I arrived in Dallas yesterday evening.
This is an enormous city. I flew into the airport featured in Gila Monsters Meet You At The Airport. It is an enormous airport. I was met, not by a gila monster, but by the lovely educator-history-buff-museum-gal Elaina (Hauk) Carlisle, who I’ve known through MSU-genius-friend-and-roommate Franny Howes for close to ten years, but have never met in person. She has a fantastic house with epically tall ceilings and a friendly, happy mutt who looks like a Muppet. And a husband, who is accustomed to lengthy teacher-talk conversations.
We drove through Dallas. I saw the place where John F. Kennedy was shot, which is frankly still giving me extreme feelings related to creepiness and the power and gravity of history and all sorts of other random emotions. Yes, I saw the grassy knoll (it’s small). Yes, I saw the book depository (it’s ordinary). I am still processing how such a short glimpse — we literally just drove through the intersection, not stopping — of an historical site can have such a big impact.
I’m trying to be reflective and thoughtful about tomorrow’s presentation without freaking myself out. I’ve been only marginally successful.
My most significant crisis of confidence came this morning, when I sat up in bed (or rather, flopped over in bed, pushing the aforementioned Sherlock Holmes volume off me) and said, “I can’t possibly read a book as a part of my freaking session; no one’s going to sit around and hear a whole book!”
I fretted. But I reread the speakers’ notes and focused on this bit, “Your presentation method should be consistent with and model strategies that NCTM advocates for classroom teaching (Example: Principles and Standards for School Mathematics).” Hm.
We’re always complaining about math standards going a mile wide and an inch deep, right? So I got myself in check. What better way to demonstrate the importance of deeper understanding by anchoring this brief (hour-long) session around one common text? After all, I told myself, THE TITLE OF MY FREAKING PRESENTATION IS DEEPENING LITERATURE CONNECTIONS. I mean, this way, even if they hate my presentation and the strategies presented, they’ll be able to bring news of a fantastic new picture book back to their schools.
So I’m sticking with sharing Extra Yarn and using it to illustrate how the language of teaching comprehension strategies used in literacy can be math. I’m sharing student-derived examples of how math can be taken from the book. People will be able to try out their own problems and I’ll post them on this site.
Additionally, I found this part of my speakers’ email useful:
New this year! Attendees will have the opportunity to rate presentations using the survey on the Dallas Conference App.
Using a 1-5 scale attendees will rate the following:
• Overall rating of session
• Presenter’s knowledge and understanding of the topic.
• Presenter’s use of appropriate and effective teaching and learning strategies
• Likelihood of attending another session by this presenter. (Yes/no/maybe)
I know I won’t be able to please everybody with my presentation, but JUST LIKE WITH OUR KIDS, it’s so helpful to know what I need to do with the end goal in mind, so seeing what I’m going to be rated on helps me narrow my mind from the bloom of concerns that are crowding each other out in my brain.
One last worry that remains is that I’m breaking copyright laws by projecting Extra Yarn. But… a picture book read-aloud isn’t a freaking copyright violation, is it? Lawd help us if it is.
Oh, also, I’ve been working to make sure I won’t be doing emphatic karate-chop gestures all presentation long.
Anyway. Enough. Time for lunch and reading.