Professional Learning

2012 NSTA Conference-Indy Here We Come!

I noticed that the Indianapolis NSTA national conference is now online! Early bird registration is available until Feb 3. I have always been rewarded with gobs of outstanding professional development opportunities when I have attended a conference. For example, I understand Page Keeley will be conducting 5 different workshops to teach us more about how to use probes as formative assessments.
Having recently attended the New Orleans conference, I am still 'pumped up' and can't wait for the Spring national conference. The last time I was able to attend a national conference was when it was held in Boston. I hope many of you will post here to let all of us know if you are planning to attend, if you are presenting, etc. I would love to take in some of these workshops or meet for coffee, etc.
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

Hi Carolyn, I most definitely plan to attend the National Conference again this year. I went last year to San Francisco as a presenter, however, this year, I plan to go and enjoy the presentations of others. It's not even January yet and I am so very excited. The learning, the connections, the wonderment and awe. I absolutely love teaching science, and am genuinely enthralled when I get an opportunity for professional development to enhance the quality of the teaching and learning taking place within the walls of my classroom. LA

Lorrie Armfield
Lorrie Armfield
51418 Activity Points

I totally agree!! I have attended one National and one regional conference, and both were amazing experiences. I am really looking forward to attending the National in Indy this spring. I am hoping to go in on Wednesday and get into one of the all day PD opportunities - preferably one offered through BSCS. I guess I should look to see what is being offered,if it is posted already. Is anyone else planning for an all day PD on Wednesday?

Susanne Hokkanen
Susanne Hokkanen
79060 Activity Points

Here is a link to the PD Institutes in Indy: http://nsta.org/pd/pdi/2012indianapolis.aspx I am torn between at least three! (deep sigh) I participated in a BSCS PDI on Inquiry two years ago in Philly (it was awesome!), and DESI always looks great, but the PDI 3 on Cognitive Science Instruction would fit in great with my current graduate coursework for my EdD. Has anyone experienced a PD Institute offered by any of the participants this year? If so, do you have any suggestions or recommendations?

Susanne Hokkanen
Susanne Hokkanen
79060 Activity Points

Hi Lorrie and Sue, I look forward to seeing/meeting you both at the conference! Sue, I participated in a Picture Perfect workshop in New Orleans. That one is an excellent choice. I am leaning toward the PDI-6, since it seems to have some current information about how to incorporate the CCSI and NGS standards into our science curricula. I am wondering if this is a new offering or if anyone has participated in this one. I love how they have added the video clips with the presenters providing some helpful information and a personal invitation to join them.

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

Susanne and Carolyn,

As the STEM PLC Leader and Science Department Chair at my school,PDI-1: Engineering by Design: An Integrative STEM Solution for K–12 is a must for me in Indy.

I also would love to attend PDI-6: Conceptual Flow: Bridging the Gap between Standards, Instructional Materials and Student Learning

Thanks so much Susanne for sharing the link to the sessions, and thanks Carolyn for your continued insight. You Both Rock!

LA

Lorrie Armfield
Lorrie Armfield
51418 Activity Points

This would be my first National Conference. I did attend a regional one in Baltimore last year, and I am still pumped up from that. I am hoping to get nominated in my county to go, but if not, you guys are making me want to buy my way there anyway. I just remember being very pumped up about Science after leaving and I really hope to have the "national experience"! ~Brandy

Brandy Stewart
Brandy Stewart
7755 Activity Points

This would be my first national conference, if I go. Hearing about all the great things from the last one and all the possible opportunities make me really excited for this conference.

