Sunday, July 31, 2011

ETSU Early Childhood Conference

I just spent 3 days at the ETSU 51st Annual Early Childhood Conference. It was an incredible conference. Thursday was the Pre-Conference, there were three choices. Since I had never attended a Dr. Jean conference before I was so excited to find out she was coming. It was a day full of singing and dancing, with lots of learning crammed in. I came away with so many new transition ideas, it will take me a while to sit down and create a list of what I want to use. She also provided so many great ideas for teaching letters and letter sounds. I think the best thing was for every idea she shared she altered it to work for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st grades. She also shared that she is posting a daily blog of ideas that she gets from people she meets at conferences, it can be reached from her website

Friday and Saturday were filled with mini sessions. I started Friday at the Foldables session from the Dinah Zike Academy. It was incredible. We were a little worried it would be a sales pitch for a product, but it wasn't. The presenter taught us how to make all the Foldables, and gave us the pack to make samples. She also provided a great presentation with so many examples of how teachers had used these. Again another session where I walked away with so many ideas. I was also able to see Jack Hartman, another incredible presenter. By the end of the conference I had bought two of his cds. I was disappointed however, the last session on Friday I could choose between another Jack Hartman or a behavior management session. Since I had seen Jack Hartman once, and would see him again on Saturday I decided to pick the behavior managment session. That was a mistake, it was a hour long sales pitch to have this company come to my school and do a full day inservice. The presenter would give a hint at an idea and then say and if this were a full day inservice I would give more examples. It was very frustrating.

Saturday was filled with even more great sessions. I started the day at a session on using pattern blocks. I was able to come up with some great center activities from this one. Then I saw the always impressive Dr. Pam Evanshen, discussing classroom environment. I had her in college and attend her sessions every chance I get. These come in especially helpful since I have had to set up so many classroom environments! Then there was another exciting singing and dancing session with Jack Hartman! The last mini session I attended was the author Denise Fleming. She writes and illustrates wonderful childrens books and then provides lesson plan ideas on her website for free.

The only complaints I have about the conference would be the following: First, the sessions get "stalked", people leave their last session early just to be waiting outside the door. Then when those of us who stayed for our entire session get to the next one they are out of seats. I was kicked out of a session I really wanted to see because there weren't any seats and I was standing along with about 20 others. This session was not a repeated session either (just so you know the sales pitch I attended Friday was repeated!). This should tell the Advisory board something. If you have a large group of people you are kicking out because they are willing to stand for 75 minutes, you should have a repeat session. Second, the vendors ran out of so much! Of course that is not a problem for them, just for me who wanted to buy things! I do have to say that the vendor who were out of what I wanted offered me free shipping if I mentioned the conference when I ordered so that was nice! Last don't book people who are just there to sale their product as presenters. Let them be vendors, but don't let them trick me into wasting my time. I went to two sessions where they had a product to sale but you would have never known from the presentation. I also went to the one session this year and one  session two years ago that was nothing then a sales pitch. I felt like I should come away with a free dinner like the time share people  give you!

Great conference again this year ETSU! I can't wait for next year!

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