Pre-conference Excitement!

**Note: I originally wrote this as part of my slice-of-life story challenge, which is happening on my closed kidblog account. My original audience was my 9th-grade students, which explains why I sometimes directly address them in this post.**

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For those of you who have seen me this week, you’ve probably heard me talking about my upcoming trip to Washington, DC. My mom is dropping me off at the train station bright and early Thursday morning, when I’ll head down to DC in order to participate in a conference called Teaching & Learning 2014. The conference is sponsored by National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), an organization with which I am actively involved.

Originally I hadn’t planned on going to the conference because it was expensive, and I’m trying to be more frugal these days (then why, oh why, did I get Amazon Prime????). However, I got an email a couple weeks ago from NBPTS, and they were looking for volunteers. In exchange for my time, they are giving me a free ticket to the conference (which is pretty awesome, considering registration is $250!). Knowing I’d save some bucks, I figured why not. I quickly got myself in gear and booked a hotel and a seat on the express train (literally…that wasn’t a metaphor). Now that everything is basically all set to go, I don’t know why I ever even considered not going. This is an opportunity I can’t pass up.

The conference doesn’t officially start until Friday, but there are these pretty amazing pre-conference workshops on Thursday afternoon. Basically, people can choose to learn about a particular topic in like the most awesome places. There’s a documentary and discussion at the Newseum, there’s a presentation about research at the Library of Congress, and there’s a lesson on oratory at Ford’s Theater! Yes, the one where Lincoln was shot. I will be attending a session on portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery, where I’ll learn “how to ‘read’ portraiture and use the art as a springboard into a more in-depth discussion about biography and history.” Be prepared, froshies; I’m sure you’ll be seeing the effects of this when I come back all obsessed with reading portraits!

Most of my day on Friday will be taken up by volunteering; I’ll be escorting a woman called Linda Darling-Hammond around. I know she’s no Miley Cyrus or anything, but it’s still a pretty big deal! In simplest terms, she’s teacher famous (most of you probably know that it’s my goal to become teacher famous). So even though I’ll have to miss David Coleman’s presentation about the new SAT (am I the only one creeped out by his headshot??) to escort Ms. Hammond around, I’ll still learn a lot and make some great connections!

My next step is to look more closely at the sessions they’re offering and build my schedule for Saturday. There are some great plenary sessions (btw “plenary” is a level G vocab word!) throughout the week, like an interview with Bill Gates and a performance by Bobby McFerrin! This is not to mention all the “in the classroom” workshops I can attend throughout my time there, plus a VIP reception I was invited to as a reward for volunteering. Woo hoo free dinner on Friday!

Phew! I’m overwhelmed just typing all this! I know it’s going to be an awesome convention, and I apologize in advance for the multiple slice posts about it, as well as the crazy numbers of tweets I’ll be making this weekend! You might want to unfollow me for a few days…

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