Kelly Amendola
Kelly Amendola
10320 Activity Points

Hi Kelly, Brandy, Lorrie and Sue and other thread readers! Brandy and Kelly and those of you who have only been to regional conferences, the national conferences are so many times larger! For example, workshop sessions continue on through SUNDAY - not Saturday. The exhibitors' hall is not 'doable' in one day and bring an extra empty suitcase if you don't want to ship your 'freebees' home. Although I am sure they will make available packing/shipping boxes that you can keep filling up for them to ship home for you. I spent $50 shipping my FREE stuff home from the Boston conference several years ago. I still use the resources! National organizations like NASA have larger booths. I could go on, but I know you get the idea. It is well worth the money. I would love to meet you all sometime during the conference. Perhaps when it gets closer, we can find a day and time to introduce ourselves at the Learning Center booth in the Exhibitors' Hall. -)

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

Just sent my paperwork in to the district this week. I have been to a regional (MN 2009) and I am looking forward to this national conference. As this is my first national conference, I am a bit wide-eyed looking at the numbers of people, exhibitors, sessions, etc. Any advice on the have-to-do's, social gatherings to reflect on the day, or online communities to follow that highlight the best of. I want to get the most out of the conventions I attend. I always feel like that short course or session was great, but what did I miss?

John Hoopman
John Hoopman
5175 Activity Points

Hi John,
One of the nice things about a national convention is that it goes through Sunday instead of stopping on Saturday. So we have an additional half day to pick out and attend some workshops. I use the schedule planner on the NSTA website to come up with a scenario of what to include. I start by adding the items I register for that have extra charges. Then I do a search for concepts that I am interested in - to see what workshops on that concept are being presented. For example, I typed in "discrepant event" and found several workshops being offered on that topic. {Mine is on Sunday at 11 a.m. :-)} I put them all into my schedule to weed out later.
I am not sure what kinds of social get-togethers are planned. We should look into that and post them here. In the past, I have gone to some of the socials that the major publishing companies offer. They provide free treats and beverages and you get a chance to mingle with like-minded teachers. Also, one time, by mistake I ended up in a gathering that was intended for first time NSTA attendees. I got a free breakfast before I realized I wasn't suppose to be there. Does anyone know of specific social gatherings that we Discussion thread participants might be interested in attending?

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

I would love to attend the conference! I hope I get the opportunity to attend. I am just awed by all the resources, ideas, and support the NSTA has provided me thus far. Thanks for all the information about the previous conferences.

Daliz Vasquez
Daliz Vasquez
1455 Activity Points

I have attended one regional conference (Ohio) and one national conference (PA) - both were amazing, but the national was so much bigger and busier. :-) I paid for the regional event on my own, and I attended the national conference as a fellow in the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy. A few bits of advice I would offer - try to pick at least two events for each time slot you intend to fill, try not to schedule back to back workshops (unless you know they are close in distance) and try to leave a time slot open just for "absorb it all" time. I recommend at least two workshops at each time slot, because sometimes workshops fill up fast, and your first choice may not be available or open or may be too far away to reach in time. Plan on getting to some workshops/events early - such as Bill Robertson's and Page Keeley's - because they tend to fill up fast. I also recommend leaving time open before and after workshops for personal downtime or "soak it all in time". I would also recommend using the NSTA online scheduler...it will help you in planning. I selected all of the workshops etc...that sounded interesting, and then went back, examined the "overlaps" and made adjustments. I recommend buying tickets for ticketed events early. It is usually cheaper. Here is a link to what is available so far: http://nsta.org/conferences/2012ind/ticketed.aspx#pdi I highly recommend the NSTA Professional Development Institutes. These are all day PD opportunities on the Wednesday before the conference. I attended one sponsored by BSCS in Philly, and it was amazing! I am still debating which one to attend this year. Here is a link: http://nsta.org/pd/pdi/2012indianapolis.aspx For the exhibit floor, I recommend bringing a wheeled bag or container. You will gather a tremendous amount of material - most for free - and your arms and shoulders will get tired if you try to carry it all. :-) Take advantage of the packing and shipping option if you are flying. Finally, make sure you find time to stop by the NSTA booth on the exhibit floor.

