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My Fabulous Weekend At The National Reading Recovery Conference!

As many of you know, this weekend I had the awesome privilege of attending the National Reading Recovery Conference in Columbus, Ohio.  Oh.my.word. It was FABULOUS! It was one of those energizing, research-saturated, useful, thoughtful, teacher-changing, collaborative, eye-opening, can’t-wait-to-get-back-to-my-classroom, mind whirling weekends filled with a hundred “ah-ha!” moments. 

I loved every minute of it my sessions and the opportunity to get to learn from some of the best educators, researchers, and authors in our field.  I am so blessed that my administration is so supportive of PD.  On-going and consistent professional development for teachers is such a passion of mine. I love to work with other teachers for professional development and I love to attend PD myself.  I have made it a point to attend some kind of big conference every year of teaching. PD is what keeps us refreshed, up-to-date, and knowledgeable about what works for kids. Education is always changing, and if we don’t possess the ability to change with it, we will “die” as teachers. 

My head is still spinning with all of the information I took in.  Since I can’t share everything I learned at the conference with you in one blog post (because it would be a billion pages long), I’m going to just briefly share some photos with you tonight.  Then, I plan on implementing tons of the ideas I learned about into my classroom.  I’ll blog about my classroom experiences over the remainder of the school year and share information with you in that way. I will also write some blog posts on some of the inspirational advice, book recommendations, and general educational knowledge that I learned from the conference. 

Here we go! 

I kicked off my weekend prior to the conference by going down a day early to do some shopping. I can’t wait for spring!
On Sunday morning, I visited all of the vendor exhibits.  Then, I walked into school supply heaven. 
And wiped out the lady’s stock of lowercase magnet letters. 10 packs is enough…right?! (PS – 5 of them were for other teachers.) 😉
During this keynote session, we took a look at some writing samples. Only primary teachers can read these things.  I love the last line!!
It reads:  The cat climbed up the tree
Because my dog scared the cat
My mom climbed up the tree
on the ladder to get the cat
The cat climbed
down the tree
A little of his skin came off. 
Sharon Taberski gave a FABULOUS keynote speech on comprehension and discussion.
The point she made in the picture below really made a strong impression on me. So often, we try to be wonderful at a million different things, often leading us to feel overwhelmed. When this happens to me, I realize I become just “okay” at an instructional practice instead of really throwing myself into reflecting, revising, and polishing the instructional practice.  Her advice:
These are the sessions I attended.  I also got a chance to hear Nell Duke discuss 7 important research findings about reading and writing. Her session was amazing!!
Tanny McGregor was fantastic.  She discussed how to make reading strategies concrete for students.  I purchased two of her books: Genre Connections and Comprehension Connections.  I can’t wait to read them! 🙂
I decided I looked like a crazy lady with a billion bags this weekend as I walked out of the hotel to go home. Two of the bags in the photo below are filled with freebies and goodies from all of the awesome vendors at the conference! Guided reading book samples, supplies, and lots of little readers. 🙂 (The three bags on the left look like I need a Vera Bradley Anonymous class. “Hi, my name is Christina and I’m addicted to Vera Bradley totes.)

Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a side-story.  Want to learn the fastest way to tell someone lives in the suburbs and not a city? 
….Ride with me as I have my first valet parking experience.   
After parking in a public garage downtown, the sweet lady at the front desk of the hotel told me it would be cheaper to do valet with them (hubby gets excellent reward member perks because of traveling for work).  Valet?! I’m not that fancy. Nope, no background knowledge coming into play for this one.  So I pull up around the side of the hotel and see a valet sign and a sign for the hotel. I asked the nice guy standing by the corner if he’d like me to pull around to the front of the building or is where I’m at okay? (Mind you…I can’t exactly SEE the front of the hotel at this point and I’m too scared of all the one-way streets to just explore the block first.)  I hand him my keys and away he drives.
When I walk around to the front of building, I stop. I look around. (Enter: Self-Monitoring)
No way. I just valet parked my car…
 with a fish restaurant. 
(Enter: Self-Correcting)
I had to ask the guy who JUST got back from driving and parking my car two blocks away to bring my car back because I would not be sleeping at the fish restaurant for two days and should probably keep my car at the hotel during my stay.
Lesson of the story? 
Take a picture walk before valet parking your car. 
Thanks for catching up on my weekend with me!  I am headed off to catch up on Dance Moms and procrastinate on my lesson plans for next week just a little bit longer. 😉

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  1. Your valet parking story is hilarious! I was in Chicago once (also scared of all the one way streets!) found a parking ramp but there was only ONE spot left. Next to a huge concrete pillar and I could not get in. So, I see the ramp guys standing around talking, so ask one of them to park it. He jumps in and speeds off IN THE WRONG DIRECTION AND MY HUSBAND HAS GOTTEN OUT OF THE CAR! I am sure the car has been stolen when he then speeds into the spot IN REVERSE! Too much excitement for this small town girl from the midwest!

  2. Did you happen to encounter MANY MANY teenaged conference delegates at the Dare 2 Share conference right there in the same complex?? Our youth group trekked it out there from Detroit last weekend, and were so surprised to see a reading teacher conference smack dab between their arena and the other areas with volleyball players and cheerleaders! Hope they weren't too noisy for ya! Ha!

  3. Christina!!!
    Your trip to Columbus must have been amazing! I am still GREEN with envy!
    However, the valet at the Fish Restaurant………
    Thanks for sharing all that great knowledge with us!

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