Thursday, November 15, 2012

Conference Survival Guide!

Art at the Cinci Bridge
The 2012 Ohio Art Education Conference has come to a close and it is with a sad heart that we say goodbye.  All in all I would say another successful year filled with lesson ideas, new state initiative-eh, and new art media to explore :).  and now.........I have the post conference blues. You know what those are. You are a little saddened because you are out of the highly creative environment filled with like minded artists and educators who feel like you do about sharpies, kneaded erasers and mini art samples and happen to be for the most part over the age of 22.  I don't want anyone to think I don't enjoy the creative energies from my classroom, but it is nice to be around individuals who have voted at least twice in a presidential election-no matter who they voted for;)

The bonus from conference, the stuff that isn't in the daily list of classes, meal topics or event opportunities.............is the simple collaboration and time spent with other arts educators. Sometimes it seems as if you glean more from those sessions than scheduled and planned events. The cross collaboration between districts, the simple solutions to problems you thought you were the only one experiencing, a fresh perspective on a piece of art and celebrating each other's successes and failures together.

So for those of you who have never attended a conference, or are about to go to one, here is a simple Conference Survival Guide.

1. Leave space in your suitcase to bring back samples and other stuff you accumulate. I always take a huge suitcase but forget to leave space, so I look like a bag lady when I leave.

2. If someone offers you a tote bag, even if you have gathered 25 of them......take it. They are like gold in the classroom. Kids always need bags!

3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. And alternate that with copious amounts of coffee. and breath mints.

4. Dedicate a note pad or sketchbook just for the conference. Jot down everything you think is important. You won't remember it otherwise. Get contact info for new people in there too.

5. Write down presenters names. If they were awesome, you will want to seek them out the next time. And if they were awful, you want to avoid them next  time.

6. Have lots of pens and pencils to suit your moods and pens to give to people who forget theirs. You don't want to give away your favorite super skinny green sharpie on "accident".

Missing Pig Sculpture
7. Remember, everyone has a camera at conference. Don't do anything stupid........like stealing someones pig sculpture. And you can use it to get pictures of all the projects too!

8. Sit in the back at regional meetings, unless you want to be volunteered for a duty or position. (Just kidding-sort of)

9. Keep your conference guides from year to year to help jog your memory on sessions attended and because it usually has contact info on the important people from the conference and the vendors as well.

10. Whatever you felt was missing from conference, make a plan to research it, and present it at the next conference! Remember conferences are made up of educators educating each other! Chances are, someone else, felt the same exact way you did.

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