Susanne Hokkanen
Susanne Hokkanen
79060 Activity Points

We here in Indy are also offering some wonderful field trips, if you have a little time and want to check out other materials that might be content oriented. I have been on many of these in the past, as we have offered them at our state conference, as well. I highly recommend the National Weather Service if you teach earth science and the State Police Forensic trip in the past has provided a CD of resources to take back to your classroom about forensic techniques and things they can't show you on the tour - it is an almost brand new state-of-the-art facility.

Another piece of conference advice - one of the nice things about Indy is that all the conference hotels are actually connected by "habitrails" in case of bad weather - but the new convention center is rather large and it can be difficult to get to and from hotels on opposite sides to get to meetings - when you choose your two (or three!) really interesting sessions you want to try to hit, look at locations - generally every evening I sit on the bed with my highlighter marking interesting things and then go back and pull the best ones to put on my daily scheduler.

I started taking my own flat-rate postal boxes and tape to conferences in my suitcase so that I could pack as I go and ship when I can - 3 flat rate boxes = $50 extra suitcase and I don't have to lug it through an airport! You can print the postal stickers at a hotel business center and leave them at the front desk to be shipped. And if you are picky about posters getting bent up, there is a kinko's somewhere near the conference center where you could pick up a poster mailer, too (hopefully they will include that in the program - it is always good to know where they are).

Tina Harris
Tina Harris
65805 Activity Points

This year would be my first conference. I attended a regional in Baltimore and felt empowered to do more with my teaching of science. I am excited about the opportunity to attend. Attending professional development like these only reenergizes a much stressful job.

Jessica Peterson
Jessica Peterson
2440 Activity Points

Tina, Oh yes...the highlighter!! What a great suggestion! I have used all forms of "tagging," including sticky-notes, to help me organize my PD wishlist. I would also add not to miss the NSTA bookstore. There are always great buys there, and really cool "I <3 science" gear. :-) Sue

Susanne Hokkanen
Susanne Hokkanen
79060 Activity Points

The handy hints and tricks being shared here are so wonderful! I wish I had known about bringing a wheeled bag when I went to my first national conference. That tip alone is worth its weight in gold, Sue H.! Thanks for reminding me. Also, reminding us to check out the NSTA store is important - especially early on, since some of the really GOOD deals sell out quickly. If you see something, get it! It may not be there later. Tina, it is fantastic to hear from someone who lives in Indiana. Thanks for the ideas for mailing things as we collect them. (The poster tubes are a great idea, too.) Just knowing that everything can be accessed from indoors is nice to know - I won't have to worry about dragging a coat around. Can you tell us what to expect weather wise though? For example, are the trees in blossom and flowers in bloom at the end of March? I recently got my booklet about the Indy Conference in the mail. I noticed there is at least one NSTA social event. I hope to see some of you there :.)

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

Some years the redbuds and pear trees are budding and others there is snow, it is that changeable time of the year and with the weather this year a little wacky, it is hard to predict this far out. But the temperatures are generally in the 40-50's range durng the day and cooler at night. A lot of the more interesting restaurants are not connected to the tunnels, so you may have to go outside so be sure to pack a jacket. Inside it is usually pretty warm - our state conference is usually in February and then I take a sweater but don't need it except in a few rooms that are near the outside doors where the field trip buses leave from. There are a few food kiosks in the conference center (but we locals generally go to the mall food court where it is cheaper and the Indy folk (I actually live an hour north) can tell you good places outside the habitrails for a snack or a good meal. Indy has a great visitor's site if anyone is interested in planning evening activities beyond socials. The Visitor Center information is at http://visitindy.com/ It is a little "SuperBowl happy" at the moment but the info is there. Another plus is the hotels and the conference center are all within a few blocks of some fantastic museums and the Indianapolis Zoo/White River Botanical Gardens so if you don't mind walking, there are all kinds of interesting things downtown (White River Park, the Indiana State Museum with wonderful fossils on display and an IMAX theater attached, the Indiana Historical and Civil War Museums, the Eiteljorg (an art/history museum focusing on Western American and Native Americans complete with its own totem pole), and the NCAA Hall of Fame as well as a "City Market" which also has food vendors. Some of these I believe are field trips but you can get into the IN State Museum for free with proof that you are a teacher. If the weather is nice, White River park has outdoor concerts and a walkway that you can also rent bikes to ride around the canal. A large shopping mall called Circle Center is also attached to the conference center with upscale shopping and all kinds of food. It is just a fun place to visit anytime but I look forward to seeing my science teacher friends from all over enjoying our hospitality!

