My connections were not only made through our presentation but also through the wide variety of people that I have been able to meet through the conferences. First of all if you ever have the chance to present at a conference, and you're scared to death and want to say NO ---say YES! I can't even begin to write about all of the amazing people that I have met the past two years at NCFL. After attending my first NCFL conference, I was asked to participate in Wonder Year 2012 and I talk to these five ambassadors almost daily through twitter. Meet Our Wonder Year Adventure 2012 Team:
This year's conference was the same for me. Bill and I presented with three other innovative educators that we had not met prior to the conference. Have you ever had one of those experience when you meet someone, and you feel like you've know them forever? This happened to me when I met our three co-presenters. Ashley Cripps, a 5th grade teacher who teaches in a single gender classroom, all boys, and spreading wonder and inquiry everyday! Including allowing her boys to ask "gross" questions and then investigating. A teacher after my own heart, and I already have borrowed and used two of her wonder rubrics in my class. Annie Thomas is a public school librarian who is spreading the wonder every Wednesday at her library within her growing community. She chooses a weekly wonder for example (Why Do Pigs Love Mud?) and starts the share time with reading a picture book aloud, then she shares the wonder and finally they end with doing a craft project. For this particular wonder, she shared adorable pictures of 2-3 years old making mud and then drawing pictures of pigs. Finally Julia Dweck is a gifted specialist severing students K-5. She has incorporated the ideas of imagination and creativity into her program through wonderopolis. She read and discussed the book, Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer, to her fifth grade enrichment students. After reading the book and discussing all aspects of the law system, she had her students recreate the Case of the Three Little Pigs and encouraged her students to see different viewpoints along with using this idea as a project based learning experience. Her video was amazing and their higher level thinking was the best creative thinking I have ever observed in fifth grade students.
Anyone who knows me understands how petrified I was two years ago when I said, "yes" to presenting at NCFL. Two years later I can tell you it was best YES decision I have ever given professionally. I have found a new community of educators that support me as well as support my educational beliefs. Thank you NCFL for allowing me to a part of your team!