY stuff on the HISTORY CHANNEL. ( The guy smiled and said he'd been hearing that alot lately).

I don't really know what to think about something I overheard while wandering the exhibit hall; the folks from Colonial Williamsburg had a nice exhibit of what they offer students, etc., including a number of people dressed in Colonial attire. One of their people was a lady of African ancestry. As I passed a group of three young males (teachers?), I overheard one say to his fellow teachers/buddies, "Dude, you want Pancakes? Aunt Jemima's over there!" They all laughed. I was a bit stunned to hear something like that.....and I am glad it was not in hearing range of the woman at the Colonial Williamsburg exhibit. After thinking about it a bit, now wish I'd said something to them. I don't usually shock so easily.....and I hope these guys were not teachers.....

Enough for now. I need some sleep.

Thanks for reading my blog !