Tina Harris
Tina Harris
65805 Activity Points

For those new to the conference, here is a link to last year's blog on the topic of getting ready for the conference! http://nstacommunities.org/blog/2011/02/22/your-first-conference/

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
10110 Activity Points

As a homesick transplanted Hoosier, I am dying to return to my hometown. I would definitely take advantage of the many field trips set up--you will see a bunch of cool places and get a feel for the town. You also will learn some great science. I also would recommend the most comfortable shoes you have--comfort is more important than fashion. I assume they will have an Internet cafe, so you can forego lugging the latop and bring an extra suitcase instead.

Laura Jones
Laura Jones
9735 Activity Points

Laura and Tina, Thank you for the local information. I was looking on the site map, and I can see that some of the science attractions do indeed look like they are within walking distance from the hotels and convention center area. Laura, I am pretty sure each hotel will have a few computers available for guest use. I don't know about an internet cafe, though. Does anyone know if there will be computers available for anyone to use in the convention center? In New Orleans, I could use my own computer down in the lobby if I wanted free internet access, but I had to pay extra if I wanted the convenience of accessing the internet in my room.

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

For anyone who will be attending their first national conference, I recommend attending a first timer session. There is one scheduled at 8:00 am on Thursday, March 29. Don't forget to take a look at the personal conference scheduler at http://nsta.org/conferences/schedule.aspx?id=2012ind

Patty McGinnis
Patricia McGinnis
25580 Activity Points

I have never been to Indianapolis and am looking forward to visiting. I have found one of the great things about NSTA national conference is a chance to visit a place that I might not otherwise go to. That is how I found one of my favorite places... St. Louis. Always an adventure.

Daniel Carroll
Dan Carroll
18550 Activity Points

I am totally excited!! I just received confirmation of my registration, and I have completed registered for a Professional Development Institute - Using Cognitive Science to Improve Science Learning. We have our travel plans ready - we are driving :-), but we need to consider leave time etc...in consideration of registration times etc... I have used the conference scheduler, and I have tentatively planned Thursday, Friday and half of Saturday already. I am so ready for the motivational energy I find when I attend an NSTA conference! :-)

Susanne Hokkanen
Susanne Hokkanen
79060 Activity Points

Badges came today in the mail!!! I can't wait...I need to get busy with the NSTA scheduler and figure out my plans for the conference. Any recommendations? Here is what I have so far - I am set for the PDI on Cognitive Science to Improve Science Learning on Wednesday, and I am committed to the Teachers as Researchers programs on Saturday morning. Any other thoughts or suggestions for workshops and/or presentations?

Susanne Hokkanen
Susanne Hokkanen
79060 Activity Points

So many great ideas are on this thread already! I have one ot add and one question to put out there.... first - don not forget to schedule time in for the exhibit floor - it is a great place to make connections and see some new products in action but it can swallow you whole if you are not time conscious - second - is anyone out there interested in splitting a room or know of a thread/person interested? I hate having my own room - sounds strange - but I really feel like it is a waste of money - but my own district room mate just backed out and I am going solo!

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

So many great ideas are on this thread already! I have one to add and one question to put out there.... first - don not forget to schedule time in for the exhibit floor - it is a great place to make connections and see some new products in action but it can swallow you whole if you are not time conscious - second - is anyone out there interested in splitting a room or know of a thread/person interested? I hate having my own room - sounds strange - but I really feel like it is a waste of money - but my own district room mate just backed out and I am going solo!

