This past weekend I attended the 2014 National AP Conference in Philadelphia, PA. Tom also attended, so it was our first extended trip away from the kids. The conference itself was awesome! I attended 6 sessions, and while 2 sessions proved to miss the mark just a little, the other 4 were awesome.
The two sessions that I thought were the best was a session on AP boot camp and a session on using literature and poetry as evidence in an argument. The boot camp session leader was phenomenal! He was so engaging and enthusiastic and his passion for teaching was so evident. I learned a few tips and tricks to implementing an AP boot camp, and I think it is something I am going to try to do with my students. The basic idea is community and skill building prior to content learning, so that content learning will be "easier". I say "easier" because the skill building helps establish those things students need for content learning. I got some really awesome resources from the session, too, so that is always helpful.
The lit. and poetry as evidence in an argument was facilitated by Renee Shea and Robin Aufses who co-authored The Language of Composition (a text I use in my class). Needless to say, seeing these women was the English teacher equivalent of meeting a celebrity! Their session was awesome. I got a ton of ideas for using literature as evidence, and I think the information will really enhance my students' writing. I love to teach non-fiction and poetry in my AP class, but it is hard to integrate it with the non-fiction upon which the course so heavily relies. This session helped me figure out how to integrate those pieces, which will help break-up the use of non-fiction.
Beyond the sessions, I picked up 26 books! There was a hall filled with vendors who were pushing their books, and other AP related materials. Tom and I picked up some very expensive books, which is awesome (and just the cost of books was worth the trip!). I am excited to share these new materials with my colleagues!
In between the sessions, we went to dinner at Max Brenner with my colleagues who also attended the conference. Max Brenner was awesome! The food was delicious, but really, the restaurant is known for desserts. Tom and I shared a delicious s'mores sundae. I would definitely make the trip back for more delicious chocolate (and food!).
The second night we went to the Phillies game. The night was perfect-- not too hot--and there was a nice breeze. We got our cheese steak fix and had Crabfries (which is so Baltimore, but was trademarked by Chickie's and Pete's). They claim that the fries are a special blend of seasoning, but it tasted like Old Bay. Totally Maryland. The Phillies played the Nats, so there was so hometown pull, but ultimately, I didn't really care who won. The game was fun and very relaxing.
It was very nice to spend some time away from the kids, and to be able to sleep without being beckoned by a little voice multiple times throughout the night. The kids did a fairly good job being away from us for 2 days and nights. Lily did ask my mom if Tom and I still love her (seriously, Lily!?! break my heart a little more!). Other than that, they had fun with grandma and poppy and grammy and grandpa. And, of course, a HUGE thanks to our parents for watching the kids. We always appreciate the helping hands!
I am already hoping to attend next year's conference in Austin. I am also hoping to be a presenter, so fingers crossed as I work on my proposal!