If you are interested in a bit of nostalgia (AKA classic rock), you can listen and watch the following video.
“So what’s up with the song? Those lyrics are pretty darn old!”
#NCTE14 hosted a twitter chat for “first time attendees” early in the convention week. I took much of the advice to heart:
“Wear comfortable shoes!” (Go Walks by Skechers ~ Thank you, friend Katie!)
“Download the convention app! (Done)
“Watch for Twitter PLN members!” (Thank you for initiating many conversations!)
“Plan for multiple sessions in case you can’t get into your first choice session.” (I had multiple choices for Thursday and Friday – before I left home. That took me through our presentation time.)
But I didn’t really believe that I would not ” get into my session” once I made my final choice. It was my first trip to NCTE, but I have attended IRA multiple years and even the World Literacy Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2002.
Imagine my shock when I didn’t get into my first session choice or my last session choice.
I assumed that due to the notoriety of the speakers, the presentation would be in a ballroom at least. Not so! Small room! Full room! Some chairs were eventually brought in and a few others were allowed in to sit on the floor.
The door guard was adamant about observing the “fire code” rules.
I knew I was missing out. I sat on the floor and logged into wi-fi and hopped onto TweetDeck on my pc. It was soooooooo slow.
Plan B: I closed my Dell and pulled out my iPad. Mumbling a bit because I had not brought my keyboard for my iPad, I waited for it to fire up and to get connected. Even three columns of Tweet Deck was slow. . . .wow . . . Home . . . #NCTE14 . . . Notifications. Three columns. “C’mon on. This is ridiculous!”
I often live by data. (Sorry! I know that is shocking!) But 140 character tweets were “averaging” three minutes to send. Connectivity was not a strength of the convention center. Without a calculator that meant approximately 50 characters sent per minute! . . . . SSSSSSSLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWW!
By this time, I had been asked:
- “Who is in that room?”
- “Is that really a line for people trying to get in?”
- “How do I get to the parking garage?”
and I really had little to do BUT answer questions. (I was sorry, though, as I had no clue where the parking garage was as I had no vehicle and was not staying in the Gaylord Convention Center hotel!)
Plan C: I closed my iPad and pulled out my personal Mac Air Book that was my reliable all day lightweight tech friend for two weeks of Writing and Reading Institutes at #TCRWP last summer. Another series of log ins in order to connect to the wireless for NCTE. Password in. Tweetdeck up on Google Chrome.
Google Chrome was frozen.
No tweeting . . .
Plan D: ?#!/(*?
So what did I do?
As the song says, “Sometimes you get what you need!”
I took advantage of my first gift of time. I was the first of the 5 of us on our panel to arrive and I had volunteered to make sure we had “tech” so I decided to use time wisely and:
1) check out the room for our presentation – hmmm, table set in center, not set in rows of chairs . . . . . looking small . . . room located!
2) check out how well technology worked and preview our google presentations (3) and pdf formats (2). Google was sssssssllllllllloooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww! My presentation (heavy on pics) did not load. I tried Julieanne’s. After about 15 minutes, all but four pages had loaded. Technology was not cooperating very well. However (glass half full), it’s only Thursday and I have more than 24 hours to come up with a plan!
The plan for converting from google presentation to an offline format worked (combo of pcs and Macs) so we went with PDFs in a common google folder (not everyone had Office so powerpoint download was not going to work).
Reality: Not getting into my first Thursday session meant that I had the information that I needed in order to scope out our presentation room, check out weak tech and devise a work around and check into our hotel room before the next session. The sun, earth and moon continued to revolve and rotate as they always do. . . Life was good!
Sunday afternoon session:
What I wanted: To attend the Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle session on Voices in Democracies on Sunday.
However, the doors were closed and once again the doorkeeper was not allowing anyone in. (One poor teacher who had entered earlier, left her bags on her chair, and then gone to the restroom was ALMOST denied re-entrance!)
So instead, I went to a poetry session. It was fabulous. Multiple poets and teachers shared student writing that made us laugh and cry. Mary Lee, Catherine, Cornelius, Katie. . . were all there. Words, images, and voices filled my soul!
I still had books to pack to ship home. I decided this gift of poetry from the heart would be my last session.
Reality: Poetry, and the power of words, was one theme of #NCTE14. It fit in with the “Be Kind” theme from Lester, Colleen, and James Howe where “laughter meant learning was taking place”! I had time to hang out and chat a bit with my roomie as she packed up to leave. Another gift of time. Time to chat about our learning and our plans to use that learning.
When have you gotten what you needed instead of what you wanted?
What’s your story?
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.