We are just weeks away from the biggest conference of the year and I am getting very excited for #SHAPEBoston, which will be the second time that I have attended the SHAPE America National Convention. So what is it about the National Convention that I think is so great?
Let me share with you my top 5 reasons for attending the conference in Boston!
1.Investing In Yourself: How often do you get to invest in YOU? With all of the other things that pull on your time, the desire to deliver the best lessons to your students, plus the pull of friends, family and other commitments…getting away from it all and surrounding yourself with professional development opportunities is so rewarding. Aside from earning contact hours or CEU credits, how about the location? Boston. During the St. Patricks Day festivities. I have to admit, having not visited Beantown, or should that be Titletown, was a big reason for me wanting to attend the conference this year. How apt that in the City of Champions you will have the opportunity to become a champion for physical activity/healthy lifestyles in your school. Get the latest information on SHAPE America’s national commitment, 50 Million Strong by 2029, aimed at ensuring that all of America’s students develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to enjoy healthy, meaningful physical activity.
2.Becoming Inspired By New Ideas: I will be presenting at the conference with Andy Horne and our session will contain many new ideas that have worked for us in the health classroom. We hope that our session will be inspirational and encourage teachers to try just one or two ideas that they can adapt for the needs of their students. It will be difficult not to be overwhelmed by the amount of inspiration and so the fact that all resources are shared with attendees via the website or awesome app means that you can immerse yourself in the sessions without having to take copious notes. With each thought provoking session being research and evidence based you can’t help but be inspired.
3.Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone: Learning in a new environment is invigorating. It’s almost too easy nowadays to access free professional development by listening to a podcast on a treadmill, or reading a blog post during a planning period at school. Being at a conference and immersing yourself in each session gets you out of that comfort zone and makes the whole experience more enjoyable and easier to remember. I’m not a dancer but always participate in Dance Teacher of the Year’s Mackenzie Mushel-Ellis‘ dance sessions and one of my favorite sessions from #SHAPEMinneapolis was playing Tapu-Ae for the first time in Seth Martin and Sarah Gietschier Hartman‘s Teaching World Games for Understanding presentation. Learning in a new space can be daunting and a first time attendee might be blown away by the size of the conference, the number of people, and the immensity of the vendor expo but the experience of a national conference is unforgettable.
4.The Networking Opportunities: Being present, in the same location, with so many passionate educators can not be beat. The buzz and energy in the room is second to none. Without the restriction of 140 characters, or the Voxer app there is nothing better than meeting teachers face to face, hearing their stories and trading ideas. I maintain that the best take aways from a conference don’t come from the scheduled sessions, but from conversations in an elevator, in the Uber to a social event, or grabbing a bite to eat with teachers from across the country. I look forward to meeting and greeting members of my PLN for the first time, many of whom I have communicated and collaborated over the past year, not with a polite handshake, but with a hug. #SHAPEBoston will be a great way to develop new relationships and form new friendships.
5.Improving Your Program: There can be no better opportunity to get ideas, learn skills, and find new ways to motivate and empower your students. Additionally, check out the sessions from Carly Wright on advocating for your program under the new federal education law, ESSA and learn how to ensure health and physical education are included in your state and district ESSA implementation plan. Learn about the Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart programs. Teachers of the Year, experienced presenters, and dynamic educators will offer sessions on standards-based instruction and assessments that will help your students develop physical and health literacy skills. Your students have diverse needs and #SHAPEBoston will inspire you to try something new with them as soon as you return back to school.
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Shameless plug! Will you be seen in green at #SHAPEBoston? If so, consider purchasing an item from the #sendateacher initiative at www.sendateacher.com. The profit from every purchase goes towards sending a teacher to next years #SHAPENashville conference. Check out the stories of the TWO teachers who will be receiving this years funds.
I’m working on a playlist populated mostly by Boston artistes. It’s a collaborative playlist so add a song or two if you think it belongs.