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

Loren, there are so many great sessions that are offered, it is hard to say which to choose. The best advice I can give you is to follow your heart. When I went to the regional conference here in Seattle, I went online as soon as the course sessions became available and used the online too, called the Personal Scheduler, l to select sessions I thought I wanted to attend. The scheduler is located under the “Conferences” tab, “Conference Program”, “Session Browser/Personal Scheduler.” After selecting everything that sounded interesting, I printed it out, then looked to see which ones held the most interest to me for the given time frame. I also looked at where the session was being held. It was important to me to be able to have enough time to get from one session to another. It’s also important to physically schedule in time to get into the exhibit hall. There are so many wonderful products to discover, ideas to garner, and of course, freebies to take home. I love the word “Free”, in fact, I think it should have been my middle name from birth. I went to my local Office Depot and purchased one of the “draggy carts” that fold up. As I go through the exhibit hall, I have bags open, and drop stuff inside. Then I just drag my cart on to the next exhibit. It’s also really handy throughout the day because I carry my digital camera, Flip Video camera, highlighter and conference session booklet in a very brightly colored bag kept in my cart. I use the bright bag so I can quickly locate the one with my technology. For years I have also lugged around my computer, but for the first time, I didn’t. While it felt strange not to, I never had time to do anything with it. In this day and age, you can still have email and internet access through your phone, Kindle Fire or other similar tablet. In my last post I made the recommendation to plan time for the exhibit floor, what I should have said as well was, schedule twice the amount of time you think you will need for the exhibit hall – it’s so easy to lose track of time. Also, one of my favorite “tricks” is to visit the exhibit booths towards the end with a very large bag and “draggy cart.” Most exhibitors don’t want to ship the extras of their giveaways and sometimes even products, home. It’s too costly, so they are willing to give you what you may need for a class or to share with colleagues.

Sandy Gady
Sandy Gady
43095 Activity Points

The foldable plastic crate with wheels aka "draggy cart" - I LOVE mine and use it all the time! In addition to the exhibit floor, I use it at the airport because it folds up under the seat so I don't have to lug my purse and tote bag around on my shoulder. (if you could see the rest of my profile pic - which was taken in Philly BTW - you would see MY draggy cart!). One thing I would recommend to people is to locate share-a-thons in their area and attend. You get lots of lesson ideas in only an hour. The earth science people put on at least 4 of them, the informal science educators always have a nice one (for ideas to share when you get home with your local zoo/museum/etc - plus several of them offer online opportunities), and I believe biology and chemistry also have them (but those are not my areas). Oh, and middle school - they have one too, just for middle school teachers. And if you are a middle school teacher you should go to the ice cream social, and if you can afford it, the middle level luncheon. Both have raffles for prizes and every other year I get a gift certificate or a free kit - the last time it was $50 at my favorite toy...errrrr....science supply store :) You might also consider taking a USB drive. At a couple conferences in the recent past, the presenters ran out of materials but if you had a USB they offered to copy their files to it. Even if they don't, you can use it to download program materials off of the personal scheduler as they are posted for sessions you really enjoyed.

Tina Harris
Tina Harris
65805 Activity Points

I would love to attend the Common Core Science literacy Standards (SC-8) short course but it is sold out. Do people post their extra tickets/not needed tickets anywhere? I am so bummed that I did not sign up sooner.

