Thursday, March 31, 2005

It didn't feel like work...

For some reason, I was treating this week like a week off, even though I had to wake up pretty damn early to catch the train into the city for the convention. Tuesday night I was up until 1 AM, and my alarm went off at 5 - a mere 4 hours later. Ugh. Tomorrow will be a much needed day of rest.

If any of you teachers have ever been to a teacher convention, then you know all about the exposition with book companies and vendors. There are rows and rows of tables and booths set up for different businesses. They all want to talk to you. They all want you to listen to them. They all want to get your contact information so they can call your school and mail you things (my principal loathes the two weeks following a convention for that very reason).

But first they have to get your attention.

So they bring all sorts of freebies with company names emblazoned on them (lest you forget where you got that neon yellow plastic luggage tag). Yesterday I walked around the expo for about two hours, filling my bag with pencils, pens, pads of paper, keychains, pins, rulers, squeezy stress balls, pamphlets, samples, business cards, magazines, newsletters, CD-ROMs, booklets and posters. (Later I had to lug all that stuff around with me - my hands were sore for the rest of the night). Then there were the fundraising companies. They were handing out free samples of food: soft pretzels, candy, cookies, cake, pie, pizza, donuts. It's crazy.

As one teacher said, "If it's free, it's for me." That seemed to be the motto of the week. I plan to give most of the freebies to my kids as prizes. (Except for Post-it Notes. They're gold.)

I did manage to make it to a few workshops, too. Not all of them were up my alley, but I got a lot of useful ideas from two in particular: Strategies for Struggling Readers and Primary Writing Using the Six Traits of Writing. I think I'm a good reading teacher, but I got a few new tips from the first workshop. As far as writing goes, I needed some ideas for implementing a Writer's Workshop with my first graders. I think I'll be able to put something together for the rest of this year - to try it out, at least. Then I can fine tune it for next year's class.

So that's my week in review. I'm looking forward to using the remainder of my break to relax and catch up on some errands (and plan for next week... it has to be done).

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