So what is a “must do” at an NSTA Conference?

This month we are looking for comments and recommendations on what you are most looking forward to at the upcoming conference on science education in Boston! Help our fellow educators by highlighting your “must do” session along with the reason why you put it in the “must do” category.
So, what is my “must do?” Well, that is NOT an easy question in my book! I look forward to the NSTA Conference on Science Education each and every year. I have often been heard to state the phrase “I just need to go be with my own kind for a while.” Being with fellow science educators at this annual conference is a way to rejuvenate my spirit and continue to engage in professional development. So, I offer a few of the following items that I try to never miss at a conference.
As a person who works with children’s trade books in the science classroom, I make it a point to always find something related to children’s literature. This has become more important in recent years with the use of nonfiction texts as part of the ELA Common Core Standards. So, I always try and find sessions given by friends (and co-authors) Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan. One of their sessions “Picture-Perfect Science Lessons: Using Picture Books to Guide Inquiry” will be held Friday at the conference. Another “must do” on my list involves seeing the newly released list and hearing about the Outstanding Science Trade Books which are always featured in the exhibit hall.
An organization that I am involved with – NSELA – has several workshops and sessions that help to build professional development tools for science leaders. Download a schedule of events (pdf) so you don’t miss out on one of these sessions. NSELA and NSTA will also be co-presenting an extended session on NSTA/NSELA Leadership Standards Forum: NGSS: Using Standards as Leverage to Build Science and Language Literacy which is Friday afternoon.
The exhibit hall is absolutely somewhere that needs to be scheduled in to your time at the conference. If you are interested in seeing who will be there and where they will be, you can plan your visit to the exhibit hall by previewing volume four of the program which includes exhibitor information. A new aspect to this year’s conference that is going to be a “must see since its new” item is visiting the NSTA Expo which is part of the exhibit hall. The announcements indicate giveaways, live presentations and more.
There are so many things that I can add to my “must do” list of recommendations –
• attending an NSTA Press session with featured authors such as Page Keeley, Brenda Wojnowski and Susan Koba, Steve Rich, and many more
• searching by content information in one of the program books to find sessions on a particular subject such as physics, chemistry, etc.
• picking out a short course or field trip to participate in as a half or full day experience.
These are just to name a few. I guess what makes the most sense is to add something as a “must do” to your list that will help meet your professional development goals!
So, if someone new to the conference asked you “what should I do?” – what would you recommend to them and suggest that they add to their “must do” list?

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2 Responses to So what is a “must do” at an NSTA Conference?

  1. Bev DeVore-Wedding says:

    Exhibit Hall! Keynote Speakers! First Timers! Oh you said only one thing. . . oops!

  2. Mary B says:

    Although it’s important to keep up with your colleagues and classes back home via texts/tweets/email, take the opportunity to actually talk to the teachers in line with you or sitting next to you at a session. The value of a face–to–face conference is meeting and interacting with real people, and teachers are the most interesting people of all.

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