Kristy Mishler
Kristy Mishler
115 Activity Points

I know what you mean, Kristy. I kept procrastinating and didn't get in either. I would like to recommend a "free" workshop. I noticed that someone I have a deep respect for is presenting on this topic. Her is the information: Friday, March 30 10:00–11:30 AM A Natural Fit: The Integration of Science and the Common Core Indiana Convention Center, 143 Explore the possibilities for integrating inquiry-based science with reading and writing. Leave with strategies you can use in your classroom next week to meet the challenging demands of Common Core Standards. Experience the potential of using learning continuums in kid-friendly language to communicate expectations and inform the assessment process. Presenter(s): Anne Reichel (Lake Forest College: Lake Forest, IL) Also, if you use the search feature for the conference, by putting in "common core standard" for the keyword, several other workshops will pop up on this topic. You might try contacting the Indy conference registration people to see if they might start or have a waiting list: Contact NSTA conference registration at 703-243-7100 or 800-328-8998 or via e-mail at reg@nsta.org. It's worth a try. See you in Indy! Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

Thank you for all of the wonderful ideas! I bought my first "draggy cart" and am ready to go!

Kristy Mishler
Kristy Mishler
115 Activity Points

Hi, Super excited about attending, I teach in a small private school in STL where I am the only Science teacher, I can't wait just to chat with people. Any suggestions for how to plan what sessions to attend, so many and yet so little time. Also, at one point someone suggested mailing address labels but now with the badges will those really be needed. Thank you. Kelly

Kelly White
Kelly White
1140 Activity Points

While a lot of exhibitors use scanners to get your information from a barcode they attach to your nametag, some have cards for drawings that they do for free prizes and the mailing labels are invaluable for that - saves so much time filling out the same thing over and over and then you can move on to the next interesting booth! And not all of them use the barcode scanners and have sheets where you can sign up for more information - using the address labels saves you from standing in line. You can also share the address labels (or business cards) with new friends that you meet and want to keep in touch with. You might also want to bring an envelope for receipts if you plan on getting reimbursed for purchases. Even if you don't you want to keep them for tax purposes. I have been known to use my nametag badge bag when they are available, but sometimes that gets too full of papers and is awkward to use. Not a necessary thing because you can always improvise, but it keeps you from losing important papers. I just wanted to let everyone know it is in the 70's and warm here in Indiana and next week the preliminary forecast is for more of the same! While all the main hotels are joined by the "habitrails" or walkways, you may be interested in going out to one of the wonderful downtown restaurants or maybe wandering over to the nearby museums or the zoo which are within walking distance of the convention center. The Indiana State Museum (with its excellent interactive globe showing continental movements since the Earth was young, a fantastic fossil collection, a Foucault pendulum hidden in one of the stairwells, and an IMAX) and the Eiteljorg Museum of Native Americans and Western Art are free to anyone with NSTA nametags and White River Park is a lovely place to wind down after a busy day of knowledge-packed sessions! So bring a raincoat or jacket in case of the sprinkles. The zoo is also within walking distance (but not free). If you don't mind taking a cab, entrance to the Children's Museum is also free with NSTA registration with its DinoDome, planetarium, and science exhibits. The trees and the flowers are blooming and everything is very springy here! For those of you in town on Wednesday, you should check out the [b][i]Science Rocks[/i][/b] event, also in the convention center; an outreach program for the community sponsored by NSTA as a part of our conference. We are so excited here and ready to welcome visitors to our newly remodeled convention center!

Tina Harris
Tina Harris
65805 Activity Points

Great info. Thank you.

Kelly White
Kelly White
1140 Activity Points

I will be paying attention to the #nsta12 and using it to post shared links and interesting info. Would love to meet up with people that want to share what they picked up during the day, especially anyone at the research dissemination conference. See you down there.

John Hoopman
John Hoopman
5175 Activity Points

Well, Friends, I have my bags packed (and my draggy cart, Kristy!) I will see you all in Indy. John, I have no idea what #nsta12 is, but I will find out. Save travels, Everyone!

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

#nsta12 is the twitter hashtag you can search to follow tweets on the convention going on right now. Seems more for exhibitors to ply wares then interesting sessions, however, its a great way to stay current on interesting things to check out in the exhibitors hall.

John Hoopman
John Hoopman
5175 Activity Points

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