It’s that time again when you are probably reflecting on the successes of the past school year and considering how you might make next year even better. If I’m right, and you haven’t presented at a conference before, can I suggest that you consider adding that to your plans? There has been a flurry of calls for proposals recently and I’m already planning out my schedule for next year – hoping to present in some states that I haven’t visited before.

Here is a list of all of the conferences that I could find still calling for proposals…

Present at #PhysEdSummit in August. Proposals due by June 15th

Present at SHAPEVT in October. Proposals due by June 1st

Present at #OSHAPE17 in October. Proposals due by June 30th

Present at MAHPERD in October. (Mass) Proposals due by June___.

Present at MOAHPERD in November. Proposals due by June 1st

Present at MNSHAPE in November. Proposals due by May 31st

Present at AZHPE in November. Proposals due by July 1st

Present at #KAHPERD17 in November. (Kentucky) Proposals due by June 9th

Present at #IAHPERD17 in November. Proposals due by ??

Present at #SHAPENashville in March. Proposals due by June 16th

Present at CTAHPERD in November. Proposals due by June 1st

Present at MAHPERD in November. (Maine) Proposals due by May 20th

Present at NCAAHPERDSM in November. Proposals by July 1st

Present at #CAHPERD18 in February. Proposals due by June 1st

I remember being encouraged by @duffylduffy to present for the first time at a small district conference here in Illinois and being very nervous going into my session. What would I present? Isn’t everyone doing what I’m doing in my classes? Is what I’m doing in class even worth presenting about? Why would anyone come to my session? And it’s not just me that felt that way. I reached out to my PLN on social media and asked other teachers, many of whom have years of presenting experience under their belts, how they felt going into their first ever conference presentation.

How did you feel the first time that you presented at a conference- Which conference was it- (1).png

And here’s the thing, once I had presented, I realized what a buzz it was. People said nice things afterwards, and someone even asked me to propose to present at another conference. Well, that in turn led to the offer of a national conference in Portland, which led to….well, you get the picture. So with that in mind, I also asked my PLN what advice they have for those considering presenting for the first time.


Paul Rosengard: Try not to say or do too much in the time allowed. Don’t talk to folks, speak with them them & allocate time for discussion & let them know how they can apply what they have learned to their own classes.

Justin Schleider – Presenting is the same as teaching [Audio: Justin expands upon this here]

Matt Eichel – Be encouraged that you may not change everyone’s teaching but you may change one person’s teaching.

Jo Bailey – Do it! Present with a group of people – it takes the pressure off, you feed off of each other. I was so nervous first time but it doesn’t bother me now. You could always jump into a demo slam. You have no idea who you could impact. Leave time for Q’s at end & discussion/ add-ons from others during presentations. Ideas from the floor are often awesome!

Mike Ginicola – Never feel pressured to present. You want to be passionate about what you want to share and everything else will fall into place, just from your desire and your love of what you are doing. After that, it’s just details. Love what you are presenting and it will just come through in your presentation.

Sarah G-H: Provide easily accessible digital resources. Connect your topic to The Why. Have content outcomes. Slides should have a white background because you might project on a wall & not a screen. Some places also don’t have projectors.

Mel Hamada: Run through first with someone you trust. Check links, equipment, resources. Smile and breathe! Have fun! Progress to a place that challenges thinking and paradigms. Offer problem solving and open ended opportunity for learning. Think big. Possibly have a slide that tells the audience the take aways at the start then circle back to end with this too

Ken Forde: Try to work in time to allow partic. to make links w/their practice. Make it relevant to their work, not only your own.

Mathew Jones: Do a practice run with your current department so you can iron out any kinks, have a google doc set up with any resources used/made to share. Enjoy it.

Becky Foellmer: If you present on a topic for which you have passion, you can’t miss. Passion and sincerity always come through to other professionals.

Andy Horne: Show your passion, not a lot of words on slides, share things that can be modified or tweaked, not all lecture, share resources

Daniel Tennessen: Plan more than you think. Practice the sequence. Do the kind of presentation you like to attend. Relax, breathe. Have fun. Do it! Have handouts ready or access to them. Welcome questions/comments. Remember they are professionals. Reflect & read feedback.

Mary Wentland: Show up to give, not receive. Authors and Teachers Pay Teachers accounts are great but when you speak don’t advertise, give because it’s best for all, not just you.

Georgia AHPERD: Stick with what you know best and enjoy telling others about!

Melanie Lynch: Make sure your topic lends itself to SHAPE America’s 50 Million Strong message.

Consider how your proposed submission aligns with the 50 Million Strong by 2029 initiative to ensure that young people are empowered to lead healthy and active lives through effective health and physical education programs.

SHAPE America

I used the Clammr app to rip a great soundbite from Steve Gross talking on the SHAPE America podcast about presenting. Check it out before listening (and subscribing) to the podcast.

So, with the busiest time for conferences being October and November, now is the time for you to start considering ideas to present. Consider the suggestions mentioned above. Team up with someone, test the water by participating in a demo slam, or dive straight in by submitting a proposal now….and then spend the next 6 months working towards crafting a great session. I’m confident that any of the teachers quoted in this article would be prepared to give you further advice if you contacted them as ultimately we all want the best for our students, and our profession.

Here are a few documents that might help you with the proposal process.

Successful Proposals for SHAPE America article by Deborah Stevens-Smith (PDF version)

Presentation Submission User Guide from SHAPE America

Submitting a Competitive Proposal from SHAPE America

4 thoughts on “Proposals

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