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Lull to Luster…

The school year has started, the classroom rules are established, our students are acclimated to their daily routine, and everything is working like a well-oiled machine…Right?  In a perfect setting, it is!  However, the marking period is quickly coming to a close, you are two chapters behind in your unit, and you still need to get a few more grades in.  Let’s not forget that those projects you assigned three weeks ago are to be turned in by the kids.  I’m sure some of you may be getting ready for or may have had parent-teacher conferences.  The kids at all levels are pumped up about Halloween, the pile of papers on you desk is big enough to have their own zip code, your stress level is about to blow the roof off, and to top it all, you look out the window-it snowing.  Nothing sets off kids more than snow.  In October, no less!  Welcome to the “Lull to Luster” period.  Well, there is a light at the end of that tunnel and it spells CONVENTION!

I know… I know… you want those days to relax, catch up on some work and maybe even let loose.  Well NJEA Convention will bring you back from “lull” to a whole new kind of “luster.”  With the wide variety of professional development sessions, any of your teaching woes can be addressed.  You have no time to fit everything in – take a Classroom Management session; feel like you have 25 students on 25 different levels – try Differentiation 101;  confused about those IEPs – stop in and try Decision Making in the IEP; want to add a little more life to your science lesson – McGyver Science is for you. Or maybe you want to know the real deal about vouchers, then The Truth About Vouchers in New Jersey is the workshop for you.  Oh yeah, lets not forget you want to let loose…did you forget where the convention is held?   ATLANTIC CITY!!!  What a better place to spend a night out with some co-workers and friends.  Whether you want to sit back and relax in a lounge, dance your stress away, or listen to some live music, there’s something for everyone.  Not much of a party goer, but you like to shop your stress away? Then the endless amount of outlets and discount shopping is perfect for you.  No matter what you fancy, the NJEA Convention is the place for you to get yourself out of the “Lull” and return to that “Luster“.   I Know where I’ll be, how about you?

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So we have three weeks until convention and as I’m browsing through The 2008 NJEA Convention Program I see tons of features, events, and workshops that I would like to attend.  Like some of you who might be going for the first time, you are probably asking yourself, “What should I go and see?”  I’ve been picking the brains some friends and colleagues to get an idea of who’s going to convention and what they plan on attending. You know, trying to get some tricks of the trade. But, each time I hear some of their ideas I want to go and do all of them. Which brings me back to, “What should I go and see?”

With that question continuing to be unanswered, I decided to come up with a plan of my own while flipping through the Convention Program. I decided to make a list and divide it into two categories: must see, and would like to see. At this point this is what I have so far.  On the “must see list”: Technology Integration Showcase, Keynote Speaker Cynthia Nixon, New Jersey Commissioner of Education, and the infamous Convention Floor.  For the “would like to see list” a few friends of mine are going to run in the NJEA Boardwalk Run and I would like to be there for support,  now as for the rest of my list, we can call it a work in progress.  This much I do know, I would like to see and participate in as much as I can.  To make sure I get the full convention experience, I’m going to put some more “feelers” out there before continuing my list.   If you have any “must see” ideas for me, let me know. I would love to hear them!

Four weeks to go!!

About a week ago, I received my 2008 NJEA Convention program in the mail.  I was excited to get it because I had decided a while ago that I really wanted to attend to see what it was all about.  During my first year teaching it was really tough to make the time to get down to Atlantic City for the Convention.  When I had two days off from school, I jumped at the chance to catch up on the work that was piling up on me.  I had also heard how packed the days are at Convention and I was already exhausted from my teaching schedule.  But this is going to be the year for me.

The first thing I’ve got to figure out is where I’m going to stay.  NJEA has negotiated room rates to stay at one of the hotels in Atlantic City but they fill up quickly.  So far, I’m leaning towards staying at my family’s vacation home in Green Bank, a small town near Batsto, which is about 45 minutes from Atlantic City.

Ideally, I’d get to stay in AC and get to better enjoy the night-life, but the other consideration is cost.  With times being so tight, I need to keep a careful watch on my budget. 

This is my situation, how many others of you are dealing with this issue?  Leave me a comment.