Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Energized by the Elementary School Conference!

Guest blog post by Giselle Mansi

“A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils” -- Ever Garrison

This year I was privileged to attend the 10th annual North Carolina Association of Elementary Educators Elementary School Conference held on October 20th though the 22nd. Before I begin sharing with you about the remarkable experience that I had, I just need to give a big shout out to everyone who partook in organizing this magnificent event! ‘Kudos’ to the NCAEE officers and regional directors for throwing down the house-- teacher style!!

As a college senior and future educator, I cannot begin to tell you the amount of resources that I took away from this conference! From learning just about everything about “rice” through stations, to learning about how my students can participate on the NC Science Olympiad, to celebrating diversity through children’s literature, to creating a prosthetic hand out of forks, spoons, and popsicle sticks, to feeling like a child again after creating all sorts of foldables and lastly, to remembering the reason why I decided to go into teaching in the first place and remembering to find those bright spots in our lives… these workshops were just a glimpse of how much I learned and took away from the conference. Not to mention, all the other great workshops that my friends also attended and enjoyed!

Additionally, I had the opportunity to listen and learn from our keynote speaker Kelly Bergam who was the highlight of my conference experience! Reminding myself to have humor in life and to take baby steps when the load gets heavy were some of the wonderful tips that Kelly gave us throughout her presentation. How many times have we felt being on the verge of ‘breakdown’ because we were trying to juggle deadlines, commitments with our professional and personal lives alongside with anything else that may come along unexpectedly? I know I have had quite a few of those moments myself and that’s why sometimes it is important to pause and enjoy the moment. When life gets overwhelming, take one step at a time. Take a minute to relax, breathe, prioritize, and find the joy in what you do! As I once heard, sometimes we get so focused on the finish line, that we fail to enjoy the journey!

I am so appreciative of all the presenters who took time to prepare and put on amazing workshops for all of us! Honestly, I enjoyed all of them so much and I got so many good resources from all of them! If any of you were in the “Gearing Up for Engineering” session, you know how challenging, but engaging, that workshop was! I will never forget building a prosthetic hand out of random things. Great stuff I tell ya! I also took away some great classroom management ideas from Kelly’s session that she did right after her presentation and loved how she kept reinforcing her “baby steps” analogy to getting things done! In other words, one baby step at a time!

Also, here’s my sad moment of my entire conference experience… Ready? I cannot believe I missed Jennifer Jones’ blogging session! I’m still kicking myself about it! I follow her blog, and I LOVE everything she has on TeacherPayTeachers but somehow I missed the chance to FINALLY meet her in person!  (Some background info, Jen Jones is like my all-time celebrity blogger!)

Lastly, let me not forget to share a little something about all the freebies I took home during the conference! WOW! I hope everyone took a poster to use in the classroom. I know I did and I can’t wait to show it off! I hope everyone who attended had as much fun as I did and took plenty of ideas to implement in the classroom; otherwise, we fail to keep up with the needs of our students.

I’m already excited to attend the 2014 conference that will take place in October at the Charlotte-Concord Embassy Suites Resort. If you missed the conference this year for any reason, I highly recommend and invite you to attend next year’s conference! I promise you will not regret it. Even if you are afraid of going alone, don’t be. You will meet many others the minute you get there and they will make you feel right at home. Until then, I hope everyone has a great rest of the year and enjoy all the many festivities that November and December bring…

Giselle Mansi is currently perusing her Elementary M.Ed. with a literacy concentration at High Point University.  She is the President of the High Point University NCAEE cohort and is a member on the Regional Advisory Council for Region 5.  Giselle is a dedicated teacher and is committed to helping spread the word about the benefits associated with being a member of the North Carolina Association of Elementary Educators.